Stephanie Savoie setting the standard as one of the world’s finest baseball catchers

Following a remarkable performance at 2015 edition of the Pan Am Games, there is no question that Stephanie Savoie has established herself as the world’s finest at her position. Competing as the starting catcher for the Canadian national women’s baseball team, she was one of the most consistent performers in a silver medal outcome.

Hailing from Drummondville, Quebec, she was one of three Quebec-born players on the Canadian roster at the Games. Joined by pitchers Jessica Berube and Vanessa Riopel, the three have also been teammates for Team Quebec at the Canadian Senior Women’s National Invitation.

Having first suited up for the national team in 2007, she enjoyed a silver medal at the 2008 IBAF Women’s World Cup. Recognized as Team Canada’s Most Valuable Player in 2014, in which Savoie was also a finalist for the Tip O’Neill Award (recognizing Canada’s baseball player of the year), she has blossomed into an exceptional talent.

A vocal leader, able to encourage while setting a positive example highlighted by her strong work ethic, Savoie is one of the most important members of Canada’s roster. Acknowledging that the role of the catcher results in serving as a leader, she also enjoys the mental and strategic aspects of baseball, in which she shines as a defensive player. Occasionally showing flashes of power at the plate (she hit .520 at the 2012 IBAF World Cup), Savoie’s team-first approach provides a solid presence for a Canadian team that ranks fourth among the world’s competing women’s baseball teams.

Competing in all six of Canada’s contests at the Games, she ranked second only to second baseman Nicole Luchanski in at-bats with 21. In addition, she was one of only four Canadian competitors to log an extra base hit. Her .286 batting average was complemented by six hits and two runs.

Statistically, Savoie led all Canadian catchers in putouts at the Pan Am Games, contributing to the team’s solid .935 fielding percentage, while topping all catchers in Games competition with 8 base runners caught stealing. This improves on her impressive total of 6 base runners caught stealing at the 2014 IBAF World Cup, which also topped all catchers.

Sara Groenewegen leads the way towards softball gold medal in epic upset at Pan Am Games

Mirroring the Canadian men’s extra inning gold medal triumph in baseball at the Pan Am Games, Canada’s women accomplished the same heroics in softball. In both contests, Canada prevailed against a favored United States squad on home soil at President’s Choice Pan Am Park in Ajax, Ontario (east of Toronto).

Among a group of remarkable women that contributed to the gold medal win, pitcher Sara Groenewegen may have shined the brightest. Suffering from Type 1 Diabetes, she has not let her illness stand in the way of her chance at sporting glory. Known affectionately as the “Swaggin Wagon”, she tossed a complete game against the US, providing a performance that shall represent a remarkable chapter in Canadian sporting lore.

Adding to the magic of Canada’s softball victory is that it was the bridesmaid to the US in the last four consecutive gold medal matches in Pan Am play. Taking into account that the match was also held on the final day of the Pan Am Games, it was a remarkable way to end the event for host country Canada. The softball gold ensured that Canada had won a gold medal in every day of competition at the Games.

Defeating Puerto Rico by a 7-4 tally to advance to the gold medal game, tensions ran high for Canada as regulation play (consisting of seven innings) resulted in a scoreless tie. Nercous Canadians fans in attendance were hoping for a miracle, as gold would be Canada’s first in women’s softball since 1983.

Heading into extra innings, Canada scored four runs, placing the United States in a rare position where it was not in the lead. Considering that the US entered the gold medal with a 5-0 mark, including two victories against Canada, extra innings was not the anticipated outcome.

International rules state that each team begins with a base runner of choice at second base during extra innings. With Natalie Wideman’s fly ball lost in the sun by shortstop Kellie Fox, it placed two runners on base for Canada.

A single by Joey Lye, who was part of the silver medal winning team at the 2011 Pan Am Games, resulted in a 2-0 advantage, while Kaleigh Rafter was later intentionally walked to load the bases. Jennifer Salling’s sacrifice fly would stand as the game-winning (and gold medal clinching) RBI. Erika Polidori followed by extending Canada’s lead with an RBI single, as it provided Groenwegen with a four-run cushion to work with.

Despite the US scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth, Groenwegen maintained her composure, providing a calming influence. Although there were runners on first and third, she struck out Sierra Romero to clinch the gold medal. On this momentous day, she allowed only six hits, issued three walks, while striking out six batters for the win that shall immortalize her as a Canadian female sporting legend.

