Canada’s Top 5 Summer Olympic Moments

Excited to see Canada at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro? From gold medals to hosting the Games, here are Canada’s greatest all-time Summer Olympic triumphs.

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Canada's Greatest Summer Olympic Moments
Photo: lazyllama/ShutterStock

Canada is more than a winter sport nation

Although Canada is known primarily as a Winter Olympics nation, we have a long and proud history of success at the Summer Olympics as well. From hosting the Summer Olympics to breaking world records, here are the top five picks of Summer Olympic moments every Canadian should be proud of.

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Canada’s Top Olympic Moments: Donovan Bailey (1996)

Hailing from Oakville, Ont., Donovan Bailey won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and helped repair the tarnished image of Canadian Olympians left in the wake of Ben Johnson’s steroid abuse in 1988. Finishing the 100-metre dash in 9.84 seconds, Bailey simultaneously set a world record and showed the world that Canadian athletes don’t need steroids to succeed.

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Canada’s Top Olympic Moments: Mark Tewksbury (1992)

An underdog heading into the 1992 Olympics and a role-model both in and out of the water, Mark Tewksbury stole the show by winning gold in the 100-metre backstroke. After securing Canada’s first gold medal in swimming since the 1984 Olympics, Tewksbury gained international fame and appeared on the cover of Time. Tewksbury was also one of Canada’s first openly gay professional athletes.

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Canada’s Top Olympic Moments: Daniel Igali (2000)

Born in Nigeria, Daniel Igali spent his childhood in an impoverished village. It was here that his abilities as a wrestler began to emerge, but it wasn’t until a faithful trip to British Columbia to compete in the 1994 Commonwealth Games that he discovered his love for Canada. Soon granted refugee status, Igali attended university in Canada, where he continued to train and compete as a wrestler. His stunning gold medal win at the 2000 Sydney Olympics was a first for Canada, and was made all the more memorable by his iconic victory dance around the Canadian flag.

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Canada’s Top Olympic Moments: Sylvie Frechette (1992)

Overcoming both professional and personal setbacks, Frechette serves a testament to perseverance. A world-class synchronized swimmer, Frechette was preparing for the 1992 Summer Olympics when her fiancé committed suicide a week before the ceremonies began. Choosing to compete anyways, Frechette’s performance was remarkable, but due to a scoring error by a Brazilian judge, she went home without a medal. Fortunately, after a year of petitioning on her part, Canadian IOC member Dick Pound managed to convince Olympic officials to award the gold medal to Frechette, despite the fact that a medal had also been awarded to U.S. swimmer Kristen Babb-Sprague. Frechette would later go on to win a silver medal in synchronized swimming in Atlanta in 1996.

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Canada’s Top Olympic Moments: Montreal Olympics (1976)

A staggering testament to Canada’s love of the Games, 1976’s Montreal Summer Olympics stood as one of the grandest, most expensive of all time. At the center was Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, capable of hosting upwards of 70,000 attendees, and later used by both the Montreal Expos and Montreal Alouettes. With fans from around the world, and a visit by none other than the Queen of England, Canada and its athletes took centre stage for a truly memorable display of athleticism and celebration.

Related features:
5 Underrated Events Worth Watching At The 2016 Olympics
10 Beautiful Reasons To Visit Rio de Janeiro
10 Ways The Olympics Changed Canada

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