The countdown to the 2024 Olympics in Paris is under six months and the athletes will be praying that the rest of their preparation goes smoothly as even the smallest setback at this stage could be the difference between a gold medal and leaving the French capital empty-handed.
It is always one of the most interesting parts of an Olympics watching the bookmakers try to figure out the odds on the betting sites. A lot of the sports are not ones that they would cover normally which gives it a great opportunity for sports fans who have knowledge of a niche sport to take full advantage.
Team Canada had an excellent time at the 2020 games in Tokyo bringing home seven golds, seven silvers and ten bronzes for a total of 24. That was the biggest haul from Canadian athletes since the 1984 Los Angeles games where they were helped to 44 by the Soviet Union and East German teams not turning up.
2024 could be the year that Team Canada takes another step up on the number of medals as there is a strong team that is set to be sent to Paris to take part in the Summer Olympics. Let’s take a look at some of the best chances that Canada has of taking gold medals.
Although the world had to wait an extra year for the Tokyo Olympics, it was well worth it for Team Canada. An excellent haul of 24 made it one of the most successful Olympics for Canada as 381 competitors in 30 different sports were sent.
Athletics and swimming led the way with six medals in each, numbers that could well be broken in 2024. In swimming especially, the Canadian team are looking incredibly strong ahead of Paris and without putting too much pressure on them, only six medals in the pool would be a little bit of a disappointment.
Two medals in cycling, canoeing, rowing and judo were gained with one each in football, weightlifting, diving and softball. The last named is not a part of the 2024 Olympics (although it is expected to be back in 2028 in Los Angeles) but breaking is a new sport for Paris and that could not come at a better time with Canada having a massive chance of a gold in the new addition.
57 members of Team Canada made up the track and field team in Tokyo and they returned six medals in total including a couple of gold. One of those was Anton De Grasse in the men’s 200m. The sprinter also picked up a silver as part of the 4X100m relay team. He has struggled with injuries since and needs a clear run over the last six months to arrive in peak form.
Decathlon is a strong event for Canada with both Damian Warner and Pierre LePage genuine medal contenders. Warner won the gold in Tokyo while LePage won gold at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest. Both will expect to be stood on the podium in Paris.
Marco Arop won the 800m gold in Budapest, setting a new national record for that distance in Eugene last year. He did not make it into the 800m final in Tokyo but has improved a great deal in the years since and looks like a genuine medal contender this year.
Also on the track is Mohammed Ahmed who won silver in the 5000m in Tokyo. 5th and 6th in the World Championships in 2022 and 2023 suggests that he has work to do if he is to gain another Olympic medal but he has shown in the past that he is more than capable.
When it comes to the field events, the strongest hopes are Ethan Katzberg, Camryn Rogers and Sarah Mitton. Katzberg won gold in the men’s hammer at the 2023 World Championships and at the age of 21, his better days should be ahead. Rogers is also a hammer thrower who made it a gold double in the event in Budapest. Mitton is a shot putter and reigning Commonwealth champion.
The loss of the men’s 50km walk is not good news for Evan Dunfee. The bronze medallist from 2020 powered home, stronger at the line than at any other point to grab a medal. That event has been shelved in Paris, so Dunfee has to participate in the 20km walk instead. A race with a completely different cadence is going to be a huge test for him.
One of the big achievements at the 2023 Pan American Games was the twin successes of Brian Yang and Josephine Wu in Badminton. Yang did not make it out of the group stages in Tokyo at the age of 19 but has improved massively since. The pair will have to make another big step forward to win in Paris but they have an outside squeak of a medal.
This is the first time that breaking has been an Olympic sport with the competition taking part in the famous Place de la Concorde. Phil Wizard (Philip Kim) is ranked number one in the world and is considered one of the best chances of a gold medal that Canada has in Paris.
Katie Vincent won bronze with her then canoeing partner Laurence Vincent Lapointe in Tokyo in the women’s C2 500m. Lapointe has now retired but Vincent made the final in the C1 200m as well at that Olympics, finishing 8th. Vincent is now partnered with Sloan MacKenzie with whom she won bronze in the C2 500m at the Canoe Sprint World Cup in 2023.
24 cyclists went to Tokyo, the biggest team that Canada has ever sent to an Olympics. Kelsey Mitchell was the star turn, winning the women’s sprint gold medal. The pursuit teams finished 4th (women) and 5th (men) and both teams will have hopes of improving enough to be in medal contention in Paris.
