Canada won its fifth swimming medal on Day 8, with Kylie Masse winning silver in the women’s 200 backstroke to add to her silver in the 100 backstroke earlier this week. That’s 12 total medals for the Canadian team in Tokyo – three gold, four silver, five bronze. All by women. Check out the full medal rankings and a detailed breakdown of Canada’s gear here. A tantalizing day is coming as the final night of swimming competition leads to athletics’ flagship event: the men’s 100 meters. Canada’s two biggest summer Olympic stars, Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse, can add to their already impressive medal collection.
Our daily Olympic viewing guide will focus on them. Plus, strong Canadian medal chances in diving and gymnastics, a key game in women’s basketball and crunch time in beach volleyball and men’s golf. Here’s what to watch on this super Saturday night / Sunday morning:
De Grasse has the chance to become the fastest man in the world
The title is really up for grabs at the Olympics for the first time since Usain Bolt blew the field away (and blew us away) with his world record of 9.69 in 2008 in Beijing. The GOAT added two more gold medals in the 100m before retiring in 2017. Christian Coleman went on to become the overwhelming favorite to win the first Olympic gold in the post-Bolt era when he won the world title in 2019, but the young American was suspended for Tokyo by missing several doping tests.
Since then, track fans have debated who could fill the void in Tokyo. 2016 Olympic silver medalist Justin Gatlin seemed like a natural fit. He beat Bolt in his farewell race at the 2017 world championships, then won silver behind Coleman in 2019. But the 39-year-old eventually ran out of gas at the US Olympic trials, puncturing a tire in the final and not having qualified.
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More from Tokyo 2020
As Tokyo approached, public opinion rallied around American Trayvon Bromell, 26, as a consensus favorite. He clocked the two best times of the year in June – a 9.77 and a 9.80 which earned him the US Trials final. Bromell also won the last Diamond League 100m race before the Olympics on July 13 in England. De Grasse finished fourth there but clearly had something left for a 4 × 100 relay race an hour later.
The Canadian also finished fourth in an Olympic-caliber 100m field at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco four days earlier. The top five favorite bets for Tokyo (at the time) were all lined up, and American Ronnie Baker won in 9.91. South African Akani Simbine placed second in 9.98 and Italian Marcell Jacobs completed the podium in 9.99. De Grasse ran a 10 flat, while Bromell stumbled early and finished a place behind him in 10.01. De Grasse arrived in Tokyo this week after running under 10 seconds with a legal wind just once this year – and that was in April.
But here’s something we need to remember about De Grasse: he keeps the best for the bigger stages. In his career, the 26-year-old started five individual events at the Olympics or world championships. He’s been on the podium in all of them: bronze in the 100m at the 2016 Olympics and the 2015 and 2019 world championships, silver in the 200m at the 2016 Olympics and 2019 world championships. Big Race ‘Dre, indeed.
Now it looks like De Grasse has hit his prime again at the right time. He placed first overall in the preliminaries on Saturday with a personal best of the season of 9.91. Bromell, meanwhile, didn’t look like an Olympic favorite. The top three in each set advance automatically and he finished fourth in his – qualifying for the semi-finals as one of three wild cards. Suddenly, this event promises to be even more open than we thought.
The semi-finals begin Sunday at 6:15 a.m. ET, with De Grasse taking part in the first of three rounds. The first two of each lead, plus the next two fastest runners. Assuming all goes well, De Grasse will look to become the first Canadian since Donovan Bailey in 1996 to win Olympic 100m gold in Sunday’s final at 8:50 am ET. Watch it live on the CBC TV Network or stream it live on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and the CBC Sports Tokyo 2020 website. Read Bailey’s clashes against De Grasse, Bromell and the rest of the contenders in the Men’s 100m here. Watch a video from CBC Sports Explains about the history (and possible future) of the race here.
Another Canadian competes in a track and field final on Day 9: Django Lovett in the men’s high jump, which starts at 6:10 a.m. ET. He is not expected to win a medal.
The best event of this morning’s final was the women’s 100 meters. Elaine Thompson-Herah reiterated her championship title and led a Jamaican sweep of the podium with an Olympic record of 10.61. 2008 and 2012 gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won silver at 34, while Shericka Jackson took bronze. Learn more about the race and watch it here.
