Karen Cockburn of Stouffville, Ont., could become the first Canadian summer Olympian to win medals in four consecutive Games, after she took bronze in Sydney and silver in both Athens and Beijing. This will be the last Olympics for the 31-year-old athlete, who carried the flag out of Beijing. But she must out-score the dominant Chinese if she is to claim that elusive Olympic gold medal. Toronto’s Rosie MacLennan has a medal shot too.
Jason Burnett won silver at in men’s trampoline at the 2008 Olympics but was a disastrous 10th in the first Canadian trial. He must win the second in Gatineau, Que. He does hold the world record for a degree of difficulty score in a routine.
Kelita Zupancic, 21 of Whitby, Ont., has trained with a Japanese side for this, and OTP thinks she can have a top-3 performance in the 70-kg class. That depends on a favourable draw for the fighter who is regularly in the top five at international tournaments. Brazil-born Sergio Pessoa was a medal hopeful at 60 kg but must rehabilitate a bad knee.
The men’s eight-oared boat includes three members of the 2008 gold medal-winning crew, along with former alternate Rob Gibson. They are back to lead Canada’s charge for a Beijing repeat. Canada will be in tough against the powerhouse Germans.
In the men’s pair, David Calder and Scott Frandsen won a silver medal in Beijing. They were fifth at the 2011 worlds and are determined to make up for that in London.
In women’s lightweight double sculls, Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee teamed up in 2011 and won silver at the worlds to secure an Olympic spot for Canada in London. Tracy Cameron is vying for a spot on the double sculls crew but may not get it. Cameron has also been competing in the lightweight single sculls.
The women’s eight placed second in the 2011 world championships, narrowly behind the United States. Coxswain Lesley Thompson-Willie calls the strokes with experience. She has been in six Olympics (1984-2000, 2008).
Ryan Cochrane, the 2008 bronze medalist in the 1,500 metre freestyle is aiming for a step up on the London podium. To do that, he’ll have to stay close to 1,500-metre world-record holder Sun Yang of China. Cochrane will also compete in the 400 metre freestyle. Swimming Canada is calling for three medals in London – perhaps one from Brent Hayden (2011 world silver in 100 freestyle) and another from a relay team.
Coming off a gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games, Canada’s synchronized swimming team has a great shot at earning its first Olympic medal since taking bronze in 2000. The women are determined to have the most innovative and high-flying acrobatic highlights in the competition. Two of the team members, Élise Marcotte of L'Ancienne-Lorette, Que., and Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., will also challenge for the podium in the duet.
Veteran Canadian tennis player Daniel Nestor is currently the No.3-ranked doubles player in the world. But a Canadian partner for Nestor at the Games is still to be named, since he usually plays with a Belarusian partner, Max Mirnyi. His options are likely Vasik Pospisil or Milos Raonic.
Paula Findlay is the best hope, having dominated her event last season. Findlay won three ITU world Championship Series triathlons and was ranked number one in the world. She has already qualified for London but some recent injuries could set her back. Perennial favourite Simon Whitfield has also been pre-selected for London but Canadians Kyle Jones and Brent McMahon will battle him to make the final cut for the Canadian team.
Christine Girard competes in the 63 kg class. She was fourth in Beijing, missing out on a medal by a measly three kilograms. Over the past two years, she’s won gold at the Commonwealth Games and at the Pan-Am Games.
Carol Huynh was the first Canadian to win a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. The 48-kg wrestler has since won gold at the Commonwealth Games and Pan-Am Games and is back again.
Tonya Verbeek earned a bronze medal in Beijing in the 55 kg weight class. She won silver in the 59 kg category at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Compiled by James Christie with reports from Rachel Brady, Allan Maki, Paul Waldie and Sean Gordon.