Canadian Women in Sport – Olympics

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As a woman, a Canadian, a former competitive swimmer, and the mother to two young girls, this past week at the Olympics has been pretty incredible to watch.

Canadian women rocked – particularly in the pool. But really, their successes dominated the Canadian Olympic coverage and it was just so empowering to watch.

In case you missed it, let me help you catch up.

Here’s a quick montage from CBC:

The stats as of right now? Twelve medals for Canada. And in one week 16-year-old Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak has become something of a household name with her four Olympic medals.

Her gold in the 100 free is the first gold Canada has won in the pool since 1992 (Mark Tewksbury, 100 back). Her win also makes her the youngest gold medallist in Canadian Olympic history.

In case that wasn’t enough to make the whole thing feel truly historic and empowering in a more global sense, she tied for first in the 100 free with the US’s Simone Manuel – the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold in an individual swimming event.

As for Penny, fans responded in a fun and truly Canadian way:

And Penny herself? In addition to excelling in the pool, vocally cheering on her teammates and showing true teamwork, sportsmanship and grace throughout her amazing week in the pool, she also shared a bit of herself beyond the pool in social media, which just made me (and I’m guessing many others) like her even more. She tried to buy Drake tickets, but they were sold out.

However, he then followed her on Twitter, so there’s that.

Then came the invite, but it’s unclear if she’ll be able to go:

Either way, Penny Oleksiak has clearly won her way into many hearts and at just 16 years of age has years ahead of her in both her sports career and in whatever she chooses to do beyond that. She is inspiring.

Getting back to other events in the past week, as a former backstroker, I cheered as Canada took home bronze in both the 100 and 200 back – go Kylie Masse and Hilary Caldwell!

And while swimming holds a special place in my heart, Canadian women were also cleaning up in many other sports.

I can’t wait to see what comes next in Rio for all our athletes. You make us all so very proud. Go Team Canada!

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