Tokyo Olympics Recap

Just like that, the Summer Olympics have come and gone. Before the opening ceremonies, we published a blog introducing you to Langley athletes and other notable BC athletes participating in the games (check out the blog here: Now that the games have come to a close, we take a look back at how these athletes fared as well as a few more notable athletes through these games.

Langley Athletes

Georgia Ellenwood – Heptathlon

Georgia started out strong in the heptathlon with a 13th place finish in the field of 24 women in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.47s and a 4th place finish in the high jump with a personal-best height of 1.83m. Following these events, she ranked 8th in the field with 2071 points.  Georgia followed the first 2 events with 23rd place in the shot put with a throw of 12.39m and 14th place in the 200m with a time of 24.51s. Battling heat exhaustion through her last 3 events, Georgia managed 19th place in the long jump with a jump of 5.86m, 13th place in the javelin throw with a throw of 44.11m, and 18th place in the 800m with a time of 2:19.21. Her total of 6077 points placed her 20th in the heptathlon. Despite a number of faults through her events, Georgia put together a strong performance in her first Olympic appearance that she can build upon in the future along with a personal best high jump on the largest athletic stage in the world. She battled through grueling conditions to complete all of her events in her dream of Olympic competition with a truly gutsy performance. Way to go Georgia!

Danielle Lawrie – Softball

Danielle came out of retirement to pitch for Team Canada at these Olympics, and she made the most of her hard work. Danielle pitched in all 5 games, starting 2 of them, recording 1 win, 1 loss, and 1 save. She gave up an average of .238, earned 10 strikeouts, and posted a perfect 0.00 ERA across 11.1 innings pitched. When the team really needed a stop the most, it turned to Danielle in the 5th inning of the bronze medal game where she pitched 2.1 innings, allowed just 1 hit, and struck out 4 batters to earn the win in the game a clinch the bronze medal for Team Canada. Way to go Danielle and the entire team!

Drew Mechielsen – BMX

Drew opened up her BMX racing event with two 4th place finishes and one 5th place finish in the quarterfinal heats to qualify for the semifinals where she placed 3rd, 7th, and 4th to qualify for the finals. While she finished 8th in the final, she rode hard and kept it close the whole race establishing herself as a top rider in the world and placed higher than any Canadian in history in Olympic BMX. Way to go Drew!

Andrea Proske & Lisa Roman – Rowing

Andrea and Lisa were members of the women’s eighth boat at Tokyo that opened with a 2nd place finish in their first heat, relegating the boat to the repechage round. They followed this with another 2nd place finish in the repechage to qualify them for the final heat. In the finals, Andrea and Lisa helped their boat start strong and shoot out to an early lead which they would never surrender on their way to the gold medal. Way to go Andrea, Lisa, and the entire women’s eight boat!

Previous Olympic Medallists

Jasmin Duehring (Coquitlam) & Georgia Simmerling (West Vancouver) – Track Cycling

Jasmin & Georgia were members of the women’s track cycling pursuit team in Tokyo that started the event on somewhat shaky footing with an 8th place finish in the qualification round. Despite the less-than-ideal start, the team won their first-round heat against France to qualify for the bronze medal race. Though they lost the bronze medal race, their rally from a disappointing start should be a point of pride for these ladies and their team.

Brent Hayden (Mission) – Swimming

At 37 years old (the oldest swimmer to compete for Canada at the Olympics), Brent competed in both the 4x100m freestyle relay and the individual 50m freestyle events in the pool. Brent helped the relay team to a 4th place finish in the first heat to qualify for the final in the event where the team surprised with a 4th place finish, just 0.6 seconds away from the bronze medal. Brent opened the 50m freestyle event with the 8th best time in the heats, qualifying him for the semifinals where he swam to a 4th place tie in his heat but narrowly missed a spot in the final race by 0.07 seconds.

Kayla Moleschi (Williams Lake) – Rugby Sevens

Kayla was a member of a Canadian women’s rugby sevens team that entered the tournament as medal hopefuls. However, the team posted a record of 1 win and 2 losses and narrowly missed qualifying for the quarterfinals based on total points scored after tough losses to Fiji and France, who would go on to win the bronze and silver medals respectively. In the classifications matches, Canada outscored Brazil and Kenya by a combined 69-10 to solidify the 9th place finish in the tournament, a strong effort given their tough pool placement in the opening rounds. Kayla scored 5 points on 1 try through the 5 games of the tournament.

