Canadian female athletes started the Tokyo Olympics strong and ended the same way on Sunday.
Track cyclist Kelsey Mitchell crowned Canada’s best harvest at the Unboycotted Summer Games by winning the gold medal in the sprint event.
So Canada finished the Tokyo Games with seven golds, six silvers and 11 bronzes.
The 24 medals mark a new mark for the uninterrupted Summer Games and the seven gold medals equal the Canadian record set at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
The only time Canada had a better harvest was at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Canada has 44 medals, 10 of which are gold. However, the games were boycotted by 14 countries of the Eastern Bloc, including the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic.
Canada finished the Tokyo Olympics 11th on the official medal table and overall medal count.
The United States won three gold medals on the final day of competition to overtake China in the medal table with 39 golds to China’s 38.
In total, the race was much less close. The United States collected 112 medals, compared to China’s 88, in second place.
Mitchell, who took part in the Keren final, put the finishing touches on an amazing Games for the Canadians. She beat Ukraine’s Olina Starikova in two consecutive rounds, and took the seventh gold for Canada and 24th place in total.
In the semi-finals, Mitchell provided a good strategy to beat world champion Emma Haines of Germany by two sets to one.
“People talk a lot about fantasizing in sports, and I don’t know if that was intentional, but I saw myself on the podium,” Mitchell said. I decided to go ahead and run, so I’m really excited to be on the first step. “
Mitchell earned the second Olympic gold in Canadian cycling history, following in the footsteps of Laurie Ann Munzer, who triumphed at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
It was Canada’s second cycling medal at the Games, after Lorient Genest’s bronze medal in Keren.
Genest entered the placement race on Sunday and finished eighth in the sprint.
Eighteen of Canada’s 24 medals have been won by women, either alone or as a team.
In the heat in Sapporo, Canadians Ben Prezner, Trevor Hoffbauer and Cameron Levins managed to complete the men’s marathon.
Pressner, 46th in 2:19:27, and Hoffbauer, 48th in 2:19:57, achieved his personal highest this season. Levins finished 72nd with a time of 2:28:43.
Canada had several reasons to celebrate in Tokyo. Damien Warner In the decathlon, the women’s soccer team and Andre de Grasse won the 200-meter and eight women’s events in prestigious events.
Mitchell, swimmer Maggie McNeill and weightlifter Maud Charron also climbed to the top of the podium.
Swimmer Benny Oleksiak won three medals in Tokyo to become the most decorated Canadian in history with seven. De Grasse is not far away, with six medals, the highest Canadian.
But where there is the ecstasy of victory, there is also the agony of defeat not far away. Canada has also had its share of disappointments and heartbreaking moments.
Road cyclist Michael Woods finished off the podium on the first day of medals. Two-time trampoline champion Rosie McLennan, women’s 4x400m relay, weightlifter Buddy Santafe, divers Megan Benfetto and Kayleigh McKay, gymnast Eli Black and even Oleksiak – in two different finals – were among the athletes who finished fourth.
“It was not easy to take a point or a second off the Canadian team,” said Canadian Chef de Mission, Marnie McBain.
“We have found that there is very little difference between fame and disappointment. It takes courage to believe that you can achieve one when you also risk the other.”
Canada’s successes were particularly noteworthy given last year when training conditions were less than ideal. The athletes also arrived in Tokyo as the city was in a state of emergency and faced an increase in COVID-19 cases. Not to mention the heat and humidity that forced even some of the world’s best athletes to compromise.
“One of our goals was to come to Tokyo and come back to Canada without facing COVID,” said David Shoemaker, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
The Chinese Olympic Committee said none of its 840 delegates had tested positive for the coronavirus before the Games were closed.
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