LONDON - Four years after deciding to stick with kayaking instead of continuing his engineering career, Mark de Jonge was rewarded with a bronze medal at the London Olympics.
The Halifax native finished third behind Britain's Ed McKeever and Spain's Saul Craviotto in the K-1 200-metre final Saturday.
"I gave everything," he said. "I ended up kind of dying a little at the end but that's to be expected when you go all out."
The result ended a long journey for the 28-year-old. An injury-plagued 2008 saw de Jonge miss the Beijing Games and nearly leave the sport entirely to concentrate on his engineering career.
But after the 200 sprint was introduced for London, de Jonge decided to take another run at the podium.
It paid off. His time of 36.657 seconds trailed only McKeever, a former world champion known as "the Usain Bolt of the water," who won in 36.246, and Craviotto in 36.540.
De Jonge also overcame a scare in April when he broke a finger while working out, an injury that put his Olympic participation in doubt.
The injury was a non-factor in the final, but de Jonge, who owns an unofficial world best time of 33.804, couldn't keep up with McKeever.
"I think the second half suffered a little," said de Jonge. "I had a lot of fatigue in the second half but I just hung on and hoped for the best, shot my boat across the line and just waited for the results."
The medal was Canada's 18th at the Olympics, the same number the country won four years ago in Beijing.
Elsewhere at the Olympics:
— Victoria's Riley McCormick advanced to the men's 10-metre platform diving final after qualifying for the final spot in the 12-man field.
— Catharine Pendrel had a disappointing result in the women's mountain bike cross-country event. The two-time world champion from Kamloops, B.C., settled for ninth place. Emily Batty of Brooklin, Ont., finished 24th despite riding with a fractured right clavicle.
— Kayakers Hugues Fournel of Lachine, Que., and Ryan Cochrane of Windsor, N.S., finished seventh in the men's K-2 200 metre.
— Francois Coulombe-Fortier defeated Russia's Gadzhi Umarov men's 80-kilogram taekwondo to advance to the quarter-finals.
— Arjan Bhullar of Richmond, B.C., was eliminated in the round of 16 of men's 120-kilogram freestyle wrestling by Iran's Komeil Ghasemi.
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