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27 Canadian athletes to watch at Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Toronto Star



The 371 Canadian athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics over the next couple of weeks represent the country’s largest Games contingent in more than three decades.

There will be Olympic veterans and household names, breakout stars on the verge of the limelight, professional athletes and, inevitably, surprise medal-worthy performances by a Canadian you’ve never heard of before.

The Associated Press projects Canada will win 19 medals overall: three gold, seven silver and nine bronze. The team collected 22 medals at Rio 2016, matching the country’s best-ever total at a non-boycotted Games from Atlanta in 1996. The team’s four gold medals that year was Canada’s highest number since notching seven at Barcelona 1992.

Catching every athlete in every event is a big ask, so here are some of the Canadian names to keep an eye on over the next two weeks in Japan.

Felix Auger-Aliassime


Tennis, men’s singles and mixed doubles

This will be a first outing for Auger-Aliassime, who turns 21 next month, since he reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, a career-best result at a Grand Slam. He will team up with Gaby Dabrowski in the mixed doubles.

Meaghan Benfeito

Meaghan Benfeito, left, and Caeli McKay of Canada dive off the 10-metre platform at Friday's FINA World Series in Montreal.


Diving, Women’s 10 metre synchronized platform and 10 metre platform

Benfeito, 32, a four-time Olympian and three-time medallist, won gold with partner Caeli McKay in the women’s 10-metre synchro at the FINA Diving World Cup in May.

Melissa Bishop-Nriagu

Melissa Bishop-Nriagu looks up at her time after competing in the women's 800-metre semifinal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Eganville, Ont.

Athletics, Women’s 800 metres

Bishop-Nriagu, 32, who holds the Canadian record in the women’s 800 metres, posted her fastest time in nearly four years by running 1:58.36 at Sunset Tour in Sacramento, Calif. She finished fourth in the 800 at Rio 2016, matching Canada’s best-ever Olympic result in the event.

Ellie Black

Canada's Ellie Black comeback from an ankle injury has been cut short by the virus that has brought the sports world to a halt.


Women’s gymnastics, Artistic

A lot rides on 25-year-old Black. No Canadian woman has ever won an Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics. Many believe Black can be the first. She previously placed fifth at Rio 2016 for the best Olympic all-around result by a Canadian.

Mandy Bujold

Canada's Mandy Bujold, right, knows down China's Ren Cancan during a women's flyweight 51-kg quarterfinals boxing match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. Canada had a team of 13 boxers travelling next week to the event, which was scheduled for March 26 to April 3.

Kitchener, Ont.

Boxing, women’s flyweight 51 kilograms

Bujold, 33, fought to get into the Olympics, after she was initially ruled ineligible after missing time because of pregnancy. Her next fight is to best her fifth-place finish at Rio 2016.

Maude Charron

Maude Charron lifted a games-record 122 kilograms in the clean and jerk at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Sports Arena on the Gold Coast on April 7, 2018.

Rimouski, Que.

Weightlifting, 63 kilograms

Charron, 28, is one of Canada’s best shots at a gold medal. Most recently, she won gold at the Pan American Championships in April, breaking the continental records for the 64 kg weight class in snatch, clean and jerk and total.

Andre De Grasse

Canada's Andre De Grasse was expected to be a medal threat at the 2021 Athletics World Championships, which has been postponed to 2022 in order to allow athletes to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.


Athletics, Men’s 100 metres, 200 metres, 4×100-metre relay

He struggled with injury in 2017 and 2018 but De Grasse, 26, a three-time medallist, is keen to make history again by winning Olympic medals in all three sprint events — this time all gold.

Evan Dunfee

Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee said there is a misconception that Canada's amateur athletes are making millions of dollars, when in fact there will be many whose only funding will be the $5,000 of summer carding they get for making the Olympic team.

Richmond, B.C.

Athletics, Men’s 50 kilometre race walk

This is a last shot for Dunfee, 30, in this event at the Olympics, no matter where his career goes next. The 50-km race will be dropped from Paris 2024. Dunfee is looking for a podium after finishing fourth at Rio 2016.