As a side note, US pitcher Jaclyn Traina was credited with the loss. With the Canadian men’s team having also captured the gold medal in softball (a 2-1 triumph against Venezuela), it provides the host nation with a rare double gold.

Stacy Piagno delivers twice in historic gold medal run for US in women’s baseball at Pan Am Games

Although the United States were the gold medal favorites heading into the inaugural Women’s Baseball tournament at the 2015 Pan Am Games, the possibility of an upset at the hands of host country Canada was continuously lingering. After Canada captured the gold medal in men’s baseball, it only added to the pressure of a possible double gold for Canada.

While players such as second generation player Sarah Hudek, who won the first women’s baseball game in the history of the Pan Am Games, and Malaika Underwood, whose .600 batting average topped all players, emerged as legends in the aftermath of the Pan Am Games, one could make a strong argument that it was a coming-out party for Stacy Piagno.

On July 23, the fans in attendance at President’s Choice Pan Am Ballpark in Ajax, Ontario (east of Toronto) saw history as Piagno tossed the first no-hitter in women’s baseball at the Pan Am Games. A 9-0 win against Puerto Rico saw Piagno walk only one batter while striking out six in a performance for the ages.

An impressive all-around supporting performance by the US roster saw the squad collaborate in a seven-hit performance. Underwood led the US with two hits, while Tamara Holmes contributed a game-best two RBI’s.

Perhaps the most impressive stat was the 19 consecutive Puerto Rican batters that Piagno retired in order to win the game, striking out Yinoska Claudio in the final at-bat. In addition, the no-hitter clinched a spot in the gold medal game for the US.

Piagno would come up big once again in the gold medal game against host country Canada. Considering that Canada upset the US in the women’s gold medal game in softball, Piagno ensured that no such event repeated itself.

Although Hudek earned the start, contributing a game-high three RBI’s to help her own cause, Piagno’s presence provided a calming force. Despite a four-run first inning, the US lead was in jeopardy as Canada scored three runs in the top of the fourth.

Runs scored by Rebecca Hartley, Nicole Luchanski and Bradi Wall, three of the top producers throughout the Pan Am Games for Canada, were enough to warrant a pitching change. With only one out in the inning, the insertion of Piagno in the game proved to be the turning point of the game.

Allowing only two hits for the remainder of the game, any potential rally by Canada was quickly nullified. In the fifth, Hudek would contribute one of her three RBI’s, while catcher Anna Kimbrell (who also caught Piagno’s no-hitter) provided a double with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, demoralizing the Canadian side.

In shutting down the host Canadians, Piagno also contributed four strikeouts, topping all pitchers in the 11-3 win for the United States. Of all the pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched at the Pan Am Games, only Canada’s Autumn Mills (0.54) had an ERA that topped Piagno’s 1.80. As a side note, Piagno led all pitchers with 10 strikeouts. Establishing herself as a big-game pitcher, she may prove to be the factor in helping the United States capture a third IBAF Women’s World Cup title in 2016.

Ellie Black becomes Canada’s sweetheart with a memorable five medal performance at Pan Am Games

Although she was not a household name at the time, Ellie Black had already established herself as one to watch during the London 2012 Summer Games. Although she suffered a broken ankle during competition, she had gained the respect of many within the Canadian gymnastics team for her tenacity, as Black qualified for the Vault final.

Of note, her efforts contributed to a fifth-place finish in the women’s team final, the finest result ever attained in Summer Games play. Taking into account that the injury was sustained on a run down the mat, it was already part of an injury list that included a dislocated elbow and a broken thumb.

Three years later, a 19-year old Black has risen to the occasion. In every gymnastics competition at the 2015 Pan Am Games, Black has managed a podium finish. Reaching her remarkable potential, the outcome was three gold medals, along with a silver and bronze, respectively.

Competing at Ricoh Coliseum, home of the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies, Black earned gold medals in the women’s all-round, becoming the first Canadian to gain gold in this discipline since 1979. On her final day of competition, she would gain two more gold medals, the first on the beam, followed by the floor exercise.

Scoring 15.050 on the beam, adding to such a meaningful day was the fact that fellow Canadian Victoria-Kayen Woo qualified for the bronze medal. Her second gold medal was won by a much narrow margin, as her final score of 14.400 was two-tenths of a point better than silver medalist Amelia Hundley of the United States. After the victory, a jubilant Black graciously signed autographs to the young fans in attendance, certainly providing them with a lifetime of memories.

