There are 277 athletes representing the great white north at this year’s summer Olympics, participating in 26 different sports. Which ones should you have your eyes on?
Since the year 1900, Canada has participated in every summer Olympic Games except one. Needless to say, there have been good games and bad ones – 44 medals is the record high (1984, LA) and 1 is the record low (1960, Rome) – but only one thing is for sure: every team is different. So what does the London 2012 Canadian national team have in store?
For starters, how about the total number of competitors? 277 athletes will compete in 26 separate events, from Archery to Wrestling. This year’s contingent is 55 athletes short of the 2008 representation at Beijing, where Canada sent 332 athletes. The Canadian contingent is the seventh largest team at the London games.
What about medal expectations? For the 2008 games, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) set a goal of finishing in the top 16 medal total for all nations. They achieved that feat, finishing 14th in Beijing. This year, the COC has set their sights even higher, expecting a 12th place finish or better among all nations in total medals.
Ok – so if you really want to watch Canada snag the gold, which events should you be calling in sick to work and tuning in for? Surely, the Triathlon is one of them. The long, gruelling swim-cycle-run has been owned the past few games by Canadian flagbearer Simon Whitfield, who is expecting no less than a personal best at this year’s competition.
Statistically, if you want to see a Canadian win the gold, you should be watching swimming. With 54 athletes competing in 42 different events, your best statistical shot of seeing a Canadian take home the gold will be there. You may even get to see a fellow Vancouverite (or even UBC Thunderbird!) win it all!
It is always difficult to predict Olympic results by reading pure hype alone, but if you could you would be paying attention to the 3m platform Diving event and the K-1 1000m Kayak. Why? Canadian perennial superstars Alexandre Despatie (two silvers, 2004 and 2008) and Adam Van Koeverden (one gold, one silver, one bronze, 2004 and 2008) look to repeat their overall successes in London and retain dominance on the world stage.
With eight days remaining until the opening ceremonies, Canada is poised to once again show the world the strength and determination of our athletes. Only time will tell if the predictions and hype will spell success for our fellow northerners – surely, the waiting will be the hardest part.
Image courtesy of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC)