Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak won a historic bronze medal in the women’s 200-metre freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.
Oleksiak’s sixth career medal makes her Canada’s most decorated summer Olympian.
“It’s weird,” the 21-year-old said. “It’s definitely crazy.”
Speedskater Cindy Klassen and dual Olympian Clara Hughes each own six medals, while rowing’s Lesley Thompson-Willie and track and field’s Phil Edwards each won five in Summer Games.
Oleksiak anchored the women’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay team to a silver medal in Sunday’s first finals session in Tokyo.
At age 16, the Toronto swimmer won gold in the 100-metre freestyle, silver in the 100-metre butterfly and a pair of freestyle relay bronze five years ago in Rio de Janeiro.
Oleksiak has more chances to become Canada’s most decorated Olympian of all time. She’ll race the 100-metre freestyle, as well as the 4 x 200 freestyle relay and medley relay.
Australia’s Ariarne Titmus won gold in the 200 freestyle ahead of silver medallist Siobhan Bernadette of Hong Kong.
Oleksiak led at the first turn at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, but was fourth at the 150-metre mark. The Canadian clawed back into medal contention and held off a late push by China’s Junxuan Yang to get on the podium.
“It really hurt,” Oleksiak said. “My legs are killing me right now.”
Oleksiak didn’t swim the 200 freestyle in Rio.
The only other time she’d raced it internationally was in the 2019 world championship in Gwangju, South Korea, where she finished sixth.
“I had potential to do well in the 200 free, but I really didn’t have the confidence behind it,” Oleksiak said. “It is a really tough race and it is really strategic. It’s hard to swim, but over the last year I’ve built a lot of confidence in my 200.”
Sydney Pickrem of Clearwater, Fla., was sixth in the 200-metre individual medley Wednesday.
Toronto’s Josh Liendo and Calgary’s Yuri Kisil placed 14th and 15th respectively in the men’s 100-metre freestyle semifinals.
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