RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (NEWS 1130) – Canada’s women continue to bring home the hardware from the Summer Games in Rio.
Our women’s rugby team captured bronze a couple of days ago along with synchronized divers Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito who picked up their medals yesterday.
So far, all five of our country’s podium finishes have been by women. Both the soccer and basketball teams are also undefeated so far. University of Toronto Kinesiology and Physical Education Professor Peter Donnelly says all that attention could inspire a new generation of female athletes.
Both Filion and Meaghan Benfeito are Olympic veterans but it is names like Penny Oleksiak, the 16- year-old swimmer who grabbed a pair of medals early on that really got peoples’ attention.
“I think it does. And I think the case of Penny Oleksiak has been particularly interesting because she wasn’t on anybody’s radar. She wasn’t expected to win any medals,” says Donnelly. “And all of a sudden she has two medals in-hand and she’s 16-years-old and of course particularly inspiring to the rest of the team, particularly those who were expected to get a medal.”
He adds Oleksiak’s performances will do more than put pressure on other Olympians, particularly given her age, it will show a generation of young girls that international success is possible when it comes to sports.
Donnelly says the way the events are scheduled lines up well for many of Canada’s female medal hopefuls, putting them in the spotlight early on.