Several of the medalists from last summer’s World Junior Championships in Singapore followed up one great summer with another representing their countries at the Olympic Games. Five of the seven athletes came home from Rio with medals around their necks.
Oleksiak Puts Up Historic Medal Performance
16 year-old Canadian Penny Oleksiak, who finished second in the women’s 100 freestyle as well as the 50 and 100 butterfly in Singapore, became the most decorated Canadian athlete at a single Summer Olympic Games.
Oleksiak along with American Simone Manuel upset the Olympic gold medal favourites Australian Cate Campbell and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden. Both Oleksiak and Manuel touched in a time of 52.70 to tie for gold. With her time Oleksiak set a new junior world record as well as a Canadian record improving on the old mark of 52.72, which she posted in the semi-finals.
Oleksiak also earned a silver in the 100 butterfly hitting the wall in a time of 56.46 repeating the feat of breaking both the junior world record and Canadian record in the event. Both stood at a time of 56.73, which she put up in the prelims.
The Canadian women’s relays, lead by Oleksiak, were a surprise success in Rio earning bronze in both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 freestyle relays in national record times. Another member of those relays was Taylor Ruck who won the 100 and 200 freestyle and finished third in the 100 backstroke in Singapore. Ruck swam the two relays as well as the prelims of the 4 x 100 medley relay in Rio, but did not compete in an individual event.
Chalmers Becomes the First Aussie to Win the 100 Freestyle in 48 Years
Although Oleksiak stole a lot of the headlines 18 year old Kyle Chalmers definitely wrote a few of his own. Chalmers won the men’s 100 freestyle upsetting the two favourites, fellow Australian Cameron McEvoy and Olympic gold medalist American Nathan Adrian. He took the event in a time of 47.58 and in the process broke his own junior world record of 47.88, which he set in the semi-finals. In fact each time he took to the water in the event.
Chalmers also became the first Australian to win the men’s 100 freestyle since Michael Wenden took the event at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Chalmers also earned two bronze medals as part of the Australian 4 x 100 freestyle and 4 x 100 medley relay teams.
Russian Anton Chupkov is no longer a junior aged athlete, but won the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the World Junior Championships and walked away from the Olympic Games with a bronze in the 200 breaststroke. Chupkov broke the Russian national record in the event twice posting a time of 2:07.93 in the prelims and then beat it again in the final hitting the wall in a time of 2:07.70.
Australian Tamsin Cook, who won gold in the 400 freestyle at the World Junior Championships, earned a silver as part of the women’s 4 x 200 freestyle relay and also finished sixth in the 400 freestyle.
Rikako Ikee of Japan, who won the gold in the women’s 50 and 100 butterfly as well as the 50 freestyle in Singapore, finished sixth in the 100 butterfly setting a new national record touching in a time of 56.86.
Romanian Robert Ginta, who won the men’s 100 backstroke at the World Junior Championships, finished eighth in the same event in Rio. Ginta set a new national record in the semi-finals posting a time of 53.34, but was not able to match the time in the final and ultimately finished eighth.
The top three junior aged athletes in each event in Rio can be found here.