Oleksiak Becomes Most Decorated Canadian At Any Summer Olympics At 16


What an Olympics it has been for the Canadian swimmers, and it just got a lot better.

In the women’s 100m freestyle final, 16 year-old Penny Oleksiak, fresh off a world junior record in the semis that qualified her 2nd overall, was up against some heavy hitters. Among others, the final included world record holder Cate Campbell, 2015 World Champion Bronte Campbell and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ranomi Kromowidjojo.

Oleksiak started out trailing, as expected, and came home strong as expected. We just didn’t know how strong.

Oleksiak turned at the wall in 7th, and closed with the fastest back 50 of anyone by a considerable margin, and was right in the thick of things with 10 metres to go. It was anyone’s race, and the world record holder right next to her just started fading, and Oleksiak was capitalizing.

They came into the wall at the touch. It was too close to call. It read ‘OR’ for Olympic record beside American Simone Manuel‘s name, and ‘1’ indicating gold beside Oleksiak’s name. What just happened?

They both touched the wall in 52.70, tying for the gold medal. It’s the first time there has been a tie in the event since 1984.

With that swim, Oleksiak wins her fourth medal of the Games, which makes her the most decorated Canadian ever at a single Summer Olympic Games. She breaks the record previously held by track and field athlete Phil Edwards, who won three bronze medals in the 400 metre, 1500 metre and 4×400 metre relay at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.

That’s just one of the accolades she earned with that swim. Here’s a look at a few more:

  1. She tied the late Victor Davis as the most decorated Canadian Olympic swimmer in history, as Davis earned a total of four medals between the 1984 and 1988 Games.
  2. Oleksiak became the youngest ever Olympic champion from Canada, breaking the previous record of George Genereux who was 17 when he won the men’s trap event back in 1952.
  3. It’s Canada’s first Olympic gold medal in swimming in 24 years, last accomplished by Mark Tewksbury in Barcelona at the 1992 Olympics.
  4. She’s the second Canadian female swimmer to ever win gold at the Olympics, first done by Anne Ottenbrite in the 200 breaststroke at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
  5. She became the first athlete born this century (2000 and later) to win a gold medal in an individual event. Gymnast Laure Hernandez of the United States won a gold medal earlier this week as part of the team event. Her and teammate Taylor Ruck became the first ever medalists born in the 2000s earlier this week in the 400 free relay.
  6. Oleksiak joins Emma McKeonSarah Sjostrom and Maya Dirado as the four women who have completed the medal set here in Rio, winning at least one gold, one silver and one bronze.
  7. She joins icons of the sport Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky as the three swimmers who have won four medals so far in Rio.
  8. She won Canada’s first gold medal of the 2016 Olympic Games.

The Canadian women just continue to keep the ball rolling, now with five Olympic medals after going four straight Games with zero. They have a definite shot at at least one more on Saturday night, with the medley relay in contention. Oleksiak will be part of that, and will be looking to push her unbelievable haul to 5.

Other highlights from North Americans on day 6:

  • Michael Phelps won his record 4th straight 200 IM at the Olympics, as he now stands alone with the most consecutive Olympic wins in a swimming event. He also joins Carl Lewis and Al Oerter as a four-time winner of an individual event at the Olympics.
  • Phelps also pushed his total medal tally record to 26, winning his 22nd career gold.
  • Simone Manuel became the first African-American and first black woman to win an Olympic swimming gold in her tie with Oleksiak in the 100 free. They also tied for the Olympic record in 52.70.
  • After doing it in the 100 back, Ryan Murphy did it again in the 200 back, extending the U.S. streak to six straight wins in the event. Murphy won in a best time of 1:53.62.
  • Canadian Santo Condorelli broke his own Canadian record in the men’s 100 fly, clocking 51.83. He missed the final in 12th place overall.
  • Hilary Caldwell and Maya Dirado both put themselves into contention for a medal in tomorrow night’s 200 back, qualifying 2nd and 3rd overall in the semi-finals
  • Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin (50 fr) and Phelps and Tom Shields (100 fly) advanced to finals in their respective races, all with legitimate medal hopes.
  • Guatemalans Valerie Gruest Slowing (W 800 free) and Luis Martinez (M 100 fly) broke their national records, clocking 8:39.80 and 52.22 respectively.
















North Americans won four out of the five gold medals awarded tonight, marking another terrific session for both the Americans and Canadians.

Murphy, Phelps and Manuel brough the U.S. gold total to 11 and an overall mark of 24 with two days to go, while Oleksiak won Canada’s first gold medal of all sports at the Olympics.

Canada is the tenth country to win a swimming gold here in Rio, and now ranks 5th among all countries with five medals in the pool.


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northern light
6 years ago

Best swim meet for Canada since 1984. Canada is back! Almost all swimmers have had personal bests. Well prepared team. Love the confidence they have. Congratulations, Canadian swimmers!!

6 years ago

She is so strong in butterfly and free style. I wonder why she is not swimming IM.

6 years ago

She is not just great in swimming, she is also the best looking female swimmer.

Coach Mike 1952
6 years ago

Congratulations to Penny, quite a star! It is wonderful, Canada is on the rise again. Mr. Sutherland, a humble suggestion – correcting the sentence “Oleksiak will be part of that, and will be looking to push her unbelievable haul to 5”, to “unexpected” haul. She has become QUITE believable, wouldn’t you say?

6 years ago

Penny returns from the games to high school. “teacher I want everyone to write about what they did this summer”. *penny goes home and copies her Wikipedia article*

Reply to  Uberfan
6 years ago

I doubt she’ll be going back to school. Titley is nt big on “distractions” like education.

Success or bust
Reply to  Swimmer
6 years ago

Unbelievable comment!

northern light
Reply to  Swimmer
6 years ago

She doing online schooling this year, but I saw an interview with her in which she said she would attend high school this year. Grade eleven.

Kirk Nelson
Reply to  Uberfan
6 years ago

I think her life as just an ordinary teenager is over.

6 years ago

Shot out to Ben Titley!

Kirk Nelson
6 years ago

The Canadians are having a great meet, led by Oleksiak! I’ve been watching the CBC coverage and it’s been fun to see how excited Tewksbury and the other broadcasters are.

Canadian John Doe
Reply to  Kirk Nelson
6 years ago

Tewksbury is so great during the swimming

Bo swims
Reply to  Kirk Nelson
6 years ago

Mark is being himself which is awesome.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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