Around the Water Cooler

a/Sports by

In case you were catching up on some early readings or the last glimmers of OAP had you occupied, here’s what you missed this past weekend in the world of sports …

PARALYMPICS — Two silver medals evidently weren’t enough for McGill swimmer Valerie Grand’Maison as she added to her impressive medal haul with a gold medal in the 200-metre individual medley on Friday. Grand’Maison didn’t just beat her fellow competitors in the race, but she also out-swam every visually impaired swimmer in history when she won her event in world-record time. While Grand’Maison’s performances should make Canadians and McGillians proud, Canada otherwise somewhat failed to live up to expectations. Seven gold medals and an overall 13th place finish should be seen as a step back for Canada’s. This was likely a result of the rest of the world increasing funding into Paralympic sport rather than a decrease in talent on behalf of the Canadian team.

FOOTBALL — Upsets reigned supreme south of the border this weekend as a number of teams expected to challenge for titles in both the NFL and NCAA college football crashed to defeat against lesser opponents. The story of the weekend was easily the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, who used a gutsy fourth-down play trailing three points in overtime to pull out a stunning upset of #8 Arkansas. The Razorbacks were expected to be in the BCS Championship mix (thankfully only two more years of that), but dropped out of the rankings after losing to ULM. In the big kids’ league, the Washington Redskins, led by rookie dynamo Robert Griffin III, took out the scandal-ridden New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. On Sunday night, the Broncos knocked off the Steelers in Peyton Manning’s first game in the Mile High City. Peyton’s vintage performance might mean that this was less of an upset than a sign of things to come.

SOCCER — From the reactions on Facebook newsfeeds across this country after the Canadian women’s team’s crushing loss to the U.S. in the Olympic semi-final, one might have thought that we were a soccer-mad country. While we may not be Brazil or Spain, the fervor might carry into 2014 as Canada’s men’s team took a further step towards qualifying for the World Cup in Rio. On Friday night at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada only needed one goal to move past Panama into first place in their group. They are now in the pole position to make it to the final round of qualifying with regional heavyweights Mexico and USA.

TENNIS — The tennis Grand Slam season closed out this weekend at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, NY. Serena Williams won her third consecutive major title, adding the U.S. crown to championships won earlier this season at Wimbledon and at the Olympics. Williams closed out top-seeded Victoria Azarenka to solidfy her place as the undisputed queen of women’s tennis. Elsewhere, Andy Roddick played his final professional match, losing in the quarterfinal to Juan Martin del Potro. After a marathon final match on Monday, Andy Murray emerged with his first Grand Slam title, defeating Novak Djokovic (7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2).