LONDON — On a dreamy night two years ago at Birds Nest Stadium in Beijing, Melissa Bishop raced to a silver medal in the 800 metres — and it was just one of an extraordinary three medals for Canada on that day.
Damian Warner had won decathlon silver, and Canada’s 4×100 relay, anchored by emerging star Andre De Grasse, sprinted to bronze.
Two years after Canada’s historic eight-medal bonanza in Beijing, the team heads home from London empty-handed for the first time in 16 years. The meet will be remembered for injuries and illness. Pictures of joyous Canadians draped in the Maple Leaf were replaced by images of dejection and frustration.
Bishop was the last Canadian up Sunday night, racing to fifth in the 800 metres.
“I’m going to be honest, it’s been tough to see just the unfortunate timing of things,” Bishop said. “The (2015) worlds and Rio (Olympics) were so high, and to come off of that, I think it’s hard for everybody. I really wanted to put Canada on the map with a medal tonight, but it’s just not in the cards.”
The 29-year-old from Eganville, Ont., ran one minute 57.68 seconds, and afterward lamented the fact she’d let herself get too far back in the pack when the leaders made their move with 300 metres to go.
“I don’t think I ran my race,” Bishop said. “It’s coming, it’s positive, it’s nothing I’m upset about, the result is more what I’m upset about. I’m tired of 1:57s, I want something faster.
“I think if I was closer to the front of that pack, I’m positive we could have run 1:56 (her Canadian record is 1:57.01). We’re right on the cusp.”
Bishop’s race was one of the most talked-about of the meet. Caster Semenya of South Africa, who won gold in 1:55.16, is at the centre of a dispute over whether females with excessive testosterone should be permitted to compete. Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi was second and American Ajee Wilson took the bronze.
Canada followed up Beijing with a six-medal performance in Rio, and the team arrived…