Oshawa runner, Whitby decathlete carry Canada’s hopes on the track in Tokyo

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Published July 5, 2021 at 1:30 pm

matt_huges

Durham Region Olympic profile #2

Canada’s “greatest ever Steeplechaser” is hoping to improve on a tenth-place finish in Rio, while a multiple international medalist in the Decathlon wants to step out of his teammate’s shadow and earn some Olympic glory of his own this month in Tokyo.

Oshawa’s Matt Smith has a lot of hardware on his mantel already as a Pan Am Games gold medalist, four-time World Championship Finalist, five-time Canadian Champion and two-time NCAA champion in the Steeplechase, a gruelling 3,000 metre race that includes hurdles and water jumps.

Hughes, now a Nike-sponsored runner based in Portland, Oregon, is also the Canadian record holder in the event with a personal best of 8:11.64, set way back in 2013.

Whitby’s Pierce LePage has a few medals in his trophy case as well, earning a silver in 2019 in the Commonwealth Games, a bronze in the Pan Am Games the same year and finishing fifth – also in 2019 – in the World Championships.

LePage started competing in the Decathlon, a ten event, week-long discipline that unofficially crowns the world’s greatest athlete, at 17 and has been trying to usurp teammate Damian Warner for several years now.

Warner will likely be the gold medal favourite in the event in Tokyo.

Track and Field events begin July 30.

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