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This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to date with what’s happening at the Tokyo Olympics by signing up here.
For the first time since the start of the swimming medal races, Canada finished a day without a medal in the pool. Despite setting a national record in their final last night, Penny Oleksiak and the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay team finished a distant fourth on Matchday 6 in Tokyo.But Canada still ran its five-day streak on the podium as rowers Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens took bronze in the women’s pairs skating event. That’s 10 medals for the Canadian team in Tokyo – two gold, three silver and five bronze. The women won each of them.
Tonight, Oleksiak will try another shot at her seventh Canadian Olympic medal when she takes part in the final of her flagship event. Let’s start our daily viewing guide there, then watch two more strong medal chances for Canada tonight, plus a big game for the women’s soccer team and some much needed good news for American gymnastics.
Oleksiak on the verge of making Canadian history – once again
With his four medals at the Rio 2016 Games and now two more in Tokyo, Oleksiak has already reached the podium more times at the Summer Olympics than any other Canadian. One more and the 21-year-old will break the tie with speed skater Cindy Klassen and speed skater / cyclist Clara Hughes for the most medals ever won by a Canadian Olympian.
It could happen tonight in the women’s 100-meter freestyle final at 9:59 p.m. ET. This is the event where Oleksiak won gold at the age of 16 in Rio, achieving one of the most astonishing results in Canadian sporting history as she tied American Simone Manuel for first place. and the Olympic record.
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But five years is a long time in swimming, and Manuel is a perfect example. Despite the addition of the 100m freestyle world title in 2017 and 2019, the 24-year-old failed to come out of the US Olympic trials in her best event.
Oleksiak also knows how difficult it is to stay on top. She finished sixth at the 2017 world championships and didn’t even compete in the 100m freestyle at the 2019 world championships. Prior to winning bronze in the Olympic 200m freestyle earlier this week, Oleksiak had not won medal in an individual race at a major international competition from Rio.
But she swam a personal season best 52.86 seconds in last night’s semi-finals, just 0.16 seconds off her gold medal time in Rio. It was good for only fifth overall, but consider that she must have swam for a medal in the 4x200m relay about 90 minutes later. Surely she restrained herself a bit.
WATCH | Penny Oleksiak’s parents encourage their daughter from Toronto:
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Oleksiak will have to empty the tank tonight to beat Australia’s Emma McKeon, who is clearly the favorite for the gold medal after breaking the Olympic record Oleksiak / Manuel with a 52.13 in the innings and once again coming under the old standard for placing first in the general classification in the semi-finals. Siobhan Haughey, who became the first swimmer to win an Olympic medal for Hong Kong when she won silver in the 200m freestyle earlier this week, also improved the Oleksiak / Manuel time in the semifinals.
Some betting shops listed Oleksiak as the No.5 favorite to win the final – behind Australia’s Cate Campbell and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who took silver and bronze behind Manuel at the 2019 world championships.
But if we have learned something else from Oleksiak in the last week, it is not to bet against someone with his immense talent and his fighting spirit.
If Oleksiak doesn’t reach the podium tonight, she will have one more chance to break a Tokyo record in the women’s 4x100m medley relay. The playoffs are Friday at 7:57 a.m. ET, with the final on Saturday night.
Another swim to watch tonight: Canadians Kylie Masse and Taylor Ruck compete in the women’s 200 backstroke semifinals starting at 10:35 p.m. ET. Masse, who won silver in the 100m backstroke on Monday, was a bronze medalist in the 200m at the 2019 world championships.
One more thing to know about this morning’s playoffs: Summer McIntosh, 14, (the youngest athlete on the Canadian Olympic team) failed to progress in the 800m heats despite setting a personal best . McIntosh only reached the final in one of three individual events in Tokyo – but, again, she’s 14! And she placed fourth in that final, the 400m freestyle, which featured stars Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky. Keep an eye out for summer for the next three years leading up to the Paris Olympics.
Read more about what happened in the different rounds here.
Other Canadian medal chances Thursday evening / Friday morning
With Oleksiak in the women’s 100m freestyle, there are two other interesting possibilities. In chronological order:
Four finals are in play for the final day of competition, and there is a Canadian boat in one of them: the women’s eight in 21 h 05 HE. Canada missed the podium in this event at the 2016 Olympics and the most recent world championships in 2019. But betting markets suggest this crew has a good chance of winning a medal. The Canadians are ranked roughly even with Romania for the No. 3 favorite, with New Zealand and the United States the only two teams clearly ahead of them.
Rosie MacLennan is aiming for her third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the women’s trampoline event, which begins with qualifying at midnight ET, followed by the final round at 1:50 am ET. In Rio, she became the first Canadian to repeat her title as Olympic champion in an individual event at the Summer Games. So a triple round would really be something.
MacLennan won the 2018 world title and took bronze at the 19 world championships in Tokyo despite a broken ankle seven months before the competition. Learn more about her here.
Some other interesting tips
The Canadian women’s soccer team plays its quarterfinal against Brazil at 4 a.m. ET. From now on, every game is a knockout. This is a rematch of the third-place match at the Rio Olympics, where Canada beat the host team 2-1 to win their second straight bronze medal.
To reach three podiums in a row, the eighth-ranked Canadians will have to achieve several surprises. Seventh-ranked Brazil are favorites to beat them, and Canada would be an even bigger underdog in the semi-finals against the winner between the United States and the No.4 Netherlands.
Two all-time greats will face off in the Canada-Brazil game: Christine Sinclair, who scored her record 187th international goal in Canada’s opener against Japan, and Marta, who sits eighth in the league. history with 112 international goals.
Track and field starts tonight. Only one medal-winning event is at stake for the first day, and there is a Canadian in it. Moh Ahmed will compete in the men’s 10,000 meters at 7:30 a.m. ET. His best event is the 5000, in which he won bronze at the last world championships. The best-known Canadian competing on day one is Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, who finished fourth in the women’s 800m at the 2016 Olympics. She runs in the Heat 3 at 9:41 pm ET.
Meanwhile, two-time men’s pole vault world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States and reigning South American champion Germán Chiaraviglio of Argentina are both out of the Olympics after testing positive for COVID- 19. Because Kendricks had trained alongside an Australian athlete, all 63 members of the Australian track team had to self-isolate before they were ultimately cleared with negative tests.
Learn more about Canada’s top prospects for medals in track and field and some international athletes to watch here.
Sunisa Lee brought much needed joy to the US gymnastics team. Things have been pretty tough since superstar Simone Biles pulled out of the women’s team final and indicated we may not see her again in Tokyo due to a mental health issue that left her behind. unable to play anywhere near his usual (exceptionally high) level. But those issues were forgotten for a minute today when 18-year-old Lee won the all-around – with Biles on the sidelines to cheer him on.
Learn more about Lee’s victory and watch the highlights here.
Small countries do big things. San Marino became the smallest nation to win an Olympic medal today when Alessandra Perilli won bronze in the women’s trap shooting event. The small state, located in northern Italy, has around 34,000 inhabitants (about as many as Moose Jaw) and covers just 61 square kilometers. Earlier this week, Bermuda (population: ~ 62,000) became the smallest country to win a gold medal at the Summer Olympics when Flora Duffy won the women’s triathlon. Liechtenstein (pop .: ~ 38,000) won two gold medals in alpine skiing at the Olympic Winter Games.
How to watch live events
They are broadcast on television on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. Or choose exactly what you want to stream live on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports Tokyo 2020 website. Check out the full broadcast schedule here.