Attaining such unprecedented heights builds on her three medals attained last year at the Commonwealth Games (gold – beam, silver – vault, bronze – floor); along with becoming the first Canadian gymnast to earn a ninth-place finish at the 2014 FIG World Championships.

Becoming the first competitor at the 2015 Pan Am Games to win five medals, fellow gymnast Jossimar Calvo Moreno from Colombia would also reach the magical number. Of note, the Canadian record for most medals was actually set at the third-ever Pan Am Games, back in 1959. Shooter Gerald Ouellette attained nine medals.

Testament to her toughness is the fact that she has always managed to overcome injuries by maintaining a training regimen on the things she was able to work on. Such effort paid remarkable dividends at the Pan Am Games, making her a national sporting hero.

Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, she was lured by many NCAA scholarship offers, but opted to stay close to home at Dalhousie University. Representing Dalhousie, she managed a podium finish at the 2013 Summer Unviersiade, earning silver on the floor and bronze on the beam, becoming the first Canadian female gymnast to do so since 1983. With the Rio Summer Games less than one year away, Black has certainly established herself as a gold medal favorite, possibly establishing herself as one of the finest Canadian female athletes for the second decade of this century.

Rosie MacLennan and Karen Coburn rise to the occasion with inspiring trampoline performances

Having been raised north of Toronto in nearby King City, part of the York Region district, the chance to compete in front of friends and family at the 2015 Pan Am Games was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Rosie MacLennan. As Canada’s only gold medalist at the London 2012 Summer Games, MacLennan delivered again.

Capturing the gold medal at the Pan Am Games, the feeling of home court advantage was highly evident as the five-foot-two spitfire displayed why she earned the 2013 world championship in the highly exhilarating trampoline event. Entertaining the spectators at Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum, while simultaneously impressing the judges, MacLennan earned a score of 53.560.

Recognition of an impressive performance that culminated with a gold medal featured the successful of triple somersaults twice. Although MacLennan successfully performed a trio of triple somersaults at the 2013 Worlds, it was still an effort that had the fans in attendance showering her with a senses shattering roar of applause.

Adding to such a memorable performance was the fact that MacLennan’s mentor and friend Karen Coburn joined her on the podium. Hailing from Stouffville (one of the municipalities in York Region), the mother of a two-year old daughter would garner the bronze medal.

Coburn’s ability to bounce back from a shattered ankle suffered eight months ago before the world championships in Daytona, Florida was a remarkable display of toughness and inspiration. Having won a medal for Canada at the sport’s debut at the Sydney 2000 Summer Games, along with two more in later Games, Coburn is highly worthy of the moniker “living legend” in her sport.

Factoring in that Coburn had to endure a steel plate and eight screws, such a gutsy display of character and perseverance was not lost on MacLennan. Of note, MacLennan nearly had her own Pan Am dreams taken away from her. Three weeks prior to the event, MacLennan over-rotated on a jump, suffering a mild concussion during training.

Considering that MacLennan also stumbled in the qualification session, the outcome could have been disastrous. Having won the gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, there was a strong feeling of redemption in getting the opportunity to defend her gold. As MacLennan had also participated in the first day of the 2015 Pan Am Games torch relay, this was an event very close to her heart.

Finishing with the silver medal was Mexico’s Dafne Loza Navarro with a score of 52.000. As a side note, Keegan Soehn captured the gold in the men’s trampoline, providing Canada with a rare double.

Highly anticipated women’s baseball match sees US go 4-0 with victory over host Canada at Pan Am Games

Quite possibly the most anticipated game in preliminary round play in women’s baseball at the 2015 Pan Am Games, undefeated powerhouses Canada and the US took to the diamond. Facing each other in the last game of the preliminaries, it also represented an exciting new chapter in their epic rivalry.

Host country Canada could feel the excitement of the energizing crowd at President’s Choice Pan Am Field in Ajax, Ontario, as they faced their American rivals for the first time at the Pan Am Games. Looking to win their first-ever medal in international play (the best finish for Canada was silver at the 2008 IBAF Women’s World Cup), the match against the United States would prove to be a litmus test of whether such golden dreams were attainable.

Although Puerto Rico and Venezuela cannot be taken for granted in the medal round, Canada and the United States have shown the ability to explode for power during preliminary play. Taking into account Canada’s ability to excel in later innings, as seen in the comeback win against Puerto Rico, a rematch with their American rivals in the gold medal game would not be unlikely.