Gunnar Holmgren and Jennifer Jackson won gold medals at the 2023 Pan American Games in cross-country mountain biking. As with all of the medalists from Santiago, the Olympics represent a massive step up in the quality of the opponents that they will take on but confidence will be high.
Golf was an Olympic sport in both 1900 and 1904 but was not seen again at the games until 2016. Corey Connors and Nick Taylor would be the two main hopes for Canada in Paris with Connors making it into the top 25 players in the world and Taylor winning the Canadian Open on the PGA tour in 2023.
This will be the 4th Olympic Games for Ellie Black who played a huge part in getting the women’s team into the Olympics courtesy of a bronze at the World Championships in 2022. She was 4th in the balance beam in Tokyo and her experience should prove invaluable for the team.
Felix Dolci is improving year on year. The reigning Pan American Games champion on the floor and all around, he made the top eight in three events at the World Championships last year. Only 21 years old, he might be capable of making the small margin of improvement that is required to get himself on the podium in Paris.
The other star in Santiago was Zachary Clay who won gold on the pommel horse. He is the first Canadian to ever win gold in that event, part of the men’s team that finished 7th in the World Championships in 2023, he will be hoping to continue that form over into 2024.
Jessica Klimkait won a bronze medal in Tokyo. She won gold at the 2021 World Championships, picking up bronze in both the 2022 and 2023 worlds. Ranked second in the world in the 57 kg category, the only woman rated higher is her Canadian teammate, Christa Deguchi.
Deguchi won the 2023 World Championships to lift herself to the top of the world rankings. The pair are expected to both be stood on the podium when the medals are handed out in Paris, the difficult part is trying to predict who will come out on top.
One of the gold medals won in Tokyo was the Women’s Eight. There was a bronze from Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens in the women’s pair while in the men’s pair, Kai Langerfeld and Conlin McCabe finished 4th. The representatives for Paris are not known yet but the 43 medals won by Canadian athletes in rowing makes it the third most successful sport at the Olympics for the country.
Along with athletics, six medals were won in the pool in Tokyo but better than that is coming in Paris. Maggie MacNeil dominated the 2023 Pan-American Games in Santiago and while the Olympics is much deeper in terms of quality, she won the 100m butterfly gold as well as picking up a relay silver in 2020.
Kylie Masse won two medals in Tokyo so will be hoping she can add to that haul in Paris. She is one of the senior members of the team at the age of 28 and 2023 was not a strong year for her so she is going to have to be at her very best.
There is little doubt that one of the biggest hopes for Canada at the 2024 Olympics is Summer McIntosh. The teenager is capable of racking up the medals in Paris and we fully believe she will, tipping her a year in advance to be the 2024 Northern Star winner last month. The 17-year-old is a phenom and she can take a starring role.
Four medals were won at the 2016 Olympics by Penny Oleksiak. She won another three in Tokyo including two in the relays. Still only 23, she is going to be a key part of the relay squads again to add to her tally. Recent injuries have not helped her preparation so a clean run from now until the summer is hoped for.
The gold medal won by the Women’s team in Tokyo was a bit of a surprise but a bigger one is how poor the team has been since. Failing to make it out of the group stages in the 2023 World Cup was a bitter disappointment which needs to be used as motivation for Paris. They have returned with a medal at three straight Olympics so the pedigree is there to make it four.
The strongest chance of a medal here is Laylah Fernandez. The 2024 Olympics will be the first tennis tournament on clay since 1992 in Barcelona and this is what will give Fernandez the strongest chance of returning with a medal.
As a singles competitor, she made the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros in 2022. Last year, she made the final of the women’s doubles with American Taylor Townsend. She was a US Open finalist in 2022 as well in singles competition so Fernandez knows what it takes to get to the final stage of the big competitions. On clay, she has to have a strong chance of another deep run.
Another gold in Tokyo came from Maude Charron in the 64 kg class. Twice a Commonwealth gold medalist as well as winning a pair of golds at the Pan American Championships, Charron has enjoyed an excellent career and another medal in Paris would add a further coat of gloss.
We are expecting the Tokyo medal haul of 24 to be surpassed in Paris. Probably not by much but we are hoping 27/28 will be on the board come the end of the games and that will include eight gold medals.
That should see Canada make it into the top 10 in the medals table for the first time since the 1984 games that the Soviet Union and East Germany amongst others boycotted. There is always something special about an Olympics and cheering your country on to a string of medals, always makes it even more so. We look forward to doing that later this year.