Malindi Elmore

Malindi Elmore, from Kelowna, B.C., celebrates winning in the women's 1,500-metre event at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Calgary, Alta., in 2012. Elmore once ran with the weight of nagging injuries and frustratingly tough Olympic standards, at a time track and field was struggling through one of its darkest doping eras. She runs more lightly these days.

Kelowna, B.C.

Athletics, Women’s marathon

Elmore, 41, is back at the Olympics 17 years after making her debut in Athens, Greece in 2004, when she ran the 1,500-metre race. In January, 2020, she shattered the Canadian marathon record, running her second-ever try at the distance in 2:24:50.

Brooke Henderson

Ranked 7th in the world, Brooke Henderson is a favourite to bring home an Olympic medal.

Smith Falls, Ont.

Women’s golf

Henderson, 23, and a 10-time winner of the LPGA Tour who is currently the seventh-ranked golfer in the world, finished in a tie for seventh in the women’s event in Rio 2016. The former world No. 1 holds the record for most professional golf wins by a Canadian.

Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan

Melissa Humana-Paredes, digging out a return at the world championship in early July, and Sarah Pavan were winners in Sunday's beach volleyball World Tour final in Edmonton.

Toronto and Kitchener, Ont.

Women’s beach volleyball

Canada hasn’t won a beach volleyball medal since the sport made its Olympic debut in 1996. Humana-Parades and Pavan rank second worldwide. The duo dropped just two sets over five elimination matches en route to a world championship win and Olympic berth in 2019.

Jessica Klimkait


Judo, women’s 57 kilograms

The 24-year-old booked her spot at her first Olympic Games in style, by winning gold at the world judo championships in June. No Canadian has won Olympic gold in judo.

Ghislaine Landry

Ghislaine Landry scored Canada's sole try during a 17-7 quarterfinal loss against undefeated New Zealand during the Sydney Sevens tournament at Spotless Stadium in Sydney, Australia.


Women’s Rugby 7s

Rugby 7s team captain Landry, now 33, was instrumental in Canada earning bronze in the sport’s Olympic debut at Rio 2106. She is one of the most prolific try-scorers in women’s rugby and led Canada with 41 points in Brazil.

Rosie MacLennan

Canada's Rosie MacLennan, from King City, Ont., smiles following her gold medal winning routine in the final of the trampoline gymnastics competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In St. Petersburg, MacLennan and Sarah Milette teamed up to take home silver in the women's synchronized event at the world trampoline championships.


Women’s gymnastics, Trampoline

MacLennan, 32, is the only Canadian to win a gold medal in two consecutive Games in the same event. In Tokyo, she will go for an unprecedented third gold. MacLennan battled serious injuries in recent years, including a broken ankle in 2019, to go for gold.

Kylie Masse

Canada's Kylie Masse celebrates after setting a orld record in the women's 100-meter backstroke final.

LaSalle, Ont.

Swimming, women’s 100 and 200-metre backstroke

Masse broke her own Canadian record with a time of 57.70 to win the 100-metre backstroke at the Olympic trials in Toronto in June. She is the reigning world champion in the event. The 25-year-old took home bronze at the 200 m event at Rio 2016.

Sean McColl

"It is something I've dreamed about my whole life," says Sean McColl on competing in the Tokyo Olympics.

North Vancouver, B.C.

Sport climbing, men’s combined

McColl is a four-time world champion in the combined event, which is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo. He had won 34 World Cup medals across multiple disciplines as of February 2020, and 12 open national titles dating back to 2007.

Summer McIntosh

Fourteen-year-old Summer McIntosh swims to her second victory at Canada's Olympic swim trials, winning the 800-metre freestyle Monday.


Swimming, women’s 200 and 800 metre freestyle

Expect Canada’s youngest athlete, at 14 years old, to draw some attention to the pool. McIntosh stole the show at Canada’s recent Olympic trials, winning the 200-metre freestyle final and breaking her own national age group record in the 800-metre freestyle.

Tyler Mislawchuk

Tyler Mislawchuk beats Norway's Casper Stornes to the finish line to win Friday's World Triathlon Series Tokyo 2020 Olympic test event.

