Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One Month To Rio!

In one month, athletes will walk into the Maracanã Stadium in Rio for the opening of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

Many athletes already know that they will be there but there are still many more who will punch their ticket to Rio in the coming weeks and in particular Canada's track and field trials are this weekend in Edmonton.

Prior to most Olympic Games, the media will focus on the negatives and uncertainties. The Rio Olympics are getting their fair share of negative stories but once the Games start in one month, there will be many more positive stories to focus on.

1. Who will carry the Canadian flag at the Opening Ceremony?

Looking at the past flag bearers, Canada alternates with women carrying the flag at the Winter Olympics and men at the Summer Olympics. Repeating sports doesn't seem to be a problem with ice hockey, speed skating and kayak being represented twice in the past 16 years.

2014 Hayley Wickenheiser (ice hockey)
2012 Simon Whitfield (triathlon)
2010 Clara Hughes (cycling, speed skating)
2008 Adam Van Koeverden (canoe/kayak)
2006 Danielle Goyette (ice hockey)
2004 Nicolas Gill (judo)
2002 Catriona Le May Doan (speed skating)
2000 Caroline Brunet (canoe/kayak)
1998 Jean-Luc Brassard (moguls)
1996 Charmain Crooks (athletics)

I would vote to switch it up and have a woman carry the flag for the Summer Games and have a man in 2018. I would love to see Rosie MacLennan who won our only gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. and won Pan Am gold in 2011 and in Toronto last year.

Looking at the most obvious choices, many are competing too close or too far to the Opening Ceremony to be considered. Rosie competes one week after the Opening Ceremony. The same day as the Athletics competition starts. Will they want to be in Rio that long?

In the past, Canada has chosen a flag bearer with previous Olympic success and with Rosie being front and centre in the media since her gold medal at the London Olympics, she is an easy choice. I will be happy with whoever we choose and can't wait for the announcement.

2. Who is competing for medals on Day 1?

The following events have medals being awarded on Day 1 (local time GMT-3):

  • Shooting Women's 10m Air Rifle Final 10:30-11:30am (no Canadian)
  • Men's Road Race 9:30am-4:15pm (Antoine Duchesne, Hugo Houle, Mike Woods)
  • Shooting Men's 10m Air Pistol Final 3:30pm-4:30pm (no Canadian)
  • Archery Men's Team 2pm-5:45pm (no Canadian)
  • Judo Women's 48kg and Men's 60kg  3:30pm-6:10pm (Sergio Pessoa)
  • Fencing Women's Individual Epée 4pm-6:30pm (Leonora Mackinnon)
  • Weightlifting 7pm Women's 48kg (Jasmine Mian)
  • Swimming 10pm 
    • Men's 400m IM (no Canadian)
    • Men's 400m Freestyle (Ryan Cochrane)
    • Women's 400m IM (Sydney Pickrem, Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson)
    • Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay  (Penny Oleksiak, Chantal Van Landeghem, Sandrine Mainville, Michelle Williams)

3. Who will win Canada's first medal?

If it's not Ryan Cochrane in the 400m freestyle on Day 1, then it may be Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware in the synchro 3m springboard diving competition on Day 2.

4. Who will win Canada's last medal?

Ariane Fortin (boxing) could win the gold on the last day of competition or bronze the day before on August 20th.

Melissa Bishop could win a medal on the evening of August 20th in the 800m.

There are many more medal contenders competing on the second last day including Women's Mountain Bike with Emily Batty and Catharine Pendrel,  Brooke Henderson' in gold,  Mark De Jonge in the K2 200m as well as the Women's K4 500m, Men's K4 1000m and Men's C2 1000m.

The Women's K4 team won Canada's first gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games.

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