Melissa Bishop is anxious to erase the bad memory of a podium miss at last summer’s Rio Olympics in the women’s 800-metre final at the track and field world championships on Sunday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 3:10 p.m. ET).
The Canadian-record holder crossed the finish line second in her semifinal behind Ajee Wilson of the United States in one minute 59.56 seconds on a breezy Friday night at London Stadium.
“It’s everything,” the 2015 world silver medallist told the CBC about advancing to the world final. “It’s redemption, it’s showing the world I can still be on top.
“In Rio, I could have run 1:55 and I still would have been just as upset because at that point the game is about medals.”
On that Aug. 20 night in Brazil, Bishop could not fight off Kenya’s Margaret Wambui in the final straightaway for the bronze medal. Wambui passed Bishop to finish with a time of 1:56.89, only 13-100ths of a second ahead of the Canadian, who lowered her national record with a time 1:57.02.
South Africa’s Caster Semenya ran in 1:55.28 to win gold as expected, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi took silver in 1:56.49. Entering the race, Bishop had run the third-fastest 800 of the year, behind Semenya then Niyonsaba.
Rounding into form
The thought of narrowly missing a medal still reduces the 29-year-old Bishop, a native of Eganville, Ont., to tears.
“It’s like a pain in your side that won’t go away,” she said recently.
According to CBC Sports analyst Anson Henry, it was important Bishop ran sub-two minutes to put herself in the right mindset for the final.
“She knows she isn’t going to have the natural strength and power of some of the other athletes,” he said, “so she has to make up for it in other areas, like tactically how she maneuvers within her racess and how she manages her energy.
“She had a very comfortable run tonight to save her legs for the all-important final.”
‘To bring home a medal to Dennis, his own medal, I’m sure his wife Janet would love that one to go on the wall.’
— Melissa Bishop on her ailing coach, Dennis Fairall, who’s watching the event at home in Windsor, Ont.
Henry said the fact Bishop ran a Canadian record 1:57.01 on July 21 at a Diamond League meet in Monaco is proof she is rounding into form at the right time.