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Canadian athletes to watch at the Tokyo Olympics –



This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

The Olympics are just days away — here are some Canadians to watch

Canada is sending 371 athletes to Tokyo — the country’s largest Olympic team since the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. They range in age from 14 (swimmer Summer McIntosh) to 56 (equestrian rider Mario Deslauriers) and they’ll compete in almost three dozen sports. With a group this large and diverse, you can bet that someone we haven’t noticed yet will do something extraordinary in Tokyo. That’s one of the great things about the Olympics. But, for now, here are some of the athletes we’re expecting big things from once competition begins next week:

Christine Sinclair: The 38-year-old forward has scored more times than anyone in the history of international soccer. She has two more goals than American great Abby Wambach, 77 more than Cristiano Ronaldo and 109 more than Pele. In what could be her final Olympics, Sinclair will try to lead the Canadian women’s team to the podium for the third consecutive time.

Andre De Grasse: After going toe-to-toe with Usain Bolt in Rio and coming away with three medals, the 26-year-old sprinter has a chance to pull off the 100m/200m/4x100m podium triple again. De Grasse’s times have been so-so this year, particularly in the 100. But that event is wide open now with Bolt retired and reigning world champ Christian Coleman suspended. Plus, De Grasse has always delivered in big races: he’s reached the podium in all five individual events he’s entered at the Olympics or world championships. Read more about De Grasse in this profile by CBC Sports contributor Vivek Jacob.

The swimmers: So many Canadian women are contenders for an individual medal that it would be unfair to name only one. At the top of the list is Kylie Masse, who built on her bronze in the 100m backstroke in Rio by winning the world title in both 2017 and ’19. She added a bronze in the 200 back at the ’19 worlds. Canada has another reigning world champ in Maggie Mac Neil (100m butterfly), and Sydney Pickrem took bronze in both the 200 breaststroke and 200 medley in Rio. Penny Oleksiak hasn’t reached the podium in an individual event at a major international meet since her stunning gold- and silver-medal swims as a 16-year-old in Rio, but she looked rejuvenated at last month’s Canadian trials. Oleksiak swam her best time in the 100 freestyle since setting the Olympic record and tying American Simone Manuel for gold in Rio. Then there’s Summer McIntosh, the 14-year-old sensation who stole the show at the trials by beating Oleksiak in the 200 free and also winning the 800. On the opposite end of the age curve is Brent Hayden. The 2007 world champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist in the men’s 100m freestyle came out of a seven-year retirement to win the 50 free at the trials. At 37, he’s about to become the oldest Canadian ever to swim in the Olympics. Read more about this exciting wave of Canadian swimmers in this story by CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux.

Damian Warner: The 31-year-old decathlete has been a podium fixture for the better part of a decade, winning medals at the 2016 Olympics and the 2013, ’15 and ’19 world championships. He’s also won gold at the Pan Am Games (twice) and the Commonwealth Games. This could be the year Warner finally reaches the top step at one of the truly big meets. In May, he broke his own three-year-old Canadian record by scoring 8,995 points. Only three decathletes have ever scored higher, and they’re all Olympic and/or world champions.

Rosie MacLennan: In Rio, the trampolinist became the first Canadian ever to repeat as Olympic champion in an individual summer event. MacLennan went on to win the 2018 world title and took bronze at the ’19 worlds in Tokyo despite suffering a broken ankle seven months before the competition. Read about the 32-year-old’s quest for an Olympic three-peat in this story by CBC Sports’ Jamie Strashin.

Laurence Vincent Lapointe: Women’s canoe is finally in the Olympics, and Vincent Lapointe has dominated the two events that will be held in Tokyo. She owns seven world titles in the 200m singles and four in the 500m doubles. It looked like Vincent Lapointe might not make it to Tokyo after she tested positive for a banned muscle-builder in the summer of 2019, but her provisional suspension was overturned after she successfully argued she didn’t knowingly take the drug. Vincent Lapointe was almost left out of the Olympics anyway because her ban prevented her from qualifying before the pandemic hit, but the Canadian team found a way around that last week by reallocating one of its kayak spots to her. Vincent Lapointe and Katie Vincent will compete as a doubles pair and in the solo event in Tokyo. Read more about Vincent Lapointe’s winding road to the Olympics here.

Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes: Beach volleyball is always a hit at the Olympics, and Canada has one of the best women’s duos on the planet. The 6-foot-5 Pavan and the 5-9 Humana Paredes won the world title in 2019 and head to Tokyo ranked No. 1 in the world.

Meaghan Benfeito: The 32-year-old diver already owns three Olympic bronze medals — one in the 10-metre individual event, two in the 10m synchro with former partner Roseline Filion, who’s now retired. In Tokyo, Benfeito will again compete in both the solo event and the synchro, this time with 22-year-old Caeli McKay.

Ellie Black: Only one Canadian has ever won an Olympic medal in traditional gymnastics (Kyle Shewfelt took gold in the men’s floor event in 2004) and no Canadian woman has ever reached the podium. But Black, 25, has a shot after taking silver in the all-around event at the 2017 world championships in Montreal and finishing fourth at the ’19 worlds. In Tokyo, she’ll be up against the great Simone Biles, who’s looking to repeat as all-around champ. Read more about Black and her “aggressive” style, as Shewfelt describes it, in this story by The Canadian Press’ Donna Spencer.

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Tokyo Games Day 5 Review: Penny Oleksiak makes Canadian Olympic history – Yahoo Canada Sports



The majority of action during the Tokyo Olympics happens as most Canadians are fast asleep. While you were cozy in your bed, however, members of Team Canada were making their push for the podium.

Here’s what you missed from Day 5 of the Summer Games:

Women’s 200m Freestyle Swimming: Penny Oleksiak makes Canadian Summer Games history

It was a night to remember for Canadians that tuned in to see Oleksiak compete in the women’s 200-metre freestyle final on Day 5 of the Games, as the swimmer claimed bronze in the event. The medal marks her second of the 2020 Games, and her sixth-ever at the Olympics, making her the most decorated Canadian summer Olympian ever.

The swimmer from Toronto, Ontario, completed the women’s 200m freestyle with a time of 1:54.70. Placing second was Hong Kong’s Siobhan Bernadette Haughey, who earned a time of 1:53.92. Claiming gold was Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, whose time of 1:53.50 set a new Olympic record.

Pulling from both the Summer and Winter Games, Oleksiak is tied with Clara Hughes and Cindy Klassen for the most Olympic medals by a Canadian. With multiple events still remaining for Oleksiak, she could very well leave Tokyo as the all-time leader.

Canada's swimming phenom Penny Oleksiak had herself an Olympic history-making moment Wednesday in Tokyo. (Getty)

Canada’s swimming phenom Penny Oleksiak had herself an Olympic history-making moment Wednesday in Tokyo. (Getty)

Men’s Volleyball: Canada earns first win of tournament

The Canadian men earned a straight-sets victory over Iran to pick up their first win at the Olympics. The team now sits in fourth place in Group A and will play against Venezuela on Day 7 of the Games.

Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls Rowing: Canadians Patrick Keane and Maxwell Lattimer qualify for Final B

Competing in Semifinal 1, Keane and Lattimer finished fifth amongst six competitors and will now compete in Final B.

Women’s Singles Badminton: Michelle Li wins, claims top spot in Group F

Michelle Li picked up a straight-sets victory over Slovakia’s Martina Repiska and first place in Group F. She will now face Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the Round of 16. She has yet to lose a set in the tournament.

Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls Rowing: Jill Moffatt and Jennifer Casson qualify for Final B

Moffatt and Casson placed sixth amongst the six competitors in Semifinal 2, which means they’ll compete in Final B.

Men’s Pair Rowing: Kai Langerfeld and Conlin McCabe advance to Final A

Racing in Semifinal 2, Langerfeld and McCabe impressively earned third amongst the six competitors. The two will now have a chance at gold in Final A.

