Best of 2021: Women lead Team Canada’s record medal total at Tokyo 2020
Our Best of 2021 series recaps the incredible performances by Canadian athletes over the past year. Check out the full list here.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will always be remembered for taking place a year later than initially planned in the midst of a global pandemic.
But they should also be remembered for the many incredible performances we saw, especially from our Team Canada athletes.
The 24 medals won in Tokyo was Canada’s second-best total at any Olympic Summer Games, behind only the 44 from Los Angeles 1984 which was impacted by a Soviet bloc boycott.
The seven gold medals won in Tokyo was also Canada’s second most ever at a Summer Games, matching the number won at Barcelona 1992.
But well before the medal haul was complete, it was clear that women would be key contributors to Canada’s podium success. In the end, 18 of Team Canada’s medals – a whopping 75 per cent – were won in women’s events and they came in nine different sports.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
Team Canada won its first ever Olympic softball medal, with many players taking full advantage of their chance of a lifetime before walking away into retirement. Softball was last an Olympic sport in 2008 and won’t be back in 2024.
We all became fans of “Beast Maude” Charron who won Canada’s second ever Olympic gold medal in weightlifting.
Jessica Klimkait and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard made some history in the homeland of their sport. First, Klimkait became the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic judo medal. When Beauchemin-Pinard also won bronze, it marked the first time that Canada had won two judo medals at one Olympic Games.
There was also history made on the water as women’s canoe events debuted on the Olympic program. Laurence Vincent Lapointe laid claim to two medals, winning an individual silver before teaming up with Katie Vincent to capture bronze – and take an unplanned plunge from their boat.
Of course, those were far from the only standout performances by Canadian women at Tokyo 2020 and we will celebrate those moments in future editions of our Best of 2021 series.