As each squad already qualified for the medal round, the degree of pressure may not have been as intense but there were strong feelings of national pride for Canada and the US, as both wanted to prevail in this inaugural meeting. Regardless of the victor, neither would have to play each other in the opening match of medal round, allowing this to be an opportunity for adjustments while other roster members may garner playing time as a preparatory measure.

Gaining the start for Canada was Jessica Berube, while the United States countered with Marti Sementelli, who played men’s baseball at the NAIA level. Berube would surrender the initial hit of the night to first baseman Malaika Underwood, who once played volleyball at the NCAA level with North Carolina. Despite the hit allowed, Berube enjoyed a strong start, striking out leadoff hitter Jade Gortarez and designated hitter Tamara Holmes in the first.

Through her first three innings of work, Sementelli managed to keep Canada scoreless despite allowing four hits. Former Ivy League hockey player Amanda Asay and second baseman Nicole Luchanski logged hits, while catcher Stephanie Savoie and right fielder Jenna Flannigan were the other successful hitters. Ashley Stephenson (a member of the Laurier Golden Hawks Hall of Fame) was Sementelli’s only strikeout as the Canadian batters tested her often.

Although four US strikeouts followed for Berube (she would get left fielder Samantha Cobb to fan twice) in the second and third innings, she collapsed in the top of the fourth, allowing three hits and three runs. Tamara Holmes and second generation player Sarah Hudek, whose father John played in the major leagues, both got on base, eventually scoring. After Berube walked second baseman Jenna Marston, Michelle Snyder got a base hit, extending the American lead to a 3-0 advantage.

Despite Sementelli allowing three more hits, including a walk issued to 17-year old Kelsey Lalor, Canada was not able to chip away at the US lead. Berube managed to strikeout seven batters in 5.1 innings pitched, but the third inning proved to be the turning point. Replaced by Claire Eccles in the fifth inning, she was able to keep the US scoreless, despite walking a pair of batters.

Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, Kelsie Whitmore was brought in to relieve Sementelli, but it did not yield a good result. Stephenson would get her second hit for Canada, as fans were hoping for a rally. Canadian manager Andre Lachance opted for some substitutions afterwards. Kate Psota, an 11-year veteran of the national team was inserted as a pinch hitter for Veronika Boyd. Getting a walk, Psota was replaced by 2014 NCAA Frozen Four champion Daniella Matteucci as a pinch runner.

With a runner in scoring position, Luchanski drove in Stephenson, reducing the US lead to a 3-1 count. The US opted to move Whitmore to right field, replacing her with Hudek on the mound. Striking out Stephanie Savoie, she successfully retired the side, becoming the first female pitcher in the history of Pan Am Games baseball to earn a win (in the opening game against Venezuela) and a save.

One area of encouragement for Canada was the fact that there were five members of the US roster (Gortarez, Cobb, Marston, Brittany Gomez and Anna Kimbrell) that went hitless. In addition, only two members of the US managed more than two putouts (Kimbrell -5, Underwood – 8), while Stephanie Savoie led all Canadian players with seven putouts.

The key stat that Canada has to improve on is the fact that they left seven runners on base. Should Vanessa Riopel or Heidi Northcott take the mound for Canada in a rematch with the United States, the outcome may be more favorable than the 3-1 loss in preliminary round play. For the Canadian team, it would be an opportunity to win double gold in baseball, an unprecedented accomplishment in Pan Am Games history, mirroring Canada’s double gold in ice hockey at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Whitney McClintock ascends to water ski gold on the Pan Am podium

In a day where the Canadian water ski team captured six medals at the Pan Am Games, half of such an impressive medal haul is attributed to Whitney McClintock. Continuing Canada’s streak of 13 consecutive days of competition with a gold medal, McClintock’s gold took place on the women’s slalom. Adding to the magic was the fact that it was Canada’s 65th gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games, breaking the previous Pan Am Games record for Canada of 64 gold medals set at 1999 in Winnipeg.

Complementing such a milestone for McClintock were two silver medals in the women’s tricks and jumps. As a side note, her brother Jaosn is also a member of the water ski team, brining home silver in the men’s slalom.

One of the great thrills in McClintock’s Pan Am Games experience was the chance to call the legendary Jaret Llewellyn a teammate. Not only did he grab silver in the men’s tricks, but it signified the 11th Pan Am Games medal of his career.