Taylor Ruck (Kelowna) – Swimming

As a part of a strong Canadian swim team in Tokyo, Taylor competed in the 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay, 100m backstrokes, and 200m backstrokes. In the 100 backstrokes, Taylor placed 3rd in her heat to qualify her for the semifinal where she placed 5th in her race, unfortunately not enough to qualify for the final.  In the 200 backstrokes, she again placed 3rd in her heat to qualify for the semifinals where she improved upon her 100m event by placing 4th in her race to qualify her for the final. She finished 6th in the 200m backstroke final. In the 4×100 medley, Taylor helped her team to come out strong with a win of their opening heat, qualifying them for the final where they continued their momentum and took home the bronze medal. In the 4×100 freestyle, Taylor helped her team to a 3rd place finish in the first heat and followed that up with an impressive performance in the final to take home the silver medal.

Christine Sinclair (Burnaby) – Soccer

Christine captained the women’s soccer team to a record of 1 win, 2 draws, and 0 losses in the opening round. The team ended the regulation of the quarterfinal match in a 0-0 draw with Brazil before taking the match in penalty kicks to qualify for the semifinals. In a much-anticipated match against the United States, Christine and Team Canada continued their strong defensive game to overcome the Americans for the first time in 20 years at the Olympics to guarantee a medal and a shot at gold in the final. After their 4th regulation draw of the tournament against Sweden in the final, Team Canada took the gold medal in penalty kicks on the strength of goals from Jessie Fleming, Deanne Rose, and the clincher from Julia Grosso. Christine scored 1 goal in the tournament but made immeasurable contributions as the undisputed leader of the team. The gold medal is an amazing accomplishment to cap off a legendary Olympic career for Christine Sinclair if she decides this is her last Games.

Other Top Contenders and Notable BC Athletes Entering the Games

Nathan Hirayama (Richmond) – Rugby Sevens

Nathan, the co-flag-bearer of the opening ceremonies, co-captained the men’s rugby sevens team to a record of 1 win and 2 losses in the opening round, where there 50 points scored were good enough to qualify them in the final spot of the quarterfinals. The team finished the tournament in 8th place overall. Nathan scored 19 points on 1 try and went 7 of 10 on conversion kicks through 6 games in the tournament.

Sean McColl (North Vancouver) – Sport Climbing

Sean came into the first Olympic sport climbing competition as one of the most veteran climbers and an extremely popular and well-respected ambassador for the sport. In the qualification round, Sean finished 14th in the speed event, 15th in the bouldering event, and 8th in the lead event.  This performance left him in 17th in the overall standings and unfortunately did not qualify him for the final round.

Hillary Janssens (Cloverdale) & Caileigh Filmer (Victoria) – Rowing

Hillary and Caileigh rowed the women’s pair boat for Canada in these Olympics. The duo won their first heat, qualifying them for the semifinals where they placed 3rd to qualify them for the final race. The pair turned in a strong race in the final, securing the bronze medal.

Kim Gaucher (Mission) & Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (Penticton) – Basketball

Kim & Nayo helped the Canadian women’s basketball team to a 208 point performance through the 3 game preliminary round, however, the team won just 1 of those games. Unfortunately, this was not enough to qualify the team for a spot in the quarterfinals. Over these 3 games, Nayo registered 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists while Kim tallied 1 rebound and 1 assist.

Notable BC Performers from the Tokyo Games

Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam) – Softball

While the entire women’s softball team performed exceptionally in the tournament, Jenn likely had the strongest performance at the plate out of all players in the tournament. Jenn led all batters in the tournament in batting average (.571), doubles (2), on-base percentage (.700), slugging (.929), and walks (6) while recording the second-most RBIs in the tournament with 5 and 1 home run for good measure. To top off her dominant performance at the plate, Jenn recorded a perfect fielding stat-line at first base.

Evan Dunfee (Richmond) – Race Walk

“Slow and steady wins the race” was the name of the game for Evan in the 50km race walk. Coming from behind as much as 22nd place at the 10km mark, Evan jumped from 16th at the 25km mark to 7th at the 30km mark, putting him in the thick of the chase group. Evan stuck near the back of the chase group the rest of the way until he finally pulled through after the 45km mark to finish with a time of 3:50:59 and take home the bronze medal.

Julia Grosso (Vancouver) – Soccer

Coming off the bench for most of the tournament, Julia logged just 246 minutes through 6 games (4 of which went to extra time before they finished) and logged no goals and no shots on goal. Despite this, Julia stayed ready and was prepared for the largest stage in women’s soccer. When penalty kicks were tied at 2-2 in the gold medal game, Canada called on Julia and she delivered the goal that ended the match and sealed the gold medal victory for her team and her country.