The Tokyo Summer Games are deep into their second and final week, and Canada is having a wonderful Olympics so far. With 14 total medals (3 gold, 4 silver, and 7 bronze) Canada is still on track to perhaps reach something similar to their haul at Rio in 2016 (the country's second-best ever with 22 medals, 4 of them being gold). Let's take a moment to look at the highlights so far, including some big moments to come in the next few days!
Worth every Penny
For around a century, the one cent piece, or penny, was the lowest unit of money used in Canada. In the end, it was considered to be of such low value, that it was completely taken out of circulation on February 4, 2013. But another Penny is proving to be worth way more than the retired coin!
Of course, we're talking about swimmer Penny Oleksiak. On Sunday, she swam the anchor (or final) leg of the women's 4x100m medley relay and helped to secure a Canadian record time in the event. This time gave her team (including Kylie Masse, Sydney Pickrem, and Maggie Mac Neil) a well-deserved bronze. It also made Oleksiak the most decorated Canadian Olympian ever in the Summer and Winter Olympics. Plus, she's just 21 and the next Summer Games are only three years away—2024 in Paris.
After the bronze medal, she said "I'm glad I didn't win it in an individual [event] because this just makes it ten times sweeter knowing that I've accomplished this history with girls that are also making history." And she's right. In an age where the United States and Australia are pushing women's swimming to unbelievable heights, Canada is right there with them—one of the powerhouse nations in the pool. And their best years are probably still ahead of them!
Kicking the curse
Another sport where Canadians are an international force is women's soccer. After all, the world-record holder for international goals scored—men or women—is Canadian striker Christine Sinclair. But in this event, reaching the very top has always been just out of reach. The Netherlands, Australia, England, Brazil, France, Japan ... there are so many exceptionally talented teams out there. And then there are the Americans. With four World Cup wins and four Olympic gold medals, they are far and away the best team in the sport's history—as well as the reigning World Cup champs.
So when Canada faced the Americans in the semi-final in Tokyo, it felt like the best Canada could hope for was the chance to win a third-straight bronze medal in the event. The Americans hadn't lost to Canada in 20 years! Instead, as the sun rose on Sunday morning, the news came in: Canada 1, USA 0. Thanks to a perfectly-taken penalty kick from Jessie Fleming, the Canadians were finally getting a chance to play for gold!
The gold medal match—which will happen on Thursday night at 10pm EST/7pm PST—will be against Sweden. The Swedes have easily been the most dynamic team of these Olympics. They have scored the most goals and have won every match they've played, including a solid 3–0 win over the USA earlier in the tournament. Canada's strength, however, has been their defence—goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé has allowed only three goals all tournament, including zero in the last two matches. Much like the gold medal matches in hockey in the Winter Games, you can expect this to be Canada's most watched event of this Olympics.
De Grasse is all class
Another event that could come close in terms of excitement? Anything featuring sprinter Andre De Grasse.
This young Canadian propelled himself to another bronze in the men's 100m—a.k.a. the race to find the fastest human on Earth. And he's far from done. Just this morning, he qualified for the men's 200m final, an event he grabbed silver in at Rio 2016. And when the race is run on Wednesday morning (Canadian time), he'll be joined by another Canadian sprinter, Andre Brown.
It will be a chance for De Grasse to grab his fifth medal ever at an Olympics. Then later in the week comes the 4x100m relay, which he helped Canada win a bronze in five years ago. If De Grasse can win medals in these two events, he'll become arguably Canada's most successful Olympic sprinter of all time.
The Olympics may be nearing their conclusion, but these events—plus canoeing, decathlon, and wrestling—all to still come, there is so much left to cheer for!