Oak Bluff, Man.

Men’s Triathlon

The 26-year-old won the World Triathlon Cup in June, the final men’s race of the Olympic qualifying period. The performance follows a breakout season in 2019 when he claimed victory at the same event and became the first Canadian to win an Olympic test event in the 20-year history of triathlon as part of the Olympic program.

Penny Oleksiak

Toronto native Penny Oleksiak became the first Canadian to win four medals in a single Summer Games during the 2016 Rio Olympics. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics one year away, Gracenote sees Canada's women's swim team as integral to the country's chance of winning more medals than it did in Rio.


Swimming, women’s 100 and 200-metre freestyle

The darling of the 2016 Rio Olympics at 16 years old, Oleksiak became the first Canadian athlete to win four medals in a summer games. And in her debut, no less. Oleksiak, now 21, became a household name, and has since admitted the spotlight, and pressure, has affected her. How will she fare in her second games remains to be seen.

Skylar Park

Anastasija Zolotic of the United States, right, competes with Skylar Park of Canada in the women's under 57kg Taekwondo event at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, July 28, 2019. Skylar Park was one of the few Canadian athletes with an Olympic berth locked down when the Tokyo Games were postponed from 2020 to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Taekwondo, women’s 57 kilograms

Park, 22, has already won two gold medals in international competition this year, at the Spanish Open and at the senior Pan Am Championships. In 2019, Park won a bronze medal at the world taekwondo championships, a silver medal at Pan Am Games and three bronze medals on the Grand Prize Tour.

Jacqueline Simoneau

Toronto, Canada - July, 9 2015  -  Canada's Karina Thomas and Jacqueline Simoneau compete as they prepare to break the surface.
Synchronized swimming duets competed in the technical routine at the Pan Am games.  The competition was held at the Pan Am Aquatic Centre and Field House.  Toronto2015.
July 9, 2015

Saint-Laurent, Que.

Artistic Swimming, duet, team

The 25-year-old walked away from the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series Super Final in June with six medals. Gold in solo technical and solo free, as well as duet technical and duet free with partner Claudia Holzner. Bronze in team technical and team free.

Christine Sinclair

Canada's Christine Sinclair, shown against Germany in 2014, passed American Abby Wambach on Wednesday as the leading scorer in women's soccer.

Burnaby, B.C.

Women’s soccer

The all-time goal-scoring record holder in international soccer will compete in her fourth Olympics. Sinclair may be 38 years old but she remains among the team’s most important players. If Canada wants to better the bronzes it earned at London 2012 and Rio 2016, Sinclair needs to be on form.

Laurence Vincent-Lapointe

Laurence Vincent-Lapointe reacts after winning the C1 Women 200m final during the Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg, Germany, on Aug. 31, 2013. The top medal contender for next year's Tokyo Olympics has been provisionally suspended for a doping violation, but Lapointe insists she did "nothing wrong."

Trois-Rivieres, Que.

Canoe, women’s C1 200 metre and C2 500 metre

The 29-year-old, who was provisionally suspended for a failed drug test in 2019 and forced to miss the world championship despite later being cleared, holds the world record in the C1 200 at 44.504 seconds. She and teammate Katie Vincent hold the world record for the C2 500 — at one minute, 51.428 seconds.

Damian Warner

Canada's Damian Warner listens to his coach in a break in the Decathlon shot put during Men's high jump qualifying during the World Athletics Championships Friday, Aug. 11, 2017.(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

London, Ont.

Athletics, men’s decathlon

Warner, 31, is the world’s top-ranked men’s decathlete. He previously won a bronze medal at Rio 2016. As recently as May, he shattered his Canadian record in the decathlon with 8,995 points, breaking his old mark of 8,795.

Erica Wiebe

Erica Wiebe from Stittsville, Ont., won her semifinal bout at 76 kilograms at the Pan-American Olympic qualifying event in Ottawa.

Stittsville, Ont.

Wrestling, women’s 68 kilograms

After a golden Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games, Wiebe is looking to follow in the footsteps of Canadian teammate MacLennan and win the same colour medal in the same event five years on.

