Jennifer Abel earned some new neck bling in Tokyo, only to be surprised with some finger bling when she got home.
The 29-year-old diver from Laval, Que., who won a silver medal in the women’s three-metre synchronized springboard event, was greeted at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport by friends and family, wearing T-shirts that read “We are Abel.”
But all eyes were on Abel’s boyfriend, professional boxer David Lemieux, who was down on one knee with a diamond ring in hand as his girlfriend arrived in the airport’s baggage claim area.
Team Canada posted a video of the proposal on Twitter saying, “From an Olympic medal in Tokyo to a diamond ring back home, (Jen Abel) has a lot to celebrate.” The video shows Abel putting two hands over her masked face as she cries, hugs and kisses Lemieux. She later wrote on Instagram that “I said yes to my soulmate.”
- Home is where the heart is: Aaron Brown finished sixth in the 200-metre sprint Wednesday, but he won Canadian hearts for best post-run performance.
The 29-year-old Toronto native waited respectfully until Andre De Grasse, who took gold in the event, went through the media scrums before doing so himself. Then he revealed a photo of his wife, Preeya Milburn, and infant son, Kingsley Nico Brown, who was born in January, that he ran with underneath his bib.
“Just as a reminder of who I run for. This is what matters to me most, and as long as they’re proud of me, I’m happy at the end of the day,” Brown told the CBC. “I run for Canada, I run for all my fans, but most importantly I run for my family.”
Wednesday’s 200 was Brown’s first Olympic individual final. He will race for Canada in the 4x100 metre relay later this week.
- Gold-medal game changer: Canada and Sweden may be opponents in the women’s soccer final later this week but, in the hours leading up to the game, they have been united in at least one area: the need for a new kickoff time.
The gold-medal match at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium is scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. Friday. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 30s, with high humidity.
Swedish football coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors said she reached out to FIFA, soccer’s governing body, about a kickoff change. The Swedish and Canadian federations had also requested a change from the International Olympic Committee. No change had been announced as of late Wednesday.
The exact kickoff time the countries were requesting was not clear, though a venue change could be necessary to facilitate a move to a later start. A new time would likely clash with the track and field events at Olympic Stadium.
The Canada Olympic Committee, in a statement to the CBC, said it supported Canada Soccer’s request, which was in the best interest of the athletes.
- A champion’s mentality: Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson suffered a calf injury during the 200-metre sprint in the women’s heptathlon. It didn’t stop her from crossing the finish line.
The 28-year-old reigning world champion, who had an injury-ravaged buildup to the Games, went down after she completed the bend in the 200. Medical staff offered her treatment, including a wheelchair, but Johnson-Thompson waved them off. She got back to her feet and took a couple of hops before gingerly jogging the final stretch. Canadian heptathlete Georgie Ellenwood greeted Johnson-Thompson with a hug after she crossed the finish line.
Johnson-Thompson, who had been fifth after the shot put, was ultimately disqualified because she left her lane. British Athletics later confirmed Johnson-Thompson had pulled out of the heptathlon, with three events to go, because of the injury.
- The last word: Track cyclist Georgia Simmerling who, along with her teammates, finished fourth in the women’s team pursuit earlier this week, had clear post-Olympic plans.
“I’m going home, probably going to have a beer and watch my girlfriend play soccer and win friggin’ gold,” Simmerling said.
Her longtime partner is Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé.
With files fromSimran Singh
Laura Armstrong is a Star sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy