There’s no shortage of feel good moments while watching Canadian women take the podium in Rio this year. Women have been setting records, winning medals, and reminding us the true importance behind the Olympic competition.
Out of the eighteen medals won by Canadians, fourteen have been won by women. This is compared to the nine out of eighteen medals won by women in the London 2012 Olympics, or the seven out of nineteen won in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Let’s celebrate these women who have not only achieved success and represented Canada―they’ve been a lesson in strategy, teamwork, and determination.
For the first time in history, Canada brought a group of skilled women to compete in the rugby sevens—and we’re glad they did. The team crushed Great Britain winning 33-10 to secure their bronze medal. Justin Trudeau tweeted about their victorious win, outlining the true meaning of #GirlPower:
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 9, 2016
Our reigning champs Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Fillion competed in the women’s diving, synchronized 10-metre platform, earlier this week. After diving with each other for more than eleven years, they won their second Olympic bronze medal for Canada.
Canada continued its medal streak thanks to the Women’s Team Pursuit in Track Cycling. With a time of four minutes and fourteen seconds, Allison Beveridge, Kirsti Lay, Jasmin Glaesser, and Georgia Simmerling won bronze against Australia. It gets even better when you take a closer look at Georgia Simmerling. She has made history in Canada for being the first athlete to compete in three different sports at three different Olympics. She has raced in Alpine Skiing in Vancouver, moving onto Ski Cross in Sochi, and ended with a bronze in Rio for team cycling.
More records were set by Canada’s Rosie MacLennan. She won her second consecutive gold medal in trampoline. This makes her the first Canadian summer athlete to defend an individual Olympic gold medal.
Finally, in Rio, a young Canadian women has been breaking records—not only for Canada—but for the world as well. Penny Oleksiak is a sixteen year old from Toronto. She grew up swimming in her neighbours pool—and now she’s swimming for Canada in the Rio Olympics. She will take home four medals—a gold, a silver, and two bronze—setting records for Canadian athletes and acting as a role model to young female athletes. She is not only the first Canadian to win gold at the Olympics this year, but also the first millennial. She’s the most decorated Canadian athlete at a single Summer Olympics. To top it off, she’s setting world records. In her 100-metre freestyle race, she set a new world record of 52.70 seconds, tying with US Simone Manuel, and winning gold for Canada.
It’s no question women have been dominating the Olympics this year. They are setting examples and inspiring the next generation of Canadian athletes to push harder and go stronger, but most importantly, to chase their dreams.
More so, there are women at the Olympics who are not only demonstrating the importance of going after your dreams―but the importance of sportsmanship and compassion.
Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand and Abbey D’Agostino from the United States are a perfect example. They competed in the women’s 5,000-metre run on Wednesday, and four laps from the end, Hamblin and D’Agostino collided―both falling onto the Olympic track. This could have been the end for both runners. If they chose, they could have walked off the track without finishing the race; yet after falling, they both got back up. Hamblin helped D’Agostino to her feet and, together, they finished the 5,000-metre.
— Women in Sport (@Womeninsport_uk) August 16, 2016
Every four years, athletes come from all over the globe to compete against the best, aim for gold, and follow their dreams. They train and work hard to proudly represent the country that raised them. But it is important to keep in mind that the Olympics represents countries coming together, athletes coming together, and people working together. Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino remind us that the Olympics are about more than winning gold.