Michael Woods

Canada's Michael Woods crosses the finish line to win the third stage of the 55th edition of the Tirreno Adriatico cycling race, from Follonica to Saturnia, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020.


Cycling, men’s road race

Woods’s most recent success came at the Tour de France this month, when he survived a crash to claim the polka-dot jersey as leader of the King of the Mountains classification, becoming only the second Canadian to wear the jersey. He left the Tour with three days left to recover in time for the Olympics.


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Belarus Olympian describes Tokyo ordeal after arriving in Poland – Al Jazeera English



Belarusian Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has said she showed the police in Tokyo a translated plea for help on her phone as she sought to avoid being forced on a plane back home amid fears for her safety.

The 24-year-old sprinter refused to board a flight headed for Minsk via Istanbul on Sunday after being hustled to the Japanese capital’s Haneda airport against her wishes because she had publicly criticised her Olympic team’s management.

After seeking protection from the Japanese police, she flew to Poland instead of Belarus on Wednesday.

Poland, which has long been critical of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and harboured many activists from Belarus, has granted Tsimanouskaya and her husband humanitarian visas.

Describing her ordeal publicly for the first time, the athlete told Reuters news agency on Thursday that her family feared she would be sent to a psychiatric ward if she went back to Belarus, and that her grandmother had called her to tell her not to return.

“Grandmother called me when they were already driving me to the airport,” Tsimanouskaya said. “I had some 10 seconds. She called me, all that she told me was, ‘Please do not come back to Belarus, it’s not safe.’”

‘I am not afraid’

Sunday’s standoff began after Tsimanouskaya publicly complained that she had been registered by her coaches to participate in a race she had never competed in: the 4×400 metres relay.

She said she was then barred from competing in the 200 metres scheduled to take place on Monday and withdrawn from the Tokyo Games altogether by her team’s officials.

Tsimanouskaya said she had told her coach on Sunday that she was ready to run in the 200 metres, but he then went to make a call.

“And in [a] couple of hours the head coach came to me with the team representative and they said there was a decision made to send me home, we are not the ones who made the decision, we are only executing it. You have 40 minutes. You have to pack your things and go to the airport,” she added.

The decision, she added, came from “high up”.

The Belarus National Olympic Committee had said coaches withdrew Tsimanouskaya from the games on doctors’ advice about her emotional and psychological state.

At the airport in Tokyo, the coaches were taken by surprise, the athlete said.

“They did not expect that in the airport I can approach the police. They think that we are scared to make a move, that we are afraid to speak, afraid to tell the truth to the whole world. But I am not afraid,” Tsimanouskaya said.

The International Olympic Committee has started an investigation into Tsimanouskaya’s case and said it was set to hear from the two Belarusian officials allegedly involved.


Before going to Tokyo, Tsimanouskaya was not among the few Belarusian Olympians who publicly voiced support for the opposition to Lukashenko, who is under Western sanctions after a crackdown on opponents since last year.

Opposition figures have been prosecuted, jailed or fled since mass protests against his rule erupted following an August 2020 election that handed Lukashenko a sixth presidential term, but observers and Belarus’s political opposition denounced it as rigged.

“I have always been far from politics, I didn’t sign any letters or go to any protests, I didn’t say anything against the Belarusian government,” Tsimanouskaya said.

“It may sound cruel because of all the terrible things that happened in Belarus last summer but I was trying to keep away from it … all I have wanted is to go to the Olympics and do my best,” she said.

Sports play a high-profile role in Belarusian politics under Lukashenko, who headed the Belarus Olympic Committee until he was replaced by his son this year.

Tsimanouskaya said she hoped to be able to continue her sporting career in the future and eventually return to Belarus.

“I love my country. I did not betray it,” she said.

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Canada's Damian Warner extends decathlon lead with another Olympic best –



Canada’s Damian Warner picked up right where he left off in the decathlon. Now, he’s two events away from a gold medal.

The London, Ont., native recorded an Olympic best — his third through eight events in Tokyo — with a time of 13.46 seconds in the 110-metre hurdles on Thursday in Japan. He then posted the third-farthest discus throw in the field at 48.67 metres and cleared a personal-best 4.90 metres in pole vault to maintain his spot atop the decathlon standings.

