Canada’s women swimmers proved to be a revelation at the 2016 Rio Olympics, winning six medals and arguably becoming Canada’s face of the Games. They continued in Tokyo where they left off in Rio, winning a silver in the women’s 4x100 freestyle relay. They won bronze in the event in Rio, and both times Penny Oleksiak powered Canada to victory on the anchor leg. Oleksiak now has five Summer Games medals, tying her with rower Lesley Thompson-Willie and runner Phil Edwards for most by a Canadian athlete.
Quebec divers Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu overcame a shaky start to win a silver medal in the women’s three-metre synchronized springboard. For Abel, it was justification for having dedicated five years to get back on the podium after she was disillusioned by two fourth-place finishes at the 2016 Rio Games. Abel now has two Olympic medals to her name. She won bronze in the three-metre synchro with former partner Émilie Heymans at the 2012 London Games.
Félix Auger-Aliassime’s run in the men’s singles tennis competition might have been short lived, but at least it was interesting. Auger-Aliassime was originally slated to face Andy Murray in first-round action before the veteran Scot pulled out owing to a right quadriceps injury. Enter Australian Max Purcell, who was not originally scheduled to participate at the men’s singles tournament. What looked like a mismatch on paper turned into anything but. Purcell, ranked 190th in the world, was incredibly sharp in a 6-4, 7-6 (2) win over the 20-year-old Canadian, who is ranked 15th in the world.
Positive COVID-19 tests have knocked star golfers Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau out of the Olympic tournament. This is the second positive test for Spain’s Rahm in fewer than two months. He was holding a six-shot lead after three rounds at the Memorial in early June when he was informed, as he was coming off the course, that he had tested positive and would have to withdraw. He came back two weeks later to win the U.S. Open and vault to No. 1 in the world.
Athletes will once again be able to show off their beaming faces when they receive their Olympic medals. Only for a moment, though. Olympic medalists can now remove their masks – briefly – on the podium after the International Olympic Committee relaxed its health rules. The IOC says this acknowledges “a unique moment in their sporting career.” The Tokyo Games are being held amid tight health and safety rules as the Japanese capital deals with a state of emergency around the spread of COVID-19.
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