TOKYO - After experiencing disappointment in Rio, Canada's Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard was feeling the overwhelming joy of an Olympic medal on Tuesday.
The judoka from St-Hubert, Que., defeated Anriqueli Barrios of Venezuela by waza-ari in extra time to win a bronze in the women's under-63-kilogram competition. It was Canada's second judo medal of this Olympics.
Beauchemin-Pinard forced Barrios on her back just three minutes into the sudden-death period. The Canadian pumped her fist and yelled in triumph from the mat after the winning attack.
Beauchemin-Pinard, a two-time Pan American champion, made her Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games, where she lost in the second round.
"I knew I was capable of getting a medal today," she said after her win. "To know how, I was going one fight at a time. I was happy with all my fights."
She admitted to starting "a little stressed" against Denmark's Laerke Olsen in the round of 32, but rallied to win. The other fights were "more fluid," she said.
"I remember after Rio I was really, really disappointed and my reaction was to participate in the Tokyo Games and to give a good performance," she said. "It was long, but I grew in this process. I'm much more mature now."
Beauchemin-Pinard said her main feeling at the end was one of relief at having finished a long match.
"But I still had enough energy and I pushed to the end," she said. "I felt she was tired. I was happy to have kept my concentration, even after having lost in the semifinals."
The result comes a day after Jessica Klimkait won Canada's first ever women's judo Olympic medal with a bronze in the under-57 kg event.
Beauchemin-Pinard won her first three matches by ippon before losing in the semifinals by waza-ari to five-time world champion Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, who went on to win gold.
The Quebecer said that while Agbegnenou is beatable, she was also fired up and wanted to win.
"I had a good plan, but so did she. I'm proud of my fight, at least I lost against the winner, that's not nothing."
Beauchemin-Pinard's trainer, Sasha Mehmedovic, said he told his student to give the best of herself and see what happened.
"The challenge was to regain her concentration, because sometimes judokas are distracted by losing the semifinal," he said. "She was able to stay in the right frame of mind."
The bronze-medal winner said she hadn't yet decided on whether to keep going until the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
She's working on an accounting degree at a Montreal university, and plans to get her CPA.
"I'll take it one year at a time," she said.
Meanwhile, fellow judoka Antoine Valois-Fortier lost his round-of-16match in the men's under-81-kg event against Russian Alan Khubetsov, who scored a single point in the first sequence by waza-ari that proved to be sufficient.
The 31-year-old Quebecer readjusted and became more aggressive for the rest of the match, but Khubetsov was able to maintain his lead.
"My strategy was to grab my right hand around his collar," Valois-Fortier said. "From the start of the fight, I saw that his whole work was to pull that hand away."
Valois-Fortier said it took him a minute to adjust, but it wasn't enough.
"He quickly took the lead and by then it was too late," he said.
Valois-Fortier, a bronze medallist in 2012, said he would take the time to digest the result before deciding on his future.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2021.