Canadian athletes deliver historic Rio 2016 performance
Sunday, August 21, 2016 — RIO DE JANEIRO — Canadian Olympic Committee President, Tricia Smith, congratulated Team Canada athletes on winning 22 medals at Rio 2016, (4 gold, 3 silver and 15 bronze), matching the country’s best-ever medal count in a non-boycotted summer Games in Atlanta 1996, but surpassing the number of gold medals won during those Games.
Smith stated at the COC’s closing press conference that the athletes’ success at these Games confirms that Canada is on the right track. She also noted the tremendous success of female athletes who won 16 of those medals, the first time in 40 years that women will have won the majority of medals.
The team enjoyed better than expected success at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, with female swimmers putting an end to a 20-year drought to capture six medals. The medal haul was led by Penny Oleksiak, who stood on the podium four times at Rio 2016. The athletics team also stepped up to clinch six medals with historic performances. Andre De Grasse became the first Canadian to ever win medals in the three sprint events at one Games: bronze in the 100m, silver in the 200m and bronze with Team Canada in the 4x100m relay. High jumper Derek Drouin also made history when he became the first Canadian in 84 years to win Olympic gold in a field event, while Damian Warner and Brianne Theisen-Eaton made remarkable breakthroughs in the combined events.
In addition, Rosie MacLennan became the first Canadian athlete to successfully defend a gold medal at the summer Games. Erica Wiebe won Canada’s third ever Olympic gold in wrestling. The women’s rugby sevens team captured bronze in the Olympic debut of their sport while the women’s soccer team returned to the podium for a second straight Games.
Chef de Mission Curt Harnett also announced that Penny Oleksiak, the first Canadian in history to win four medals in a single summer Olympic Games, has been selected as Canada’s Flag Bearer for the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony. The event will take place at Rio’s Maracanã Stadium.
Few could have predicted that the 16-year-old Oleksiak would reach such incredible heights in her first Olympic Games. With a gold medal and Olympic record in the women’s 100m freestyle, a silver in the women’s 100m butterfly, and bronze medals in both the women’s 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays, Oleksiak authored one of the greatest performances in Canadian Olympic history, and in doing so, captured the hearts of the nation.
“This entire experience is a dream come true. I never expected any of this, and now I’ve been given this honour of carrying the Canadian flag into the Closing Ceremony. I’ve never been more proud to be a Canadian.”
Penny Oleksiak, Rio 2016 Olympian, four-time Olympic medallist
“I know that Canadians are proud of what Team Canada accomplished here in Rio. Our athletes competed with heart, courage and grace, and showed the world what it means to be Canadian. Nobody showed this better than our Closing Ceremony Flag Bearer, Penny Oleksiak. Congratulations on this honour, Penny – you deserve it.”
Curt Harnett, Rio 2016 Team Canada Chef de Mission
“The next generation of Canadians stepped up and took centre stage in Rio and in the process, contributed to matching Canada’s best-ever medal performance at a summer Games with 22 medals. Following in the footsteps of, and together with their veteran Olympic teammates, they represented Team Canada with integrity, heart and grace. This was a truly remarkable, multifaceted team and a remarkable Games for Canada. We would like to thank the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee and the wonderful people of Rio and of Brazil for hosting the world.”
Tricia Smith, President, Canadian Olympic Committee