TOKYO — From a golden row to a queen dethroned, here are five things to know from Friday at the pandemic-delayed 2020 Tokyo Games:
There were thunderclouds in the sky above the Sea Forest Waterway ahead of the women's eight rowing final. The Canadian crew took it as a sign that Kathleen Heddle, the legendary rower who died earlier this year, was watching over them. "It was just a reminder that Kathleen was with us," Susanne Grainger said after the Canadians led from start to finish to take gold in the event for the first time since 1992 — with a team that included Heddle. "We had a moment as a boat to remember her and make sure we brought the amazing grace and grit she rowed with into our race," Grainger said.
After a bronze medal performance in their sport's Olympic debut at the Rio Games in 2016, Canada's women's rugby sevens squad went into Tokyo with the aim of reaching the podium again. Those hopes were dashed on Friday, as the Canadians missed out on the quarterfinal round after finishing group play a disappointing 1-2 and failing to advance on a tiebreaker. Canada got some level of redemption in the placing games that began later Friday, defeating Brazil 45-0.
BIG SAVE STEPH
Canada's women's soccer team is back in the Olympic semifinals after beating Brazil. Canada won 4-3 in penalty kicks after the game finished tied 0-0. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé came up huge in the tiebreaker, making diving saves against Brazil's Andressa and Rafaelle. "That's what the Olympics are about, these tight games that bring out performances that make us really proud," said Labbé. Canada will face the United States in Monday's semifinal. The U.S. defeated Canada 4-3 in a thrilling semifinal at the 2012 London Games.
OLEKSIAK LAID BACK AFTER SETBACK
Penny Oleksiak will have to wait a few more days for another shot at becoming Canada's most decorated Olympian, but the 21-year-old from Toronto appears to be in no hurry. "I have six Olympic medals. There's only three people in Canada that can say that," Oleksiak said after missing the podium in the women's 100-metre freestyle — an event she won five years ago in Rio. Her half-dozen career medals are the most of any summer Olympian in Canadian history, and put her in a tie with Cindy Klassen (speedskating) and Clara Hughes (speedskating and cycling) for the most all-time. Oleksiak will be in the pool again on Sunday when she's expected to swim the freestyle leg of the medley relay.
TRAMPOLINE QUEEN DETHRONED
Nine weeks ago, Rosie MacLennan wasn't sure she'd make it to Tokyo to defend her two consecutive gold medals in the trampoline. The 32-year-old from Toronto was using a walking boot and crutches after "bad landing" in a training session, and wasn't able to complete routines again until earlier this month. Given all that, MacLennan was surprisingly upbeat about missing the podium in an event she's reigned over since the London Games in 2012. "The fact that I was able to get here and compete, represent Canada in the sport that I love and do as well as I did, I know I have to be happy with that," MacLennan said Friday after her fourth-place finish.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2021.
The Canadian Press