Historically, Canada has been a mediocre as a Summer Olympics Country. They have always had an abundance of athletes compete at a high level of competition. Unfortunately, Canadian athletes never came away with the medals to show for it.
Top 10 finishes and personal bests had seemed to be a ceiling that Canadian athletes had crashed into. In the 1988 Olympics in Soul, South Korea Canada only came away with 10 Olympic medals after sending over 300 athletes. In those games, 10 medals is underachieving in a first world country like Canada.
Since than, Canada has been slowly improving. Seven Gold Medals in 1992 in Barcelona, a record 22 medals in 1996 in Atalanta. After a shortage of production for the Sydney and Athens games, Canada has came back with determination in 2008 Bejing, 2012 in London and now 2016 in Rio.
19 medals, 18 medals and 22 medals respectively in the last three Quadrennials. It doesn’t seem like much to any Yankee reading this, but for a population of 36 Million, it is quite an accomplishment.
What changed, or even better yet, does it matter? It might have been the Own the Podium program that was designed when Vancouver was selected to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. After going Gold medalless, in 1976 in Montreal and similarly in 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. The Canadian Olympic committee made sure thry weren’t going to disappoint when it came to 2010 in Vancouver.
First came the Winter sports success, excellence in many different sports in the 2010 Olympics capturing 14 Gold Medals a Winter Olympics record by a host country in the Winter Olympics.
Since, it has been a title wave of success for the Canadian Summer Olympic athletes including a surplus of bronze medals. The best part of all is, it isn’t just one sport Canada is winning medals in.
Sports are booming in Canada right. Before, we were only known as a hockey nation but Canada proved they are much more than that as they won medals in 10 different sports in Rio. with Swimming and Athletics being a big surprise.
Penny Oleksiak at the youthful age of 16, splashed her way to four medals in the pool including a gold in the 100M Freestyle and also being the Flag Berier at the Closing Ceremonies.
Most Olympians have graduated High School before they are Olympic Champions but not her. She became an ordinary high school girl to a household name within a matter of days and becoming Canada’s most decorated Canadian for a single Olympics.
She honestly has her pick of what guy she wants to date for prom next year and she probably hasn’t even realized it yet.
Not to be undone, Andre De Grasse was just as impressive as he won three medals on the track. He converted from a basketball player to a track star when he was 17 and now people are naming him the next Usain Bolt. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Andre De Grasse won gold in the 100M, 200M and 4 X 100M Relay in Tokyo 2020.
Lastly, the Women’s Canadian soccer team provided more inspiration for young female soccer players as they captured bronze in the women’s soccer tournament for the second consecutive Olympics. This time, Canada was superb in their performance beating very good Germany and France teams.
In 2012, Canada was a one player team and was the beneficiary of Brazil getting upset in the group stage. This time around, Christine Sinclair had a way bigger supporting cast that led her team to an impressive win against Brazil to clinch the bronze medal.
Canada showed they can play with the best teams in the world not by sitting back but by playing their game.
These and many other great stories pollvolted Canada to a country record 22 medals in this years games. The best ever for a non boycotted Olympics. Yes, there are way more events than in the 1992 Olympics but nevertheless, Canada is excelling in sports as Tennis, Golf, Basketball oh and now Swimming and Athletics have skyrocketed for Canadians. The good news, the best may still be to come.
Canadian women won 16 of the 22 medals for Canada which should send a message too other countries to give female youth a chance to succeed in sport as that is what Canada does a really good job in.
Next stop, Tokyo 2020. Canada’s goal should be to turn some of those bronze medals into gold medals. It could happen, between Andre De Grasse and Penny Oleksiak in 2020, Canada could get around five gold medals alone. Optimistic thinking but they are rising stars in their respective sports.
The Olympics are the single best thing invented in sports history. It brings out the best of all the competitors and I’m glad it is finally bringing out the best in Canadians.