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Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold wins battle to compete in Tokyo

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Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold said on Wednesday that her dream to compete in the Tokyo Olympics was “intact” after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that qualification criteria must accommodate women who were pregnant or had given birth.

After qualifying events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to use results from three tournaments over an 11-month period between 2018 and 2019 to determine Tokyo boxing berths.

But Bujold, a two-time Pan Am Games champion who was among the top flyweights in the world before her maternity leave, was pregnant and postpartum during the adjusted period and was therefore left without any qualification points.

Bujold, 33, said the IOC did not respond to a letter she sent them pleading her case and that of other women that might be in a similar situation and so decided to take her battle to CAS, sport’s highest court.

“I am excited to say that my legal battle was won. The court ruled that the qualification criteria must include an accommodation for women who were pregnant or postpartum during the qualification period,” Bujold said in a statement.

She added: “It was one of the biggest fights of my career, but also the fight with the most meaning. I was standing up for what I believe is right and for the dream I had worked so hard for.

“And I am so proud that we’ve set a human rights precedent for female athletes now, and for the generations to come.”

Bujold made her Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games where she advanced to the quarter-finals and suffered a defeat after spending the night in hospital with an illness.

An 11-times national champion, Bujold said her legal battle was mentally draining but that she continued to train as she needed to be ready if the outcome went her way.

“My Olympic berth is not what matters here. What matters is the recurring pattern of gender inequality in sport,” said Bujold.

“Women should not be punished for being women. They should be respected for the unique challenges they face and continually overcome. And that’s why my story is so important to me.”

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) said in a separate statement that it believes strongly in gender equity in sport and is pleased with the CAS decision.

“We understand that the qualification systems have been extremely complicated and some decisions resulted in unintended consequences,” the COC said in a statement.

“We agree with the decision to grant this appeal recognizing these consequences and the need for accommodation in cases where discrimination has resulted.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

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Tokyo 2020: Canada wins first medal after swimming to silver in women's 4×100 freestyle relay – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Canadian Press


Published Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT


Last Updated Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT

TOKYO — Canada has its first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team raced to silver.

Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez of Toronto, Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., finished in a time of three minutes 32.78 seconds as Canada picked up a medal in the event for a second straight Games.

Australia won gold in a world-record time of 3:29.69, while the United States finished third in 3:32.81.

Oleksiak swam the anchor leg and narrowly beat out American Simone Manuel at the wall.

Canada’s women are looking to duplicate the success they had in the pool at the 2016 Rio Games, where they picked up six medals.

Earlier on Sunday, Mac Neil also advanced to Monday morning’s 100-metre butterfly final. The 21-year-old world champion in the event posted the sixth-fastest time in the semifinals.

An hour after qualifying for the butterfly final, Mac Neil drew into the relay lineup for Taylor Ruck who swam the heat for Canada. The women posted the third-fastest time in the preliminaries.

Sanchez led off the final followed by Mac Neil and Smith with Oleksiak bringing the team home.

Oleksiak and Ruck won a pair of freestyle relay bronze medals as 16-year-olds in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.

They teamed with Sandrine Mainville and Chantal Van Landeghem in the 4 x 100 to win Canada’s first medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Oleksiak also swam the anchor leg in Rio.

Canada’s women aim for the podium in all three relays in Tokyo after earning three bronze at the world championship in Gwangju, South Korea two years ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2021.

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The Edmonton Oilers select big German defender Luca Munzenberger at #90 overall – Edmonton Journal

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The Edmonton Oilers trading down on Day #1 of the NHL draft was converted not 24 hours later into Defenceman Luca Munzenbeger.

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Gotta love the name! Munzenberger is an 18-year old out of Dusseldorf, Germany. He has a late (November) 2002 birth date.

He’s a big, left-handed shot at 6’3, 194 LBS.

Munzenberger spent the majority of 2020-21 with Kolner Junghaie of the DNL U20. In 6 games he went 1-2-3 and served as Team Captain. His time in junior versus pro left open the door for him to play in college. Munzenberger also played for Team Germany at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton (0-0-0 in 5GP). More on that in a minute…

Munzenberger is considered to be an excellent PK man, but possesses a big shot which makes him a threat from the point as well. Scouts say he has a soft set of hands and makes an effective first-pass out of his own zone. Those who have seen him play, namely amateur scout Brock Otten, describe the kid as a “suffocating physical defender” with a mean streak. He’s an above-average skater for his size with a massive stride and a big wingspan. He’s effective at clearing the slot and his reach helps him get to pucks ahead of attackers. In my own viewing of his highlights from the WJC’s, Munzenberger closes quickly and effectively on the opposition along the walls. The foot-speed, reach and size are visibly key tools in his ability to break up the cycle.

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A side note from that tournament that may indicate the quality of his intangibles: Munzenberger was in COVID quarantine at the very beginning ot the WJ’s, but emerged from that status prior to Christmas and rebounded with a strong performance. That would seem to speak to the kid’s resilience. The young man in a foreign country responded to a stressful situation and considerable uncertainty extremely well.

Draft analyst Steve Kournianos says of him: “A big bodied vacuum cleaner on defence… He has ideal size but the mobility and agility to cover faster players… He plays a mean, physical brand of hockey and can be considered a throwback… He has soft hands and delivers clean passes to any area in the offensive zone, but what makes Munzenberger dangerous is his lethal shot — he owns a bomb of a shot, not only for its velocity but for the sheer power he generates with little backswing. His wrister is just as nasty.”

It is fair to consider this pick as somewhat “off the board”. Elite Prospects had him at #214. No other service had him listed at all. One wonders if fellow countryman Leon Draisaitl had and offered any insight on the player to the Oilers draft team? He and his father surely know of every sharp prospect in that nation.

Munzenberger is committed to NCAA University of Vermont in 2022-23 which offers another interesting tidbit. Todd Woodcroft is the coach of that program, the brother of Bakersfield Condors bench boss Jay Woodcroft.  So, there may well be some added insight from that connection.

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Montreal Canadiens select Joe Vrbetic with 214th pick – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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After a very long day, the Montreal Canadiens final picks are finally upon us, with 214th overall being up first. The Habs acquired this pick after trading out of an earlier round, and with this pick the team selected Joe Vrbetic from OHL’s North Bay Battalion.

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Unfortunately like many other prospects in the OHL, Vrbetic was not able to play this year due to the Covid pandemic. In his last full season he posted a 4.23 goals against, an .881 save percentage along with a 14-25-1 record on a dreadful North Bay team that won just 17 out of 62 games.

The Habs have the penultimate pick in the draft at 223rd overall this year coming up.

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