Best of 2021: Penny Oleksiak becomes Canada’s all-time decorated Olympian
Our Best of 2021 series recaps the incredible performances by Canadian athletes over the past year. Check out the full list here.
The bar was set high for Penny Oleksiak heading into Tokyo 2020. During Rio 2016, she became the first Canadian to win four medals in the same Summer Games and the country’s youngest Olympic champion at just 16 years old.
Despite the one-year delay for her second Olympic appearance, Oleksiak stayed in top form as she went home with three medals, becoming Canada’s all-time most decorated Olympian with seven.
Here is how Oleksiak achieved that rarefied status at Tokyo 2020:
On Day 5, Oleksiak became Canada’s all-time most decorated summer Olympian after winning bronze in the women’s 200m freestyle.
On the final day of competition for swimming events, Day 8, Oleksiak took her place in the history books when she anchored Canada to bronze in the women’s 4x100m medley relay, joining forces with Kylie Masse, Sydney Pickrem, and Maggie Mac Neil. The medal made Oleksiak Canada’s all-time most decorated Olympian, surpassing speed skater Cindy Klassen and speed skater/road cyclist Clara Hughes who had each won six medals in their careers.
Oleksiak also set a Canadian record with a time of 52.59 seconds in the 100m freestyle final, swimming faster than her gold medal-winning time in Rio. In an incredibly fast field, however, she finished fourth.
Oleksiak’s performance cemented her status as Canada’s most accomplished Olympic athlete, and at the age of 21, she’s not even close to being finished.