Women’s Middleweight Boxing: Tammara Thibeault reaches quarterfinal

Thibeault defeated Kazhakstan’s Nadezhda Ryabets in the Last 16, advancing to the quarterfinal. She will now face Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands for a chance at qualifying for the semis.

Women’s Pair Rowing: Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens earn lane in Final A

Filmer and Janssens finished nearly eight-tenths of a second behind Greece’s Maria Kyridou and Christina Bourmpou, and less than one-tenth of a second behind Great Britain’s Helen Glover and Polly Swann to finish third in Semifinal 1. The result was good enough to advance through to Final A where they will have a chance at a gold medal.

Women’s Eight Rowing: Canada will compete for gold

Canada nabbed second in the Repechage Round, finishing a little more than seven-tenths of a second behind Romania’s time of 5:52.99. The result earned the team a chance to compete for gold.

Women’s Water Polo: Canada wins in rout of South Africa

After dropping its first two contests to Australia and Spain, Canada defeated South Africa by a score of 21-1 to earn its first win of the Olympics. Canada now sits in third place in Group A.

Women’s 100m Freestyle Swimming: Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez advance

Racing in the preliminary heats for women’s 100m freestyle, Oleksiak and Sanchez both qualified for the semifinal. Oleksiak finished sixth with a time of 52.95 while Sanchez finished 10th with a time of 53.12.

Men’s 200m Backstroke Swimming: Markus Thormeyer claims lane in semifinal

Swimming to a time of 1:57.85, Thormeyer finished 16th in the preliminary heats, earning him the final spot for the semis.

Women’s 200m Breaststroke Swimming: Kelsey Wog will swim in semifinal

Wog finished 16th in the preliminary heats for the women’s 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:24.27. She will compete in the semis.

Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Swimming: Canada earns spot in semifinal

The team of Katerine Savard, Rebecca Smith, Mary-Sophie Harvey, and Sydney Pickrem swam to a time of 7:51.52, which earned them the fourth spot in the preliminary heats and a lane in the semis.

Way Beyond Gold: German judoka Martyna Trajdos defends coach slapping her face

This is the weirdest pre-game ritual I’ve ever seen.

Prior to competing in a match at the Olympics, Martyna Trajdos of Germany asked her coach, Claudiu Pusa, to shake her by the shoulders and slap her face to get her fired up.

“Look’s like this was not hard enough,” Trajdos’ Instagram post reads. “I wish I could have made a different headline today. As I already said that’s the ritual which I chose pre competition! My coach is just doing what I want him to do to fire me up!”

Despite her wish to be slapped in the face, the International Judo Federation sent an “Official Warning and Ultimatum” to Pusa.

How many medals has Canada won in the Summer Olympics

Canada is now up to nine medals in Tokyo heading into Day 6.

Gold: Margaret Mac Neil (women’s 100m butterfly), Maude Charron (weightlifting, women’s 64kg)

Silver: Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay, Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu (women’s 3m synchronized springboard), Kylie Masse (women’s 100m backstroke)

Bronze: Jessica Klimkait (judo, women’s under-57 kg), Softball, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (judo, women’s 63kg), Penny Oleksiak (women’s 200m freestyle)

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Montreal Canadiens owner supports Logan Mailloux pick, also apologizes for not assessing impact – ESPN Australia



Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson apologized to “everyone impacted by our decision” while backing his team’s selection of defenseman Logan Mailloux in the first round of last weekend’s NHL draft.

“We gave Logan a second chance, but in doing so we failed to properly assess the impact of our decision on the victim and on anyone who have suffered in similar circumstances. Once again, I want to apologize to everyone impacted by our decision,” Molson said in a letter posted to the Canadiens’ website Wednesday. “I repeat, our actions will speak louder than our words. We will work to continue proving we are an organization this community and our fans can be proud of.”

