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.

Third annual Beauty of Sport edition captures Canadian female sporting heroes

Including a very different but unique aspect to its captivating series of stunning visual images, Sportsnet Magazine’s Beauty of Sport returns for a third annual edition. With Dara Howell gracing its cover in a black swimsuit, holding her skis with a determined focus, it sets the tone for a much different magazine compared to its preceding editions.

Gold medalist Dara Howell would become the cover girl for Sportsnet Magazine’s 2014 edition of The Beauty of Sport (Photo credit: Mark Zibert, Obtained from: http://www.sportsnet.ca/the-beauty-of-sport/)

Gold medalist Dara Howell would become the cover girl for Sportsnet Magazine’s 2014 edition of The Beauty of Sport (Photo credit: Mark Zibert, Obtained from: http://www.sportsnet.ca/the-beauty-of-sport/)

Compared to the 2013 edition, where Emily Betty was in a powder blue swimsuit, with the Nevada sun shining on her remarkable athletic frame, the 2014 edition carried a much darker tone and serious side. Of note, most of the athletes for the 2013 edition were photographed in Las Vegas. The vibrant setting and glamorous aura of the surroundings created a series of brightly colored backdrops, complemented by vivid swimwear as perfectly white smiles complement the electricity of the shoot.

Field hockey player Kathleen Leahy has ambitions to compete at the 2016 Rio Summer Games (Photo credit: Mark Zibert, Obtained from: http://www.sportsnet.ca/the-beauty-of-sport/)

Field hockey player Kathleen Leahy has ambitions to compete at the 2016 Rio Summer Games (Photo credit: Mark Zibert, Obtained from: http://www.sportsnet.ca/the-beauty-of-sport/)

The 2014 edition, photographed exclusively in Canada, does not feature such a sexy and dynamic series of images. Photographed by Mark Zibert in the wilderness of Moraine Lake near Lake Louise, Alberta, there is an air of intensity that emanates from the athletes, both male and female.

Beginning the photo shoot by capturing speed skater Alexandra Ianculescu and field hockey player Kathleen Leahy, they would be among a group of nine empowered female athletes. As a side note, heptathlete Rachel McIntosh and rower Sarah Black would be part of a portfolio sharing their workout tips.

Rachel Machin would show no fear as she poses with a 1500 lb. buffalo in Alberta (Photo credit: Mark Zibert, Obtained from: http://www.sportsnet.ca/the-beauty-of-sport/)

Rachel Machin would show no fear as she poses with a 1500 lb. buffalo in Alberta (Photo credit: Mark Zibert, Obtained from: http://www.sportsnet.ca/the-beauty-of-sport/)

Three of the athletes, Dara Howell, Meghan Agosta-Marciano and Kirsten Moore-Towers all experienced podium finishes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Of note, Jennifer Abel would be photographed in a sand quarry while Rachel Machin would be fearlessly photographed with a 1,300-pound buffalo. Women’s hockey legend Meghan Agosta-Marciano would be photographed with a wolf.

Even though a series of exclusive online photos feature two athletes topless (Machin and marathon runner Natasha Wodak), it comes across almost as necessity rather than sensuality.

Promising figure skater Kirsten Moore-Towers earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games (Photo credit: Mark Zibert, Obtained from: http://www.sportsnet.ca/the-beauty-of-sport/)

Promising figure skater Kirsten Moore-Towers earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games (Photo credit: Mark Zibert, Obtained from: http://www.sportsnet.ca/the-beauty-of-sport/)

With many of the photos in black and white, the dynamic mountain range of Alberta and its powerful scenery fulfills a presence which complements the toughness of these world-class athletes. The subject matter of the write-ups also mimics such sentiment as it attempts to measure the beauty of the athletes in their ability to overcome and succeed, portraying a sense of courage that is evidently beautiful.

In learning of the athletes great personal triumphs, it exemplifies a character and desire which is admirable. In that admiration lies a beautiful respect which captures the spirit of the emotions that grace the Beauty of Sport’s remarkable pages.