Canada’s 2016 Olympic MVPs

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While Winter Olympics has always been closer to Canada’s wheelhouse, this year at the Summer Olympics in Rio, our Canadian athletes certainly made their presence known. Very early on in the games a few stars were born, cementing themselves as Canadian heroes for years to come and the winning continued throughout the games right up until the Closing Ceremonies last night.

In the end, Canada placed in the 10th position in the medal count, an enormous victory for our Olympic team. Aside from the medals we can look at our athletes with our heads held high because of how they conducted themselves on the world stage; gracious in defeat, humble in victory, respectful, professional, and of course courteous. In other words, they did us proud.

While we’re immensely proud of all our athletes, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the big winners from these games.

Women’s Rugby Sevens Team

The women’s rugby seven’s team were a little uneven at these Olympic games, but they certainly knew how to rebound from even the most devastating of defeats. Facing off against Great Britain after having lost to them in the full stage rounds, the Canadian team gave everything they had left. Thanks to a full team effort and an amazing performance from Ghislaine Landry, the women’s team walked away with a well-deserved bronze medal—the first ever Canadian medal in rugby sevens.

Women’s Soccer Team

Though not consider by many to be stiff competition on soccer’s world stage, Canada is making a run for the title of most-winningest underdogs. A team buoyed by the great Christine Sinclair, the team looked to return to the podium for the second consecutive time. Facing off against the hosting Brazilian team, Canada didn’t let themselves be distracted by the home team crowd and were able to score bronze once again thanks in no small part to amazing offensive performances from Sinclair and Deanne Rose.

Meaghan Benefeito

Meaghan is one of Canada’s athletes to walk away with multiple medals at these Rio games. It must be acknowledged that one of those medals was very much a team effort, in fact I’m not sure your can find a sport that’s more of a team effort than synchronized diving. Meaghan and partner Roseline Filion were a truly great team and were able to score the bronze together. But later as competitors, it was Meaghan who came out ahead with another bronze performance in solo diving.

Rosie MacLenna

Rosie came into these games with a lot of expectations on her shoulders. At the 2012 London games, Rosie was understandably the frontrunner in the trampoline competition. Think that kind of pressure threw her off her game? Not a bit. While she wasn’t alone this time, Rosie brought home yet another gold medal for her country.

Derek Drouin

While the high-jump competition may not be one that immediately grabs your attention, you’d be surprised how quickly you can get caught up in the excitement of it. And if you were a Canadian who happened to catch the finals, Derek Drouin gave you quite a show. Not only did Derek best his competition by clearing a height of 2.38 metres to win the gold, he did so flawlessly without a single error in the night.

Erica Wiebe

Erica did not exactly come to these games as an underdog. She was ranked as the number 2 in the world for her 75 kg weight category. Yet were gold-medal winning performance was such a display of skill, strength and effort that I think she surprised more than a few people. She gave only one point against herself in the whole tournament and won the gold with a 6-0 victory.

Andre De Grasse

It’s not easy for an athlete to stand out when he’s in direct competition with thee great Usain Bolt, but Andre certainly made a name for himself. Much was made about the friendly nature he shared with Bolt, looking like a bold younger brother nipping at the heels of his older brother. In reality though, we witnessed a changing of the guards. Bolt predictably dominated in his last Olympic games making way for the next generation with Andre leading the pack.

Penny Oleksiak

The true superstar of these games. Penny’s performance will go down in Canadian history and she will forever be honoured as one of this nation’s greatest athletes. This 16-year-old girl capture the hearts of everyone across the country with her strong performances and incredibly humble demeanour while walking away with four medals including a gold. She, along with relay teammate Taylor Ruck and the first medal winners born in the 21st century and she is on her way to being the most winningest Canadian Olympian ever.