Athletics, 800m — Targeting Tokyo 2020
2016 Olympic Games — Fourth Place, 800m
2015 IAAF World Championship Silver Medalist, 800m
2015 Pan Am Games Gold Medalist, 800m
Canadian Record Holder (1:57.02), 800m
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In Rio, World Championship silver medalist (800m) Melissa Bishop, will look to build on the medal-momentum from a dominant performance in Beijing 2015 where she shattered the Canadian Record – blazing to a 1:57.52.
"I want to make the final and compete to the best of my abilities,” said Melissa. "I want to make a difference for Team Canada and Canadian athletics on a global stage. I want to make Canada proud."
But when she readies herself at the Olympic start line, she’ll be running for more than just Canada’s emerging international track reputation.
She’ll run for Dennis.
Melissa’s long-time coach, Dennis Fairall, was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, an uncommon brain disorder, that forced him to step down from his position at the University of Windsor where he won 20 CIS national track titles as a head coach.
Melissa joined Coach Fairall, a master of race tactics, in 2008 and credits him with her rise in track and her new-found competition confidence.
With a successful Canadian Olympic Trials behind her, the focus shifts to Rio 2016 and Melissa fought back the tears when talking about how much Coach Fairall has meant to her career and her development as a person.
“Dennis has been with me my entire journey,” Melissa added following her 800m win. "I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Dennis. So this is really dedicated to him. Ups and downs, he’s been there every step of the way.”
Rio will be no different for the duo.
Coach Fairall will make the challenging trek to support Melissa and draw up the race strategies for her pursuit of the podium in what will likely be the final major international event he travels to.
Rounding into Olympic-form, Melissa bettered her Canadian Record in the 800m with a 1:57.43 at the TrackTown Classic in Edmonton just a week after winning the Canadian Trials.
In Rio, Melissa set a new personal best and Canadian Record (1:57.02) in an equally competitive and controversial final, finishing just off the podium by 0.13 seconds.
That's about one stride.
Although disappointed, when asked in a post-race interview if this was the end of her Olympic journey, she quickly replied:
"Heck no! I'm just getting started."
Bring on Tokyo 2020.