Road To The Olympic Games

Swimming

Penny Oleksiak wins gold, captures historic 4th Olympic medal

Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak, an incredible surprise at these Olympic Games, added to her record medal haul on Thursday, tying American Simone Manuel for gold in the 100-metre freestyle. The 16-year-old sensation became the first Canadian summer athlete to win four medals in a single Olympics.

Canadian ties American Simone Manuel in 100-metre freestyle, and both athletes make history

Penny Oleksiak reacts after winning gold in the 100-metre freestyle. The young swimmer quickly emerged as the darling of the Rio Olympics for Canadians. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

By Callum Ng, CBC Sports

Penny Oleksiak now stands alone in Canadian Olympic history.

The 16-year-old swimmer captured gold in the 100-metre freestyle, adding her stunning fourth medal, the most by a Canadian at a single Summer Olympics.

The Toronto native tied American Simone Manuel in a new Olympic record time of 52.70 seconds. Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom was third in 52.99 seconds.

Oleksiak turned seventh at the halfway wall, well out of the race.

But as she has done all week, the young swimmer then did something remarkable.

With a resounding second 50-metres, almost half a second quicker than anyone else, Oleksiak drove to the wall with a chance for gold.

As the results fluttered onto the scoreboard, with the building in chaos, it became clear both Oleksiak and Manuel had rippled the touch pad at the same time.

The Canadian waited to catch her breath, then — in a manner that has become her own — slowly turned to look at the scoreboard.

Gold.

Oleksiak's family hugged in disbelief. The teenager hugged Manuel, who also made history as the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in an individual swimming event.

Oleksiak's eyes glistened as she gazed at her remarkable feat.


"The last 15 metres, I put my head down and I bit my lip and I was just going as hard as I could," Oleksiak said.

"This is amazing, to tie for a gold. I never thought I'd win a gold."

It's Canada's first Olympic title in the swimming pool since Mark Tewksbury won the 100 back in Barcelona 24 years ago.

And at only 16 years and 59 days old, Oleksiak is also the youngest gold medallist in Canadian Olympic history.

Maybe lost in the splash? It is Canada's first gold medal of the Rio Olympics, out of seven overall. 

It is also the swim team's fifth medal, including Oleksiak's haul of silver in the 100 fly, two bronze medals from the 4x100 and 4x200 freestyle relays, plus Windsor, Ont.'s Kylie Masse tying for bronze in the 100 back.  

Oleksiak is now one medal shy of tying Cindy Klassen's record for the most hardware at an Olympic Games, summer or winter. The speedskater won five at Turin 2006.

"I definitely knew the pressure was on to try and I guess make history and get four medals," Oleksiak said. "But it wasn't something I was trying to think about before my race, I was just trying to think about swimming as fast as I could and to be happy with whatever outcome."

Another incredible part of the Penny Oleksiak story? It's not over. She has the 4x100 medley relay on Saturday.

Other Canadians in the pool

White Rock, B.C.'s Hilary Caldwell turned in a strong 200 back to qualify second for Friday's final. Her teammate, Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ont., finished ninth and did not advance. Neither did Santo Condorelli, of Kenora, Ont., in the men's 50-metre freestyle.

In the women's 200 breaststroke, Kelowna, B.C.'s Kierra Smith was seventh.  

With files from The Canadian Press

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