4 Canadian athletes to look out for at Rio 2016

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Image: Canadian Olympic Committee

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro kick off in exactly one year this week. Following Team Canada’s highly successful medal tally at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, a number of Canada’s elite athletes proudly sponsored by McKesson’s atoma brand are looking for a repeat podium standing on the utmost international level.

Ryan Cochrane

Victoria native Ryan Cochrane has been a competitive swimmer since the young age of eight. He ended Canada’s decade-long drought at the Olympic pool with a bronze medal win during the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics’ 1500 metre freestyle.

Four years later at London 2012, Cochrane upgraded his performance in the same event with a silver medal finish.

The 26-year-old has won a total of 20 medals in international competitions, including six medals at the Pan Pacific Championships, four medals at the Commonwealth Games and three medals at the recent Pan Am Games in Toronto – golds in the 400 metre freestyle and 1,500 metre freestyle and a bronze in the team 4×200 metre freestyle event.

Cochrane has also earned seven medals at the FINA World Aquatics Championships – the most ever for a Canadian. This includes a bronze medal at the World Aquatics Championships over the weekend at Kazan, Russia.

Cochrane is widely seen as the leader of Canada’s swimming team, with his Olympic performances providing the national program much-needed momentum and inspiration for young swimmers.

Jennifer Abel

Since the age of 15, Jennifer Abel has been leaping off diving boards and platforms in her journey to the Olympic podium. She reached her Olympic goal in 2008 with her breakthrough appearance in the Beijing Olympics where she was the youngest diver in the national senior team to represent her country.

In 2011, she participated in her first Pan American Games in Guadalajara, winning silver in the three metre synchronized diving event with her diving partner Emilie Heymans. Abel returned to the Olympics at London 2012 and earned a bronze medal with Heymans.

Over the subsequent years, Abel has won bronze medals at the 2013 FINA World Championships and 2014 World Cup.

The Quebec native returned to the Pan American Games last month and captured two medals: gold in the three metre springboard and silver in the three metre synchronized springboard, repeating her 2011 performance with Heymans.

Mark Oldershaw

Mark Oldershaw hails from Burlington, Ontario and competes in the sport of canoe/kayak. The third generation Olympian, 32, has repeatedly overcome obstacles on his journey to the podium, particularly in 2003 when a non-cancerous tumour was discovered on his right paddling hand.

Treatment required two invasive injuries that caused nerve damage and chronic pain, ultimately affecting his training for two years and meant he had to miss the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics.

Then just before the 2007 World Championships, he broke his left hand but was still able to reach the finals of the competition.

In 2008 at Beijing, Oldershaw made his Olympic debut and eventually went on to place tenth at the C-1500 metre event. And at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, he became the first member of his family to win an Olympic medal – a bronze medal at the C1-1,000 metre event.

His medal haul at other international competitions continued the following year, with two bronze medals at the 2013 World Championships in the C-1 5,000 metre and C-1 200 metre events.

At the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Oldershaw was the flag bearer for Team Canada at the Opening Ceremony and won a silver medal in the C1-1,000 metre event.

Ellie Black

At the age of 14, Ellie Black began competing in artistic gymnastics competitions and immediately made ripples in the national program.

In 2012 alone, she kick started her international competitive sporting career with six international competitions including the London 2012 Olympics.

Since then, Black has also participated in a number of other events such as the 2013 Summer Universiade, 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics.

And of course, she an impressive five medals at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games in various events: three golds in all-round, balance beam and floor exercise; one silver in the team event; and one bronze in the vault event.

 

Vancity Buzz’s coverage of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games
is presented by McKesson Canada.

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