A weighlifter lifts a barbell with two plates on each side above her head.

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. 

Canada celebrates after winning the bronze medal
Canada celebrates after winning the bronze medal in softball against Mexico during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Photo by Mark Blinch/COC

READ: Team Canada wins softball bronze at Tokyo 2020

READ: Tokyo 2020 softball bronze “a dream come true” for Team Canada

We all became fans of “Beast Maude” Charron who won Canada’s second ever Olympic gold medal in weightlifting.

Canadian weightlifter Maude Charron reacts after winning gold in the Women’s 64kg category during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Photo by Stephen Hosier/COC *MANDATORY CREDIT*

READ: Charron wins Canada’s second ever weightlifting gold at Tokyo 2020

READ: Charron’s athletic odyssey pays off with weightlifting gold

Jennifer Abel and Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu won silver in the women’s 3m synchro event for Canada’s first Olympic diving medal that was better than bronze since Beijing 2008.

READ: Abel & Citrini-Beaulieu win silver in 3m synchro diving

READ: Jennifer Abel & Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu propelled by team strength

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.

Jessica Klimkait stands with her bronze medal wearing her Team Canada jacket and mask.
Canadian Jessica Klimkait wins a bronze medal for judo during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Monday, July 26, 2021. Photo by Stephen Hosier/COC

READ: Klimkait becomes Canada’s first female Olympic judo medallist

READ: “I wanted to feel that pride”; Klimkait regroups to claim Olympic bronze

READ: Beauchemin-Pinard wins Canada’s second judo medal of Tokyo 2020

READ: Beauchemin-Pinard’s step up to 63kg has her stepping onto Tokyo 2020 podium

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.

READ: Vincent Lapointe paddles to first women’s Olympic canoe sprint podium

READ: “I did it”: Vincent Lapointe revels in canoe sprint history

READ: Vincent Lapointe & Vincent win C-2 500m bronze at Tokyo 2020

READ: Teamwork makes the dream work for canoe sprint pair

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.