Warner now sits at 7,490 points, comfortably ahead of 21-year-old Australian Ashley Moloney in second (7,269).

“You go through the whole battle of the decathlon and when you finally finish and you get the result you’re looking for, there’s no greater feeling. If I finish this off, this is a dream come true,” Warner said.

The Canadian said he was particularly pleased with his pole vault, giving credit to his coaches for helping him improve one of his weaker events.

“They’ve been persistent and stuck with me, and I think there’s a lot more bars in my future, but I’m really happy with how today went and it’s time to finish this thing off,” Warner said.

Bring on the cheers

Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

More from Tokyo 2020

WATCH | Warner clears personal-best 4.90 metres in pole vault:

London, Ont., native Damian Warner stays in first place after 8 events in the decathlon with a personal best 4.90m in pole vault. Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., holds on to third place with a vault of 5.00m. 4:32

Fellow Canadian Pierce LePage, a 25-year-old making his Olympic debut, was fifth in Warner’s hurdles heat, seventh overall in discus and eighth in pole vault, but still managed to hold on to his third-place standing entering the day.

LePage’s 7,175 points put him just ahead of decathlon world-record holder and reigning silver medallist Kevin Mayer of France, who is sitting fourth at 7,129.

“If you’re doing not bad in most of your decathlon then you know something good is going to happen at the end,” LePage, of Whitby, Ont., said.

WATCH | Warner wins 110m hurdles:

Damian Warner of London, Ont., won the 110m hurdles portion of the decathlon by running to an Olympic best time of 13.46 seconds. After six events Warner sits in first place, with fellow Canadian Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., in third place. 5:39

In hurdles, Warner sped to the front of the pack quickly and never relinquished his lead, despite knocking a gate over in the process. He waved and said hi to partner Jen Cotten, their son Theo and his mom after he crossed the finish line.

Despite the Olympic best, Warner himself has done better, setting the world-best of 13.36 seconds at the Hypo-Meeting in Austria in May. That time helped the Canadian set a national record of 8,995 points overall — the fourth best in history.

LePage, of Whitby, Ont., posted a time of 14.39 seconds in the hurdles. His personal best is 14.05. He threw 47.14 metres in discus, also well off his personal best of 50.28.

Warner also fell short of both his career best (50.26) and season best (48.74) in discus, with his first throw standing as his top result.

Pole vault has previously caused Warner problems, like at the 2019 Commonwealth Games when he failed to record a height. But the 31-year-old persevered after missing his first two attempts at 4.90 metres to clear his third. Moloney, who cleared five metres, only gained 30 points on the Canadian in the event.

LePage, who said the heat in Tokyo was more excruciating for the pole vault because of the length of the event, also cleared five metres.

“Want to do better in all three [events] but they weren’t too off where I wanted to be. That pole vault was something I’ve never experienced before — really hot out there. But nothing you can do besides look forward to the next two events and make up those points,” he said.

Javelin,1,500m still to come

The decathlon wraps up with javelin and the 1,500-metre beginning Thursday at 6:15 a.m. ET.

Thursday’s results extended Warner’s lead in the competition where the top-ranked decathlete is eyeing his first Olympic gold medal. Warner earned bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.

Warner is coming off an extraordinary winter that saw him train in an empty, unheated hockey arena that his coaches converted to a multi-events facility after COVID-19 shut down the University of Western Ontario fieldhouse. He and his coaches built a long jump pit, brought in a pole jump pit, built a throwing circle and laid down a 40-metre section of track.

On Wednesday in Tokyo, Warner tied his decathlon world-best in the 100-metre, then put down a long jump of 8.24 metres, 0.04 off his world best and an Olympic record in the sport.

WATCH | Warner ties 100m world best:

Damian Warner of London, Ont., matched his world decathlon best time of 10.12 seconds in the 100-metre portion of the Olympic men’s decathlon. Fellow Canadian Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., finished third overall with a time of 10.43. 4:43

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Canada's Vincent-Lapointe wins silver in C-1 200m – Yahoo Canada Sports



TOKYO — Laurence Vincent-Lapointe’s long, winding road to the Tokyo Olympics has led her to the podium. 