McClintock has also accumulated an impressive share of Pan Am Medals. Having first joined the national team in 2003 when she was entering her teens, she has claimed seven Pan Am medals (prior to 2015) in her career, of which three were golden. Her first two Pan Am gold medals were earned in 2007, where she debuted as a 17 year-old competitior.

In addition to her sterling Pan Am career, she has won five world championships in women’s water ski. Back in 2009, the world championships were held on Canadian soil, representing a great milestone in McClintock’s career. Winning four gold medals at the event, she was only 19 years old, testament to her strong future ahead.

Also recognized as the IWWF Female Athlete of the Year in 2009, she comes from a strong bloodline of accomplished athletes. Her uncle Joel captured a water ski world title in 1979, while her aunt Judy also carved a Hall of Fame career. Earning a degree in Sports and Fitness from the University of Central Florida, she also works as an online fitness coach.

Long distance superstar Lanni Marchant obtains bronze in 10,000 meter race at Pan Am Games

Known as a superstar in the marathon, Lanni Marchant added to her remarkable status by adding a bronze medal in the Pan Am Games. Showing national pride, she wanted to compete on home soil in the Pan Am Games, opting to compete in the 10,000m race.

The presence of an international superstar like Marchant only added to the momentum of what continues to be a memorable event in Canadian sporting history. Day 13 proved to be lucky for Canada as it set a new national record for gold medal at the Pan Am Games. Winning five, the gold medal total rises to 69, breaking the previous record of 64, also set on home soil at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.

Capturing the bronze in the women’s 10,000m, she posted a time of 32:46.03. Considering that she is accustomed to much longer distances, she adapted really well to the shorter distance, adding to the remarkable medal haul at Toronto 2015.

Prior to the Pan Am Games, she already reached a remarkable milestone in 2015. After a second place finish in 2014, she would capture this year’s Canadian 10 km championship in a winning time of 31:48. Just four seconds off the record, she would also capture the 2015 Half Marathon Canadian crown.

Marchant does have experience representing Canada in major multi-national events. Making her IAAF World Championship debut in 2013 at Moscow, she was the first woman to represent Canada in the marathon since 2009. She followed it up with competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where she placed fourth in the marathon event, the only Canadian that participated. Bronze medalist Jess Trengrove from Australia finished only 0:01:02 faster.

Of note, Marchant currently holds the Canadian record holder in both the marathon and half marathon. Coincidentally, the national marathon mark was also set in Toronto. Back in 2013, she finished the Toronto marathon with a time of 2:28:00. That time also held emotional impact for Marchant when she was competing in Houston’s Waterfront Marathon. Setting a new record time of 2:28:00, she broke the mark set by fellow Canadian, Sylvia Ruegger by 36 seconds.

Fast forward one year later, and the half marathon mark was actually set south of the border. Competing in Nashville, she posted the fastest time ever by a Canadian in a half marathon, finishing at 1:10:47. It would only be fitting if she had the chance to add to her growing legend with an opportunity at the 2016 Rio Summer Games.

Proving that it is never too late to pursue one’s dreams, Marchant began competing in elite marathons at the age of 28. As a side note, she did have experience competing in high school. Highly educated, Marchant holds degrees from the University of Ottawa, Michigan State University (where she ran for the MSU Spartans) and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Currently, she resides in Atlanta but works in Chattanooga as a criminal lawyer.

Melissa Bishop builds on momentum with 800m gold at Pan Am Games

Having carved a remarkable athletic legacy with the OUA’s University of Windsor Lancers, Melissa Bishop’s aspirations for a podium finish at the Pan Am Games were exceeded by a golden performance. Breaking the two-minute mark in the women’s 800 meters, the 26-year old employed tactical strategy as she remained with the top three runners throughout the race.

Surpassing the top three runners in the last 150 meters (she climbed into second by passing on the outside), Bishop’s crossing of the finish line resulted in an ecstatic crowd of Canadian fans in attendance, as host country Canada’s gold medal streak extend to twelve consecutive days. Registering a time of 1:59.62, Bishop finished ahead of American Alysia Montano, who settled for silver, while Brazil’s Flavia De Lima claimed bronze.

Jubliant over winning a gold medal on home soil, the native of Eganville, Ontario acknowledged the impact of the crowd in post-race interviews. With the gold, Bishop contributed Canada’s fifth gold in athletics at the Games.

