News Views: That they did

Canada won 22 medals at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio.

Canada won 22 medals at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio, including four golds.

That’s one medal for every 1.6 million people in the country.

Conversely, the U.S. led the medal count with 121, or one for every 2.6 million people.

China was second with 70 medals, or one for every 19 million people.

Russia, a country embroiled in a doping scandal, still collected 56 medals, or one for every 2.6 million people.

While there are other debatable metrics for measuring Olympic performance, Canada tied its best ever summer medal haul at a non-boycotted Games.

As well, 87 per cent of Canada’s medals were won by women, who had their largest representation on the Canadian team ever.

And the future has never looked brighter, with multi-medalists Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse poised to compete wearing the maple leaf for years to come.

Oleksiak won four medals, a record for the most claimed by a Canadian swimmer in one year, and tying her with Victor Davis for the highest Summer Games career total for a Canadian.

De Grasse, 21, won three medals, the most for a Canadian sprinter in one year since 1932.

Both have room to grow.

Other Canadian athletes had standout performances in Brazil – Derek Drouin winning gold in men’s high jump, Erica Wiebe the same in women’s wrestling.

So there is more optimism.

Others can argue the merits of hosting the Olympics – who benefits and who does not, or whether or not Rio was prepared – but they once again proved to be a captivating event, from blunders such as green water to the anticipation of a showdown between De Grasse and Usain Bolt, or when New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D”Agostino of the U.S. helped each other up after colliding in their heat of the women’s 5,000m.

The Olympic spirit, joy and heartbreak, lives on.

The podium is something Canadian athletes still strive for, to make their country proud.

That they did in Rio.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News