Great Team Canada performances (so far) at Tokyo 2020
Good things come to those who wait — and it’s been a long wait for Tokyo 2020.
After a one-year delay, Team Canada kicked off the Olympic Games with a bang — swimming, lifting, rowing, and playing their way to the podium and record books. It seems the wait was worth it.
At the midway mark of the Games, let’s take a look at some of Team Canada’s impressive accomplishments in Tokyo so far — with even more to come.
Penny being Penny
Penny Oleksiak became Canada’s all-time most decorated summer Olympian when she won bronze in the women’s 200m freestyle, adding to the silver she had already won in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Those two medals combined with the four she won at Rio 2016 tie her for the most Olympic medals won by a Canadian athlete in any sport.
Oleksiak came close to making more history when she, along with Summer McIntosh, Rebecca Smith, and Kayla Sanchez, finished fourth in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay, doing so in a Canadian record time of 7:43.77. She had another record-breaking fourth-place finish in the women’s 100m freestyle, breaking her own Canadian best time of 52.59 seconds. You could say that her Instagram handle @typicalpen is incredibly apt.
History at one end of the pool…
Oleksiak hasn’t been the only Canadian making waves in Tokyo.
Oleksiak teamed up with Kayla Sanchez, Margaret Mac Neil and Rebecca Smith to win silver in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay. Taylor Ruck also received a medal for swimming with the team in the heats.
The following day, Mac Neil won Canada’s first gold medal of these Games, winning the 100m butterfly in a Canadian and Americas record time of 55.59 seconds.
Kylie Masse won her first medal of Tokyo 2020 by finishing second in the 100m backstroke, trailing only Australian Kaylee McKeown who set an Olympic record with her finish. Masse won another silver in the women’s 200m backstroke with a time of 2:05.42 – taking half a second off her own national record.
14-year-old Summer McIntosh placed fourth in the women’s 400m freestyle, lowering the Canadian record she had set a day earlier to 4:02.42.
Canada’s men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team, featuring Brent Hayden, Joshua Liendo, Yuri Kisil, and Markus Thormeyer, just missed out on a medal, placing fourth. They did, however, break the national record that had stood for 13 years with a time of 3:10.82.
… and history at the other end of the pool
For the first time since Beijing 2008, Team Canada stood on the second step of the podium in diving. Jennifer Abel, who finished fourth in both of her events at Rio 2016, and Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu teamed up to win silver in the women’s 3m synchro springboard event.
On the men’s side, Vincent Riendeau and Nathan Zsombor-Murray were the first Canadian duo to qualify for the men’s 10m synchro since Athens 2004. They finished fifth overall, matching Canada’s best ever result in the event.
Representing a rowing legacy
Rowers Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens won Canada’s first medal in the women’s pair since Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle at Barcelona 1992, claiming bronze with a time of 6:52.10. Filmer and Janssens qualified for the final by rowing a Canadian best ever time of 6:49.46 in the semifinal.
The following day, Canada won their first gold in the women’s eight since Barcelona 1992 and Canada’s first gold in any women’s rowing event since the aforementioned McBean and Heddle won the double sculls at Atlanta 1996. The crew rowed to a Canadian best ever time of 5:53.73 in the repechage to advance to the final where they clocked in at 5:59.13.
Afterwards, the crew noted that they had Heddle, who had passed away in January after a battle with cancer, on their minds, especially when they heard a rumble of thunder just before the start and took it as a sign that she was with them in their pursuit of gold.
Charron lifts her way to gold
Lifting a total of 236kg, Maude Charron won gold in the 64kg weight class. Charron joins Christine Girard, who won gold at London 2012, as the only other Canadian woman to stand atop the Olympic weightlifting podium.
After the new Olympic champion revealed what she couldn’t wait to eat now that she didn’t have to worry about weigh-in, Air Canada was happy to fulfill her wishes as she got set to fly home.
Multiple medals in judo’s homeland
Jessica Klimkait took home the bronze in the women’s 57kg event, becoming the first female Canadian judoka to win an Olympic medal. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard followed up by claiming a bronze medal in the women’s 63kg event.
It was only fitting that the first Olympic Games at which Canada won multiple judo medals would have the competition take place at the historic Nippon Budoken, the site of the first Olympic judo competition at Tokyo 1964 – and also where Doug Rogers won Canada’s first ever medal in the sport.
Canada wins first Olympic softball medal
Softball itself was making history in Tokyo, returning to the Olympic Games for the first time since Beijing 2008. Team Canada finished fourth at those Games — its best result prior to Tokyo — and featured Danielle Lawrie, Kaleigh Rafter, Lauren Regula and Jenn Salling, all of whom suited up this year. Canada finished 3-2 in the opening round and went on to defeat Mexico 3-2 in the bronze medal game.
Woods finishes fifth in road race
Michael Woods just missed the podium in the men’s road race, finishing fifth in the cycling event that lasted more than six hours and 234km. Woods’ fifth-place finish – which ended in a sprint at the finish line – was Canada’s second best ever performance, trailing only Steve Bauer‘s silver at Los Angeles 1984. On Day 1, it delivered Team Canada an exciting start to Tokyo 2020
Canadians, skateboarding make debut
Skateboarding made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and so did Team Canada’s Matt Berger and Micky Papa on the men’s side while Annie Guglia competed in the women’s event. Papa finished 10th in the combined rankings of the heats while Berger finished 20th. Guglia would finish 19th as the sport engaged a new generation of Olympic fans.
Zhang breaks through in table tennis
Competing in her fourth Olympic Games, Mo Zhang reached the Round of 16, matching Canada’s best ever Olympic result in the women’s singles table tennis event. She had finished 33rd at both Rio 2016 and London 2012.
Fifth for foil fencers
With a 45-31 win over Japan in the 5-8 classification round, the women’s foil team of Alanna Goldie, Jessica Guo, Eleanor Harvey and Kelleigh Ryan finished fifth, Canada’s best ever Olympic result in that fencing event.
Li matches best Canadian badminton result
Playing in her third Olympic Games, Michelle Li reached the Round of 16 in women’s singles badminton before falling to third-ranked Nozomi Okuhara of Japan. Li matched Canada’s best ever Olympic result in the event and also bested her 17th-place finishes at Rio 2016 and London 2012.
A best for BMX
Making her Olympic debut, Drew Mechielsen earned a spot in the BMX final where she finished eighth – a Canadian best ever performance.