By Sheryl Smolkin
The Olympics may be highly politicized but when the rubber hits the road, the most important thing is the fantastic performances put on by athletes at their peak who are fulfilling the dream of a lifetime. As I write this, Canada has been awarded 12 medals, but by the time you read it, there will no doubt be lots more (see current medal count here).
A first for many of us will be how we follow this Olympics on multiple devices. Although I have watched video replays online for years and monitored results on my smart phone, as we were visiting my daughter in Ottawa and she no longer has cable, for the first time this year we watched the opening ceremonies streamed live and projected on a big TV screen.
Here are 30 Canadian athletes to watch for, led by Rosie MacLennan, our flag bearer in the opening ceremonies. In 2013 Rosie won Canada’s only gold medal in London for her 10-bounce trampoline routine and she won a second gold medal just last week.
But in many cases it’s the narrative behind the people that engages us. In the first week 16-year old swimmer Penny Oleksiak collected a gold, a silver and two bronze medals, capturing hearts from coast to coast.
And certainly the refugee athletes who cannot represent their homeland but are competing under the Olympic flag are a heartwarming story that everyone is following.
Here are some of the other dramatic Olympic story lines that Sam Laird on Mashable predicted will be “utterly irresistible.”
- Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is aiming to sweep the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4×100 meter relay for the third Olympics in a row, although he has had some injuries this year.
- Men’s soccer is not usually a big deal at the Olympics, but soccer is red hot in Brazil and after being defeated in the 2014 World Cup the team wants to redeem itself on home ground.
- A mother and son target-shooting team (Tsotne Machavariani and Nino Salukvadze) from Georgia (the former Soviet territory), are an Olympic first.
- Triplets Leila, Liina, and Lily Luik are 30-year-old sisters from Estonia. They are all scheduled to run in the women’s marathon. It’s believed to be the first time triplets have qualified for the same Olympics.
- Michael Phelps has come out of retirement and has won 23 gold medals over the five Olympic Games he’s been part of.
You may opt to watch whole events or simply check out summaries on the evening news. But keep an eye out for little known favourites, who by next week may be the latest medalists and media darlings!
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