There was a moment Wednesday night when Derek Drouin was waiting to make his final attempt in high jump. In the tunnel to the track, Brianne Theisen-Eaton and Jessica Zelinka were waiting for their final event of the heptathlon.
All action had paused for a medal ceremony. It was for Canadian Jim Steacy’s gold medal in the hammer throw from the previous night.
The O Canada moment wasn’t lost on any of them.
“The national anthem played right before my last attempt and I thought, ‘If this isn’t going to get me pumped up I don’t know what’s going to,’” Drouin said.
Drouin and Theisen-Eaton would both go on to claim gold, while Zelinka won silver in the heptathlon and Mike Mason took bronze in the high jump. Julie Labonte added a bronze in shot put for a five-medal night for Canada at the track.
“When we were in the tunnel … I was listening to the Canadian anthem and thinking, ‘An hour and that could be me,’” Theisen-Eaton said.
Drouin, from Corunna, Ont., cleared 2.31 metres to win his first major international high jump title, while Mason, from Nanoose Bay, B.C., won the bronze with 2.25 m.
Theisen-Eaton won the heptathlon with a score of 6,597 and Zelinka scored 6,270 for silver.
“We got four medals in the span of about two minutes there, so we’re definitely moving in the right direction. Good things are happening,” Drouin said. “And Mike and I got to pass our [Canadian] flags on to the heptathlon girls, so it was a pretty special five minutes there.”
Added Theisen-Eaton: “All of a sudden, all of once, Scott [MacDonald, Athletics Canada’s high-performance director] was trying to give everybody flags. Good problem to have.”
After another strong day, Canada remained in third place in the overall medal standings with 51 medals (22 gold, seven silver, 22 bronze). Australia leads with 106 medals, one more than England.
David Tremblay of Windsor, Ont., won gold in the men’s 61-kilogram wrestling category, Dori Yeats of Montreal won the women’s 69-kg title and Arjun Gill of Surrey, B.C., won gold in the men’s 97-kg event.
Jill Gallays of Saskatoon and Braxton Stone-Papadopoulos of Pickering, Ont., won bronze medals. Gallays finished third in the women’s 53-kg category and Stone-Papadopoulos was third in the women’s 58-kg class.
The 24-year-old Drouin, who won bronze at both the 2012 London Olympics and 2013 world championships, had hoped to go higher. He’s broken the Canadian record three times in less than a year, and in his first meet this season, cleared 2.40 m to join an exclusive club – only about a dozen jumpers in history have jumped that high. It wasn’t to be on a blustery night at Hampden Park, as he missed all three attempts at 2.35.
Theisen-Eaton, a 25-year-old from Humboldt, Sask., won five of the seven events – high jump, shot put, 200 m, long jump and the 800 – over the two days for her first major international victory.
Theisen-Eaton had a virtually unbeatable 326-point lead after six of the seven events, and they capped the two days with a hard-fought 800. Theisen-Eaton won in 2 minutes 11.46 seconds, Zelinka finishing eight-10ths of a second behind her.