Canada’s Olympic medals after week one

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Canadian women continue to lead when it comes to Olympic gold

by victoria baht, contributor

A week into the games and we have already seen Canada take home 11 medals. This includes three gold, three silver, and five bronze medals. Canada has three athletes or groups of athletes that have taken home gold medals. Here is what you need to know about the three Canadian Olympic gold medal winners at the one-week mark.

The first up is Margaret Mac Neil. She won the gold medal doing a swim called the “Butterfly.” The Butterfly stroke movement is one of the hardest swimming movements. It involves a stroke that is face down where both arms pull the swimmer forward at the same time moving in a circular motion as the swimmer’s legs move in an up and down position. 

Mac Neil is only 21 years old and was born in Jiujiang, China. She moved to Canada and grew up in London, Ontario. She started her love for the sport at the age of two and she began in a club at the age of eight. Years of training and keeping active have led her to the Olympics, at which she not only won a gold medal, but she touched the wall in 55.59 seconds, meaning that she also set a record. Mac Neil did not stop there; on day two she took home her second medal. That’s right, she has also won a medal in swimming the “Freestyle Relay.”

This race takes place with four competitors that involve the swimmers reaching the same equal distance. The swimmers dive off a board, race to one side of the pool, do a dolphin dive, then a summersault in the water and kick off the wall, and swim in the opposite direction. As they reach the wall the next swimmer dives over top of them to keep the clock running. These races can be as short as 50 or as long as 1500 metres.

This race involved Mac Neil teaming up with Penny Oleksiak, Rebecca Smith, Kayla Sanchez and Taylor Ruck (an alternate who swam in the qualifying heat only) to take home the Silver Medal.  The relay looked like it was a challenge through the TV screen while watching the games. Looking at the Freestyle race you had the Australia team leading with 1.72 M/S then you had Canada and the United States fighting back-to-back. For a while the teams were going hard and matching each other at 1.70 m/s, but the team pulled through in the last strokes of the race and got Canada to placing second for the relay race.

The second gold medal Canada has won came from Maude Charron in weightlifting. This is a sport that requires a body that is both strong and a good size for skeletal muscles. This is where the competitor must use their own muscles to lift the bar and force it over their own body. What I mean by this is that it involved six complete movements. First is a power clean, front squat, squat clean, push jerk, power snatch, and squat snatch, but safety and protection always come first.

Charron is 28 years old and is from Rimouski, Quebec. She started out the challenge for herself when she was at the age of seven. She then started personally doing CrossFit. When she was doing CrossFit herself and other coaches saw her and knew she was one to keep around and to move on. This encouraged all of them to enter her first weightlifting competition two years later which led to nationals five months later. Charron ended up taking home the second gold medal for Canada before being put in the 64kg category. She ended up lifting 131kg on the third but complete and best attempt to take home the gold medal.

The last gold medal a Canadian Team has won during week one so far is for rowing on day seven of the Olympics. Rowing is a sport that involves multiple team members working together to get to a destination. It may be confusing but in the sport of rowing the participants have a paddle with only one oar compared to two oars. When one individual is rowing, they are using muscles in their upper and lower back with the shoulder muscles as well. It engages the muscles with a stroke under water, then as the oar comes above water you shift your body weight forward as you stroke back using your arms and you’re back pushing back as much water as possible to create a great distance with the oar and the process continues.

Rowing involves a full team, and on the Canadian team we have Lisa Roman, Kasia Gruchalla-Wasierski, Christine Roper, Andrea Proske, Susanne Grainger, Madison Mailey, Sydney Payne, Avalon Wasteneys and Kristin Kit. The team had to gain a lead which they did about halfway through the race, which led to a gap between them and the Aussies. The Canadian team kept pushing through the race harder and harder which led them to the challenge of winning a gold medal for Canada, beating the second team of New Zealand by 0.91 seconds.

The 2020 Olympic games are only a bit past a week in progress and the Canadian teams are going strong for their country. In total Canadian teams so far have taken home eleven Olympic medals and each of these medals have been won by women’s teams or women individually. This includes:

-Gold Medals in Rowing, Weightlifting, 100-Metre Butterfly.

-Silver Medals in 100 Metre Backstroke, Synchronized Diving, 400-Metre Freestyle Relay.

-Bronze Medals in 200-Metre Freestyle, Women’s Rowing, Judo, Softball.

The Canadian teams, both men and women, are working hard for themselves and this country to be proud in the 2020 Olympics. Let’s all keep watching and keep an eye on what these athletes end up with over the full 17 days of the Olympics.

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