Canadian Women Doing Us Proud in Rio

It’s the Olympics and we’ve already heard about how some of the TV coverage of women medalists seems to focus more on the men in their lives (coaches, husbands).

And then there are the uniforms. Sam posted about the difference between the women’s and men’s beach volleyball uniforms yesterday.

But among all that, it’s hard not to notice that of Canada’s four medals so far, all of them have gone to women!

First, our swimmers got bronze in the women’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay.  I just love watching swimming — it’s so exciting. Australia won the gold and the United States got the silver, but there’s something so wonderful about how excited Canadians get over bronze. I love it!

Here’s the relay.  Congrats to Chantal Van Landeghem, Taylor Ruck, Sandrine Manville, and Penny Oleksiak on their bronze in the pool.

Canadian Women’s Swim team upon winning silver in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay.

Also in the pool, Penny Oleksiak (sixteen years old) won silver in the women’s 100 metre butterfly and Kylie Masse won bronze in the women’s 100 metre backstroke.

Rugby is new to the Olympics (well, hasn’t been played in 92 years, and never by women until now). The women’s Ruby 7s are short matches of about 15-20 minutes that, according to one CBC commentator (a man), looked like street fights. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but he sure sounded in awe of the women who play.

After Australia trounced the Canadian team right out of a chance to play for gold, Canada came out ahead of Great Britain in the bronze medal match.  It was kind of awesome. In the words of team captain, Jen Kish, it was “freaking historic.”

Canadian Women’s Rugby team wins bronze in the Sevens at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Photo Credit: Lucas Oleniuk, Toronto Star.

I know lots of our blog readers are not Canadian and may well be rooting for their own countries athletes for the next couple of weeks. Despite the Own the Podium initiative, about which I have mixed feelings, the summer Olympics aren’t exactly our forte. We’ll never approximate the medal haul of the USA or China.

And there are all sorts of reasons, which we may blog about over the next couple of weeks, to wonder about the Olympics — is it healthy competition and nationalistic pride or does it divide and promote an ugly sort of misplaced patriotism (this may be an alien idea elsewhere but we Canadians are usually quite reserved on the patriotism front, so it can make us uncomfortable to get too excited about it except perhaps when it comes to hockey, which no one appears to have any qualms about)?  Are the games good for Rio (or whichever country “wins” the bid) or do they give a false and temporary boost to the economy (if there’s a boost at all), ultimately draining resources that could go to useful infrastructure and social programs, leaving behind useless facilities that end up abandoned because they’re too expensive to maintain?

But today I just want to set all that aside and say: as a Canadian, I’m proud of the Canadian women athletes who have competed so far, and congratulations to the medalists!

Are you enthusiastic, neutral, or opposed to the summer Olympic games?

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