Mailloux, 18, had “renounced” himself from the draft after multiple news reports covered an incident in Sweden in which he showed teammates a photo that depicted him and a woman engaged in a consensual sexual act. The photo was taken without the consent of the woman, who went to local police. Mailloux was fined but not arrested for invasion of privacy and defamation.

While sources indicated to ESPN that multiple NHL teams were considering taking him on the second day of the draft, Montreal selected him 30th in the first round. The next day, Mailloux said he accepted the Canadiens having drafted him and thought the team could help with his “betterment” as a person.

The decision sparked immediate backlash from fans and media, and eventually led to a handful of sponsors questioning their commitments to the franchise for next season. On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “as a lifelong Habs fan, I am deeply disappointed by the decision” and that the team has “a lot of explaining to do to Montrealers and fans right across the country.”

Molson, who released his letter at the start of the NHL’s free-agent period Wednesday afternoon, specifically addressed the woman.

“I want to say that we do not minimize what she has had to, and continues to have to, live through. No one, especially not an 18-year-old, should have to suffer through a traumatic experience like this. We are there to support her and her family and respect their privacy,” he said. “Our selection of Logan was never intended to be disrespectful towards her or her family, or more generally towards women or other victims of similar situations. Our decision was not intended, in any shape or form, to be an endorsement of the culture of violence against women.”

Molson said that Mailloux is “a young man who committed a serious transgression” but one who is “genuinely remorseful about the pain he has caused” and “committed to becoming a better person and we will work with him through this process.”

The letter spelled out how the Canadiens are preparing to handle Mailloux as a prospect. He will not participate in the Canadiens’ rookie development camp or training camp.

“Being a player in the NHL is a privilege that is earned — not a right that is granted. As the year progresses, we will reassess Logan’s readiness to be part of our organization,” he said.

In addition, the team will develop a plan to raise awareness and educate young men and young women about “this serious issue,” using the team’s resources to “turn a decision that hurt many people into one that brings meaningful and impactful change.”

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Olympic champion Simone Biles withdraws from Tokyo all-around event –



TOKYO — Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic title.

The American gymnastics superstar withdrew from Thursday’s all-around competition to focus on her mental well-being.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Wednesday that the 24-year-old is opting to not compete. The decision comes a day after Biles removed herself from the team final following one rotation because she felt she wasn’t mentally ready.

Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles’ place in the all-around. Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Sunisa Lee. International Gymnastics Federation rules limit countries to two athletes per event in the finals.

The organization said Biles will be evaluated daily before deciding if she will participate in next week’s individual events. Biles qualified for the finals on all four apparatuses, something she didn’t even do during her five-medal haul in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The 24-year-old came to Tokyo as arguably the face of the Games following the retirement of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt. She topped qualifying on Sunday despite piling up mandatory deductions on vault, floor and beam following shaky dismounts.

She posted on social media on Monday that she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. The weight became too heavy after vaulting during team finals. She lost herself in mid-air and completed 1 1/2 twists instead of 2 1/2. She consulted with U.S. team doctor Marcia Faustin before walking off the field of play.

When she returned, she took off her bar grips, hugged teammates Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles and turned into the team’s head cheerleader as the U.S. claimed silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee.

“Once I came out here (to compete), I was like, ‘No mental is, not there so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself,’” Biles said following the medal ceremony.

The decision opens the door wide open for the all-around, a title that was long considered a foregone conclusion. Rebeca Andrade of Brazil finished second to Biles during qualifying, followed by Lee and Russians Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova. The four were separated by three-tenths of a point on Sunday.

Carey now finds herself in the final, capping a remarkable journey for the 21-year-old from Phoenix. She spent two years traveling the globe in an effort to pile up enough points on the World Cup circuit to earn an individual nominative spot, meaning she would be in the Olympics but technically not be part of the four-woman U.S. team.

Carey posted the second-best score on vault and the third-best on floor during qualifying, earning trips to the event finals in the process. Now she finds herself competing for an all-around medal while replacing the athlete considered the greatest of all-time in the sport.

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