Considering that she finished in eighth place at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Bishop continues to improve, establishing herself as a clear contender for gold at the 2016 Rio Summer Games. Taking into account that she suffered an ankle injury in May, several weeks of training were lost, only adding to the impact of the gold medal outcome.

As a member of the Windsor Lancers female track and field team, she helped them grab three CIS track and field championships. Of note, she would capture gold in the CIS national championships in the 600-meter and 1000-meter races with Windsor, where she earned a Bachelor of Education in 2011.

Making her Summer Games debut for Canada at London 2012 (where she placed 30th), it was part of a breakthrough year that saw her break the two-minute mark for the first time in her career. Accomplishing the feat at the Prefontaine Classic, she would build on this momentum with consecutive Canadian championships in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Greater Toronto Area track prodigy Sarah Wells adds Pan Am silver to promising career

Having competed in the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics, Sarah Wells can now boast of a Pan Am Games silver medal. Competitive throughout the race, Wells finished second to Shamier Little, while Deborah Rodriguez of Uruguay earned bronze. Of note, Wells’ time in the race at CIBC Athletics Stadium was an impressive 56.17.

Upon crossing the finish line, she proudly adorned her back with the Canadian flag, running a celebratory lap while being showered with applause. As a side note, her semifinal time on the day prior was 56.77 seconds, placing second.
Leading into the Pan Am Games, Wells’ image, jumping over an imaginary hurdle, with her blonde hair flowing in the background, were plastered on a banner outside of Toronto’s Eaton Centre. She was quickly known as the “Face of the Pan Am Games.”

Raised in Unionville, Ontario (not far from 100 meter gold medalist Andre DeGrase who grew up in neighboring Markham), she ran in front of 20 to 30 proud family members in the stands, cheering her on. Of note, she was featured at 17 years of age in the Toronto Star. In 2007, she had qualified for the Canadian team that played in Brazil’s Pan-Am Junior Finals, with a time of 1.00:37 in the 400-meter hurdles.

As one of the stars of Unionville High School’s track and field team, she advanced to the Ontario track and field finals in her senior year. In regional competition, she had earned first place in three track competitions including the 400m hurdles, 100m hurdles and the winning 4×400 relay (of which she was the anchor).

Recognized as Unionville High’s track and field MVP for three straight years, Wells also excelled in field hockey. Complementing such a distinguished track career at the high school level was the fact that she broke the Canadian Youth under-17 record of 59.48 seconds in the 400m hurdles in June 2006. During her high school years, she would also practice at York University, the site of her silver medal run in the Pan Am Games.

Equally accomplished in the class room, her career took her to internationally renowned University of Toronto. Back in 2004, she was invited by the university to participate in its junior development program. At the 2013 Summer Universiade, she proudly represented the University (where she studies physical education and kinesiology) as she helped Canada gain the silver in the 4 x 400-meter hurdle relay.

During her preparation for the Pan Am Games, she participated in a series of tests where she lined up in starting blocks affixed to custom-made force plates, providing research information for grad student Lindsay Musalem. Working with other University of Toronto track athletes, the plates were used for the first time to gather data as the start is the most crucial aspect to success in sprinting, Looking to see if sprinters such as Wells can reproduce strong starts, Musalem was measuring the velocity of sprinters launching from the start blocks, while also determining the exertion of force in numerous directions.

The most admirable aspect of her remarkable run to the silver was the fact that she has bounced back from injury more than once. Prior to the 2012 London Summer Games, Wells was shelved for nine months, after a stress fracture diagnosis on her left femur. The bigger challenge was being able to return to her previous fitness level while maintaining her psychological toughness. A strong belief in herself, plus a strong support network was accentuated as she wrote the word “Believe” on her palm at London, waving to the crowd proudly.

After competition in 2014, the femur endured another stress fracture and nearly did not appear at the Pan Am Games after a tear in her hamstring. As devastating as it was, Wells proved why she is such a world class athlete overcoming adversity. The support of the League Group was an exceptional source of encouragement, helping her build on a remarkable level of fitness. It is an effort that she tries to reciprocate as a co-founder of the Fearless Action Challenge, empowering young girls to stand up to peer pressure while utilizing physical activity as a source of confidence.

Through great determination and perseverance, she managed to rebound and capture a fourth Canadian title in 2015. Contested in Edmonton, the Canadian championships took place just four days prior to the start of the Pan Am Games. As a side note, Wells managed to improve on her time, running faster than she had in practice with a time of 56.03, just 38 seconds off her personal best of 55.65.