- Female athletes from Canada will be the beating heart of the country’s athletics in 2021.
- The most-watched moment of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The most decorated Olympian in history. Eighteen of Canada’s twenty-four medals were won in Tokyo. In 2021, Canadian women were at the center of it all.
Even outside of the Olympics, two of the most memorable moments involved, you guessed it, Canadian women. Here are the performances that wowed us this year, from the soccer team’s golden game to Penny Oleksiak in the pool to hockey redemption and a surprising march to a tennis Grand Slam final.
The Canadian women’s soccer team’s motto ahead of the Tokyo Olympics was “Change the color of the medal.” The mission was completed.
Their journey captivated the entire country. From back-to-back bronze medals in 2012 or 2016 to Olympic champions in Tokyo, 4.4 million Canadians tuned to CBC to watch captain Christine Sinclair and her teammates take on Sweden for gold.
Their run to the championship game was genuinely collaborative. Under the direction of new coach Bev Priestman, who was hired nine months before the Olympics, the team relied on its veterans while embracing a youth movement.
Steph Labbe, the goalkeeper, made two saves in a penalty shootout win over Brazil in the quarterfinals.
The semifinal victory over longtime nemesis and reigning World Cup champions, the United States, came next. They had last defeated the Americans in March of 2001.
And who can forget the contentious semifinal loss in London in 2012? However, all of that heartbreak was erased thanks to a superb penalty from 23-year-old midfielder Jessie Fleming.
The gold-medal game against Sweden went to penalties, and the young players stepped up. Deanne Rose, 22, kept Canada alive in the shootout before 21-year-old Julia Grosso nailed home the winning kick, sparking a frenzied, tearful celebration.
Sure, it was a team effort, but the individual highlights kept coming. Fleming, Sinclair, and Ashley Lawrence were all nominated for the Ballon d’Or, honoring the world’s best player for the calendar year.
Sinclair, Labbe, and Priestman will compete for FIFA’s Best awards in February. Quinn, a midfielder, is the first openly transgender and non-binary athlete to win an Olympic medal. However, they are still a powerful voice for transgender athletes worldwide.
Source: CBC News