TORONTO — On Wednesday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Pentathlon Canada named the two athletes nominated to represent Team Canada in modern pentathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games from August 5 to 21.
The two athletes are London 2012 Olympians Melanie McCann and Donna Vakalis. The team is coached by John Hawes, Rick Maynard and Paul ApSimon, with support from physiotherapist Jaime Trick.
Vakalis earned her Olympic spot with her fourth place finish at the 2015 Pan American Games. McCann qualified through the world ranking list thanks to strong performances at the 2016 UIPM World Championships, the 2016 Pan American Championships and the first World Cup stop of the season in Cairo, Egypt.
Modern pentathlon is an exciting sport that requires athletes to execute skill and athleticism in five very different disciplines: fencing (one-touch épée bouts against all other competitors), swimming (200m freestyle), equestrian jumping, and finishing with the combined running-shooting event. The combined event starts with laser pistol shooting followed by an 800m run which is repeated a total of four times. Competitors are seeded for the combined start based on their total score from the first three disciplines. This results in a thrilling finish where the first competitor across the finish line wins the gold medal.
The team will be fitting in a final preparation in Curitaba, Brazil in early August prior to relocating to Rio for the Games.
The women’s modern pentathlon competition begins with the ranking round for fencing on August 18 at the Youth Arena. August 19 is the second day of competition, starting with the 200m swim at the Deodoro Aquatics Centre. Competitors then move to the Deodoro Stadium for the fencing bonus round and equestrian jumping before finishing the day with the combined running-shooting event.
At Rio 2016, Canada expects to field a team of more than 315 athletes.
Pentathlon Canada governs the sport of modern pentathlon in Canada, supporting our provincial associations and national team athletes in building a supportive environment for our sport.
“Donna and Melanie have been a source of pride for Canadians as they have earned tremendous respect in the modern pentathlon community. We wish them both the best of luck in their final preparations and we cannot wait to cheer them on this summer in Rio.”
Curt Harnett, Rio 2016 Team Canada Chef de Mission
“With Melanie’s qualification this week added to Donna’s last summer, it makes Canada one of only nine countries to have qualified the maximum number of female athletes to compete in Rio. It shows again just how willing and able both Donna and Melanie are to go to extremes in spite of overwhelming obstacles, in order to prepare to compete at the Olympic Games.”
John Hawes, National Team Coach, Pentathlon Canada
“I am so thrilled to have qualified for my second Olympic Games after chasing points on the international circuit for the last year. To wear the Maple Leaf again is such an honour and I can’t wait to perform in Rio.”
Melanie McCann, London 2012 Olympian
“I would like to congratulate the modern pentathlon athletes named today to Team Canada headed to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Having mastered the five sports that make up the pentathlon event, these athletes demonstrate to Canadians the extraordinary commitment required to be a well-rounded athlete. On behalf of all Canadians, I wish you well in your final preparation for Brazil this summer.”
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
The modern pentathlon team which will represent Canada at Rio 2016 includes:
Melanie McCann (Mount Carmel, ON)
Donna Vakalis (Toronto, ON)
Fencing Coach Paul ApSimon (Ottawa, ON)
National Coach John Hawes (Ottawa, ON)
Equestrian Coach Rick Maynard (Vancouver, BC)
Physiotherapist Jaime Trick (Ottawa, ON)
Prior to being named to the final Canadian Rio 2016 Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Federations.