Steeplechasers Chantelle Groenewoud and Jessica Furlan are set to make Canadian university sports history.
Groenewould and Furlan have been awarded the gold and silver medals, respectively, in the 3000m steeplechase at the Kazan 2013 FISU Summer Universiade, after doping sanctions were recently handed down by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) to all three original medalists.
It’s the first time a pair of Canadian student-athletes have shared the top two spots on the podium in FISU athletics competition. The duo originally finished the event in fourth and fifth, with Groenwoud clocking in at 9:51.17, and Furlan following just six one-hundredths of a second behind – both setting personal bests in the process.
“We are immensely proud of Chantelle and Jessica for their performance in Kazan,” said U SPORTS Interim CEO Dick White. “Canada applauds the essential work of both FISU and World Athletics for their diligence in upholding the integrity of clean sport and ensuring our student-athletes received their rightful recognition.”
Groenewoud, a member of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini track and field program from 2007-11, was initially promoted to the bronze medal following a doping infraction announced in July 2018. The North Vancouver, B.C., native now becomes the FISU champion, nine years after her first appearance in the steeplechase event, where she placed eighth at the Shenzhen 2011 Summer Universiade in China.
“There’s no one else I’d rather share a podium with than Jessica,” said Groenewoud. “It took me back to all those amazing emotions – Jess and I were both so excited in the moment already with fourth and fifth. (Knowing) that we could have been first or second, it’s a whole other ballgame. I’m feeling a little nostalgic for that time period.”
For Furlan, the former University of Nebraska Huskers track star from 2009-13, sharing the podium with her former Canadian teammate is a welcome surprise. The Regina, Sask., native has returned to training hoping to qualify for next year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“Making the Olympic Team this year would be amazing,” said Furlan. “I continue to pursue this sport because I haven’t achieved the greatest performances that I have in me – that’s what I’m continually chasing.”
Canada’s medal count from the Kazan 2013 FISU Summer Universiade now stands at 18, with four gold, five silver and nine bronze.
Previously, Canadian student-athletes have shared the podium in the same individual event regardless of position, a total of 19 times in FISU competition – including both Summer and Winter World University Games and World University Championships.
Canada has accomplished the feat in athletics by winning silver and bronze medals simultaneously on three occasions: 1985 (men’s 5000m), 1997 (women’s 5000m) and 2009 (women’s 400m).