The sight of one’s own bone protruding through the skin is disturbing, to say the least.
But Watson Lake wrestler Brittanee Laverdure is as tough as nails. Her response to a compound fracture to her left pinky finger was hard-boiled: patch it up and get me to the podium.
She did, after all, have a medal to collect.
With the loss in the truncated gold medal match, Laverdure took silver in the women’s 55-kilogram weight class at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on Thursday.
“I’m happy, it’s a good stepping stone. And I’m proud of it,” said Laverdure in an email to the News. “I’m excited heading into the next year and to keep building.”
Laverdure lost the gold medal to India’s Babita Kumari by a score of 9-2. Other than breaks to her nose, it’s only the second time Laverdure suffered a broken bone in competition.
Her first was a hairline fracture in her leg during the 2008 Olympic trials. She already had a black eye sustained during training before the start of the Games when a partner’s finger got jammed in her eye.
“Not sure (how it happened), I think off my own shot,” said Laverdure of last week’s fracture. “The injury seems to already be healing up, I’ll take the stitches out in a few days and buddy tape my pinky and carry on training.”
Laverdure’s gold-medal bout was one of seven between Canada and India at the Games, five of which ended in Canada’s favour.
Canada won 12 of 42 available medals in wrestling including seven gold, which is a Games record for the team.
Canada tied Nigeria for second in wrestling medals behind India, which took 13 medals but just five gold.
All seven female competitors on Canada’s wrestling team, including Laverdure, won a medal.
Laverdure was right in the middle as three teammates won gold and three won bronze.
“The wrestlers killed it – 12 medals!” said Laverdure.
Canada bagged a total of 32 gold, 16 silver and 34 bronze for a total of 82 medals to place third in the medal standings at the quadrennial event, up from fourth at the 2010 Games with 76 medals.
England topped the list with 174 medals, ahead of second place’s Australia with 137.
Laverdure, who competes out of the Dinos Wrestling Club in Calgary, where she is a lawyer, breezed through her opening bout in Glasgow with a 10-0 win over Cameroon’s Joseph Essombe Tiako.
She then had a tougher challenge against Nigeria’s Ifeoma Nwoye. Laverdure scored two in the second period for a close 6-4 win.
“Nigeria, she was tough,” said Laverdure. “I actually tried some counters and they didn’t work, and she ended up scoring, so I had to adjust in the match as she was physically strong.”
Glasgow marked both Laverdure’s first Commonwealth Games and her first major Games.
She has twice been first alternate for Canada’s Olympic teams. She has every intention of competing for Canada at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“It was great, but also exhausting,” said Laverdure. “Lots of highs and lows.”
“Congratulation to Brittanee,” said Team Canada cyclist Zach Bell, who also hails from the town of Watson Lake.
“She is my classmate from Watson Lake. I know how long and how hard she has worked on her craft and I am happy to see her receiving the results from those efforts. I know it is a Winter Olympics year but I think she should be (Sport Yukon’s) athlete of the year this year. She is a great role model for northern kids, and people all over the territory should know her name if they don’t already.”
Bell registered three top-10 finishes in track cycling at the Games before switching to road on Thursday.
He placed 14th in the men’s time trial and did not finish on Sunday’s road race. Only 12 of 139 cyclists reached the finish line in the road race.
The Commonwealths silver is the second in a row for Laverdure on the international stage. The 32-year-old won silver in the 53-kilogram weight division at the Pan-American Wrestling Championships in Mexico City in the middle of July.
Laverdure has also been named to Team Canada for the FILA World Wrestling Championships this September in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
She earned a spot on the team for the 55-kilogram weight class with a pair of wins during world team trials in Guelph, Ont., early last month.
She then stayed in Guelph to compete at the Canada Cup the next day and took gold in the women’s 53-kilogram division.
The world championships in Uzbekistan will be Laverdure’s fourth.
She won a bronze at the 2008 world championships in Japan and also took two fifth-place results at worlds in 2007 and 2012.
Laverdure had shoulder surgery last summer and returned to competition after eight months away to win gold in the 53-kilogram weight class at the 2014 Senior National Championships in March.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com