Swimmer Penny Oleksiak is the flag bearer as Canadian athletes proudly march in Rio’s Olympic closing ceremony.
And they have reason to stand tall: the team has exceeded medal expectations with 22, putting them in 10th place in the medal standings. Canada entered the Olympics with a goal of being in the top 12.
Canada didn’t win any medals on the final day of competition. Eric Gillis finished 10th in the men’s marathon with a time of 2:12:29. That puts him just off the Canadian record set by Toronto’s Jerome Drayton in 1975.
— Jessica O’Connell (@jess__oconnell) August 22, 2016
Quebec’s Raphael Gagne competed int he Olympic mountain bike race but didn’t place.
Canadian Sport Institute President Dale Henwood told the Alberta Morning News its obvious that Canada’s athletes were prepared, but there’s another reason for their success in Rio.
“It’s amazing what happens when one athlete wins, and that just becomes a bit infectious within the village, and I think that spurred an number of athletes on.” he said. “There was a time I think there was nine days in a row, where Canadians got medals. So starting early, getting a medal early and that just continues on, I would say that was the real reason we did well.”
Oleksiak was a huge part of that momentum, with her Gold medal in the 100m Freestyle the first Saturday, and three other medals in the pool.
Focus for these Olympians now shifts to the 2020 Olympics. That means funding athletes who aren’t top performers now but, with investment, could be.
“So that’s, to me, where I’m hoping with the review that goes on with the whole targeting approach is: can we spend a greater percentage of the dollars a little bit deeper down the system?” he said. “I know that’s a little bit more risky in terms of the number of athletes you have to support, because they won’t all rise to the top, but we do have to address it more seriously than we have in the past.”
waiting for closing ceremonies to start!! pic.twitter.com/1sLjjMcs7E
— Natalie Achonwa (@NatAchon) August 21, 2016
The most medals Canada has ever won at a Summer Olympics was at the Los Angeles games in 1984, but part of that success was because of the boycott of the games by several Eastern-Bloc countries, including the U.S.S.R. The record medal haul at a non-boycotted Olympics was 22. (ms,amn/kb)