Hometown crowd pushes Melissa Bishop to victory at Pam Am Games
Eganville's Melissa Bishop waves to fans after winning a gold medal in the women's 800m final during the athletics competition at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — The result was never in doubt, but it was a photo finish just the same for Canada’s Melissa Bishop.
With a huge late burst the middle-distance specialist from Eganville, Ont., out-kicked Alysia Montano of the United States to capture gold in the women’s 800 metres.
And as she crossed the finish line at York University, her smile was the best picture of all.
“It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe to you guys,” said Bishop, whose time of 1:59.62 equalled her career best and certainly provided a career highlight.
“It’s something I’ve worked so hard for these 12 years and to finally do it at home is one of a kind — it’s something you don’t get too often.”
Many athletes have talked about the effect of the home crowd at these Pan American Games but the sellout crowd at York certainly helped bring Bishop home. Sitting in second as she swung off the final turn, the crowd roared and Bishop turned on the jets.
“I just tried to put myself in a good position to be near the front and let the crowd do its work,” Bishop said. “I just tried to stay relaxed and fight for it.”
The 26-year-old added it was nice to win the gold medal at home.
After the race, Bishop took her time to savour the moment, making her way around the track with the Canadian flag flapping behind her in the wind, high-fiving the first row of spectators with that trademark smile sill on her face.
The next challenge for Bishop is the World Championships in Beijing, China, which start in a month. After a few days to enjoy her accomplishment., she will get right back to training
With files from the Canadian Press