This is Oleksiak’s last chance to break the Canadian Olympic medal record (so far)
The 21-year-old star is heading into the final night of swimming competition with two medals in Tokyo and six in his career. It’s tied with speed skater Cindy Klassen and speed skater / cyclist Clara Hughes for the highest number ever recorded by a Canadian Olympian.
Oleksiak has an excellent chance of securing the record on her own in the women’s 4 × 100 medley final tonight at 22 h 15 HE. In this race, each swimmer performs a different stroke. And it turns out that Canada has an Olympic medalist in almost all of them. There’s 100m butterfly champion Maggie Mac Neil, 100m and 200m backstroke silver medalist Kylie Masse and, of course, Penny. She won gold in the 100 freestyle in 2016, won bronze in the 200 freestyle a few days ago and also swam a searing anchor leg in the 4 × 100 freestyle relay to win silver for Canada at the end. last week. The other member of the team is not left out either. Sydney Pickrem won bronze in the 200 breaststroke at the 2019 world championships. This team took bronze in the 4 × 100 medley at that competition.
Canada also qualified for the men’s 4 × 100 medley final at 10:36 p.m. ET – the very last swim race of the Games. But the team would need a miracle to win a medal.
Watch the last five swimming medal races starting at 9:30 p.m. ET on the CBC TV network, or stream them live on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and the CBC Sports Tokyo 2020 website.
Other Canadian medal chances Saturday evening / Sunday morning
There are two strong ones. In chronological order:
Jennifer Abel threatens the podium in the women’s 3m springboard final at 2 am ET. The 29-year-old placed fourth in that event at the Rio 2016 Olympics. She also finished fourth at the most recent world championships in 2019 and won bronze at the world championships in 2017 and 2011.
Abel has never won an individual medal at the Olympics, but she won silver in the 3m synchronized with Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu last week and bronze in that event in 2012 with her former partner Émilie Heymans.
Simone Biles announced yesterday that she will not defend her Olympic title in vaulting or compete in the uneven bars final on Sunday. The American superstar still struggles with a mental block known in gymnastics as “the twisties” – a loss of focus when performing movements in the air. This is the sporty version of “the yips”, which you might recognize in golf or the new season of Ted Lasso – except much more dangerous. Yips can cause you to miss a putt or penalty, but twisties can lead to catastrophic injury. They forced Biles to withdraw from the team final and refuse to defend his all-around individual title earlier this week. She still hopes to compete in the floor exercise and balance beam finals on Monday and Tuesday.
The absence of Biles in the final of the jump, which goes to 4:52 am ET, gives Canadian Shallon Olsen a better chance of getting on the podium. She won silver in this event at the 2018 world championships and finished fourth in 2019.
Some other cool things you should know
The Canadian women’s basketball team can make it easier. After losing their opener to Serbia and rebounding with a win over South Korea, the fourth-ranked Canadians play their final group stage game at 9 p.m. ET against Spain (2-0) . Barring a resounding loss and an unfavorable result in one of the other groups, Canada will likely advance to the quarter-finals. But winning their group would be important because it means avoiding the unbeatable American team until at least until the semi-finals. Learn more about the storylines and a full rundown of tonight’s game against Spain here.
It’s beach volleyball time. The group stage is over. Everything is single elimination from now on. The women’s and men’s round of 16 kicks off tonight, and Canada have two women’s teams alive. Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson, who are ranked 16th in the world, will play at 8 p.m. ET against 3rd-ranked Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil. Canada’s top duo, reigning world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, will play tomorrow night. They managed their three group stage games without losing a single set.
A dramatic final round is shaping up in men’s golf. With 18 holes to go, world number 5 Xander Sc Chaudele of the United States holds a one-stroke lead over Hideki Matsuyama. They were the last duo at this year’s Masters, where Matsuyama became the first Japanese player to win a men’s golf major, and ScHotele left a chance to win his first major title as he tied for third. They will play together again in the last group, with the Briton Paul Casey, who is two blows from Scuffele. Matsuyama is already a national hero for winning the Green Jacket, and a home gold medal would take him to another level in Japanese sporting tradition. Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who represents Ireland here, is also in the race – tied for fifth and just three strokes off the lead. Canadians Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes are tied for 17th – seven heads-up and five behind the current bronze medal. The final round begins at 6:30 p.m. ET. Hughes starts at 8:47 p.m. ET, Conners at 9:03 p.m. ET and the final group at 10:09 p.m. ET.
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.