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Scarlet and Going for Gold!

Jul. 23, 2021

The Tokyo Games started on July 23 and two Vic alumni—Gabriela DeBues-Stafford Vic 1T9 and Crispin Duenas Vic 1T1—are vying for gold.

Canadian record holder Gabriela DeBues-Stafford is a serious medal contender at her second Olympics this month in Tokyo. She won her heat in 4:03.70, while her younger sister Lucia Stafford ran to a personal best of 4:03.52. Both sisters raced again on August 4, but only DeBues-Stafford will advance.

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford clocked another best of 3:58.28 in the August 4 1,500-metre semifinal heat in Tokyo to advance to the 12-runner final on Thursday at Olympic Stadium (Friday, August 6 at 8:50 a.m. ET in Canada).

Her younger sister, Lucia, competed in the other semifinal and finished 13th overall and with a personal-best of 4:02.12—43-100ths of a second shy of Spain's Marta Perez, who qualified for the last spot in Thursday's race.

DeBues-Stafford holds the Canadian records in the mile, 1500m and 5000m outdoors and the mile and 5000m indoors. In 2016, DeBues-Stafford won the 1500m national title, just one month after qualifying for Rio where she made her Olympic debut. There, she placed ninth in the second 1500m heat. 

While representing the University of Toronto, Debues-Stafford finished second in the 1000m and third in the 1500m at the 2015 CIS Championships. She went on to win silver in the 1500m at the 2015 World University Games. In 2016 she won the CIS titles in both distances. Stafford won the Dr. Wendy Jerome trophy as the overall most valuable performer after winning three gold medals—two in record-breaking time— at the conference championships. She also led the Varsity Blues to a second-place finish in the team standings and was subsequently named both the CIS track athlete of the year and female performer of the meet.

For DeBues-Stafford, running is truly a family affair. She is the daughter of professor (and runner) Jamie Stafford, professor and chair of the Department of Statistical Sciences, and she is joined in Tokyo with her sister and fellow Olympian runner Lucia Stafford.

Crispin Duenas is one of the world’s top archers and he has already been a member of three Canadian Olympic teams (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016). He first enjoyed major success at the 2013 World Archery Championships when he won bronze for Canada’s first world medal in over 40 years in the individual recurve event. Duenas has also competed at four Pan American Games, most recently at Lima 2019 where he won gold in the men’s individual and team events. With his partner Stephanie Barrett, he finished fourth in the debut of the mixed team event. He has a career-high world ranking of fifth. 

The Scarborough resident is excited about the chance to join Team Canada again. “I’m truly honoured to have been selected to Team Canada for my fourth consecutive Olympics. All the training and hard work I’ve put in over the years is still helping me improve and I think these Olympics will be a great one for me. I’m also really excited to have a chance to shoot in the inaugural mixed team event that is new for these Games.”

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