Penny Oleksiak will look to add to her decorated Olympic career when she swims in the 200-metre freestyle final.
At 9:41 p.m. EDT Tuesday (Wednesday morning in Tokyo), the 21-year-old will try to reach the podium for the sixth time, which would set a Canadian record for most medals by a single athlete at the Summer Games. Oleksiak finished fourth in her semifinal heat with a time of one 1:56.39 to qualify for the final.
“I like stepping up to the occasion,” Oleksiak told reporters after finishing with the sixth-fastest time in the semifinals. “Being able to step on the world stage when everyone is watching is always exciting. I just love being here.”
The Toronto native anchored the women’s relay team to a silver for Canada’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics. In doing so, she tied the Canadian record of five Summer Games medals held by rower Lesley Thompson-Willie and middle-distance runner Phil Edwards, and is now eyeing Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes’s Canadian all-time Olympic mark of six.
First medal for #TeamCanada at #Tokyo2020
The women's 4x100m freestyle relay team (Kayla Sanchez, Margaret Mac Neil, Rebecca Smith & Penny Oleksiak) swim to !
into the details of how it happened https://t.co/0isSqh5PZz pic.twitter.com/7htH2qltwr
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) July 25, 2021
Oleksiak made history at the 2016 Olympics in Rio becoming the first Canadian to win four medals in the same Summer Games and the country’s youngest-ever Olympic champion at just 16 years old.
Oleksiak admits that it has been a challenge getting used to the schedule in Tokyo with the semifinals and finals being held in the morning.
“It’s definitely an adjustment,” said Oleksiak. “I honestly thought I was ninth so I’m happy to be in the finals. I’m excited to swim.”
Canada has seen great success at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre with four of its eight total medals coming in the pool. Maggie Mac Neil captured Canada’s first gold in Tokyo, winning the women’s 100-metre butterfly, while Kylie Masse won silver in the women’s 100-metre backstroke.
Oleksiak will also compete in the 100-metre freestyle, 4x200-metre freestyle relay and 4x100-metre medley relay at Tokyo.