The Canadian canoeist won silver in the final of the women’s C-1 200-metre race at a sweltering Sea Forest Waterway on Wednesday. 

The 29-year-old paddler from Trois-Rivières, Que., finished the sprint in a time of 46.786 seconds. 

“I pushed until the end,” Vincent-Lapointe said. “No matter how many people I thought were catching up to me, I was just like, ‘No, no, no. You cannot drop, you cannot let go. Just push until the end.’

“It’s just crazy. I have 13 world championships, but this silver at the Games is so different.”

Nevin Harrison (45.932) of the United States took the gold, while Ukraine’s Liudmyla Luzan (47.034) claimed bronze in temperatures that felt like a staggering 44 C with the humidity on a windy Tokyo Bay. 

Katie Vincent of Mississauga, Ont., finished 8th with a time of 47.834 seconds. 

“We push each other a lot, especially on the water,” said 25-year-old. “That teamwork goes a long way on a day like today. I’m disappointed I can’t be on the podium.

“But to see a Canadian flag rise today is a huge plus and something I think all Canadians in the paddling community will remember.” 

A dominant canoeing force for more than a decade, Vincent-Lapointe had to wait for the sport’s international federation and the International Olympic Committee to make room for women to race at the Olympics. 

That finally happened in Japan. 

She had won a combined six world titles in C-1 and C-2 500 metres by the time women’s canoe was added to the Olympics in 2017 ahead of the Tokyo Games, and went on to win five more by the end of 2018. 

But then her life and career descended into controversy. 

Vincent-Lapointe had an “adverse analytical finding” in July 2019 during an out-of-competition drug test. She was suspended and missed the 2019 world championship, but battled for reinstatement. 

The International Canoe Federation cleared her to compete in January 2020, accepting that Vincent-Lapointe was the victim of third-party contamination of a banned substance. 

The ICU believed her assertion that a trace amount of ligandrol was transferred to her via her ex-boyfriend’s body fluids. 

“I had the feeling I would make (the Olympics),” Vincent-Lapointe said. “In my head … I was like probably, ‘Fake it ’til you make it.’ In my head I was trying to convince myself, ‘You’re going to be at the Games, you’re going to be at the Games.’

“Even the darkest moments I just clung to it, to that feeling. It was so relieving when I finally got my spot in. It was just like, ‘All right, I had the right to believe in myself that I would make it to the Games.’ But once I came here I was like, ‘All right, you made it to the Games, now do your best.'” 

And while COVID-19 was a devastating gut-punch to sports and society around the world, it gave Vincent-Lapointe an opportunity to get back in the groove. 

Missing the 2019 worlds, however, meant she still had to qualify for Tokyo, and the global pandemic didn’t allow her to travel to North American qualifying events. 

Vincent-Lapointe also lost to Vincent in the women’s C-1 200 metres at March’s national trials in Burnaby, B.C. 

Canoe Kayak Canada declined to send paddlers to international World Cups this spring because of the pandemic, but ultimately awarded Vincent-Lapointe an Olympic quota spot following a performance review. 

Next up for Vincent-Lapointe and Vincent is the women’s C-2, where they are medal contenders, on Friday and Saturday. 

In other races involving Canadians on Thursday, kayakers Brian Malfesi of Maple Ridge, B.C., and Vincent Jourdenais Ste-Basile-le-Grand, Que., were sixth in the ‘B’ final of the men’s K-2 1,000 metres, while Toronto’s Nicholas Matveev was sixth in the ‘B’ final of the men’s K-1 200 metres. 

But the day — clearly — belonged to Vincent-Lapointe.

“Going through all I had to go through the last two years, if you’d ask me if I’d do it again, even knowing a silver medal comes at the end of this, I’m not sure I would say yes,” she said in French. “It was extremely difficult. 

“Everybody told me this week that with all I went through, I must be mentally the strongest here.”

Now she has a silver medal to prove it.

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