Originally published on cbc.ca/sports
Hey Canada, with the Rio Olympics fast approaching, it seems the U.K. media is a little worried about us.
On Saturday, the Guardian published a humorous piece on why Canada struggles to reach the podium at the Summer Olympics.
The piece breaks down Canadian struggles into eight key points but basically claims the athletes underperform because Canada is “a friendly country that long ago recognized our place as a valiant also-ran in the sporting world….”
In essence, we’re a bunch of loveable losers who, even though we plan to watch the Olympics, do so mainly because the mosquitos drive us inside. A minor nuisance since we live mainly in a land of “snow and ice” that truly only cares about one sport — hockey.
But even though Canada hasn’t historically lit up the medal count during the summer, Canadian Olympians have provided some moments of pure strength and determination over the years.
Here are some of our favourites:
Silken Laumann, single sculls rowing, 1992
Just ten weeks before the start of the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Silken Laumann shattered her leg in an accident. Laumann, however, persevered, undergoing five operations and hours of rehab to get back into the race. Despite the odds, she managed to secure the bronze, her third Olympic medal.
Donovan Bailey, 100m and 4×100 relay, 1996
At the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Donovan Bailey powered past the finish line screaming to the world in victory, winning the 100 metres. He did it in a world-record time of 9.84 seconds. He then went on to capture a second gold as part of the men’s 4×100 relay, beating a highly favoured U.S. squad.
Canadian women’s soccer team, 2012
In the women’s soccer tournament at the 2012 London Olympics, captain Christine Sinclair showed her grit and put on a performance for the ages. And despite a heartbreaking loss to the U.S. in the semifinals, the team bounced back in their next match against France even more determined to claim a medal. They captured bronze, inspiring the nation by bringing home the country’s first team medal in 76 years.
Daniel Igali, wrestling, 2000
Daniel Igali won Canada’s first ever gold medal in men’s wresting at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Born in Nigeria, Igali famously paid tribute to his adopted home upon winning by placing the Canadian flag in the centre of the ring before kissing it in celebration.
Simon Whitfield, triathlon, 2000
One of Canada’s most esteemed athletes, Simon Whitfield captured gold in Sydney with a determined performance. It was a stunning result as Whitfield appeared to be out of it following a series of bike crashes. He, nevertheless, persevered, breaking from the pack with 200 metres left to go in the final 10-kilometre run to secure victory.