Summer Sports

Olympic viewing guide: Maggie Mac Neil swims for her 2nd medal; gold chance in judo

Here's what to watch Sunday night and Monday morning, including one reigning world champ going for her second swimming medal and another trying for Canada's first gold of the Games.

What to watch Sunday night and Monday morning

Canada's Maggie Mac Neil won a surprising world title in the women's 100m butterfly in 2019. But the competition looks tougher in Tokyo. (Martin Meissner/The Associated Press)

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Canada has its first two medals of Tokyo 2020. Last night, Penny Oleksiak anchored the women's 4x100-metre freestyle relay team to a silver, and a few hours later divers Jennifer Abel and Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu won their own silver in the women's 3-metre synchronized event.

More podiums could be in store tonight and Monday morning for Canadian athletes as we head into Day 3 in Tokyo. Let's start with the most popular sport taking place right now:

Can Maggie Mac Neil pull off another upset?

She produced one of the great surprises in Canadian swimming history at the 2019 world championships in South Korea. Competing in her first senior international meet, the 19-year-old Mac Neil upset Sweden's Sarah Sjöström to steal the women's 100-metre butterfly title. Sjöström was the world-record holder and reigning Olympic champion, and was favoured to take her fifth world title in six chances. But she had to settle for silver when Mac Neil stunned her with an Americas-record swim in the final. The University of Michigan freshman had shown promise a few months earlier by finishing second in the 100-yard butterfly at the always-tough NCAA championships, but still — this came out of nowhere.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and another swimmer could be emerging from relative obscurity to take the Olympic 100m butterfly title. China's Zhang Yufei is now the betting favourite to win gold after tying Australian star Emma McKeon for the fastest time in the heats and then topping last night's semifinals with a 55.89 — just six hundredths of a second off Mac Neil's winning time at the 2019 worlds. Zhang, 23, took bronze in the 200m butterfly at the 2015 world championships, but she couldn't even get out of the heats in that event at the 2019 worlds, where she also failed to qualify for the final in the 100. Now she's suddenly favoured to win Olympic gold in both events.

Mac Neil placed sixth overall in the semis, though she may have been saving something for the 4x100m freestyle final an hour later. She swam the second leg to help Canada take silver. Watch Mac Neil try for her second medal in as many days when the 100m butterfly final goes off at 9:30 p.m. ET — the first swimming race of the night.

Canadian swimmers are involved in two other medal races tonight:

Summer McIntosh: The 14-year-old phenom competes in the women's 400m freestyle final at 10:20 p.m. ET. In her qualifying heat this morning, she broke the Canadian record and swam the fifth-fastest overall time. McIntosh will be up against reigning Olympic champion Katie Ledecky of the U.S., and reigning world champ Ariarne Titmus of Australia.

Men's 4x100m freestyle relay team: It would be shocking if they win a medal, but it should be fun to watch 37-year-old Brent Hayden compete in his fourth Olympics (and first in nine years). He swam the opening leg in the heats, where Canada had the seventh-fastest time. The final is at 11:05 p.m. ET — the last swimming race of the night.

Also watch for Kylie Masse in the women's 100m backstroke semifinals at 10:53 p.m. ET. The 2017 and '19 world champion broke the Olympic record in her heat this morning, only to see Australia's Kaylee McKeown and American Regan Smith better it in theirs. The top eight swimmers will advance to Monday night's final.

All of tonight's swimming races will be broadcast live on the CBC TV network starting at 9:30 p.m. ET. You can also stream them live on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports' Tokyo 2020 website.

Penny Oleksiak anchors Canada to silver medal while Australia breaks world record

2 months ago
12:55
Penny Oleksiak, Maggie Mac Neil, Rebecca Smith, Kayla Sanchez won Canada's first medal of Tokyo 2020, claiming a silver medal in the women's 4x100-metre freestyle relay, while Australia set a new world record. 12:55

Also coming up Sunday night/Monday morning

Besides swimming, here are the sports I'll be paying the most attention to as competition resumes late this afternoon/this evening in Canadian time zones:

Triathlon

Tyler Mislawchuk isn't among the favourites to win the men's triathlon, but you could have said the same about Simon Whitfield before he shocked the world in Sydney 21 years ago. Mislawchuk, 26, has a few things going for him: he won the Olympic test event in Tokyo in 2019, and he won the last race held before the Games — in Mexico in mid-June. The always-entertaining swim/cycle/run medley, which takes about an hour and 45 minutes for the men to complete, starts at 5:30 p.m. ET. Read more about Mislawchuk here.

Judo

Jessica Klimkait has a good chance to win Canada's first gold medal of the Games. The Olympic rookie is seeded No. 1 in the women's 57-kg division after winning the world title last month. Matches start at 10 p.m. ET, and Klimkait's first bout is the 10th one up on mat 1. She has a bye to the round of 16 and will face the winner of an earlier match. Read more about Klimkait and how the Olympic judo tournaments work here.

Basketball

The Canadian men's team's failure to qualify for Tokyo was pretty crushing. But the fourth-ranked women's squad has a shot to win the country's first Olympic basketball medal since a men's silver on dirt courts at the 1936 Games in Nazi Germany. The Canadian women play their first game at 4:20 a.m. ET vs. Serbia. Read more about the team here.

Beach volleyball

The women's duo of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, who are one of Canada's best gold-medal hopes, look to improve to 2-0 in the group stage when they face a German team at 11 p.m. ET.

Softball

Canada completes its round-robin slate at 1:30 a.m. ET vs. winless Italy. The game means next to nothing for the Canadians, but it's a chance to regroup from today's gut-wrenching 1-0 extra-innings loss to Japan, which eliminated Canada from gold-medal contention. The top two teams after the round robin play for gold on Tuesday morning. That will be the United States and Japan, who came into the tournament ranked No. 1 and 2 in the world and are both 4-0 heading into their round-robin matchup tonight. No. 3-ranked Canada (2-2) will finish third in the round robin and play for bronze at midnight ET Tuesday (let's call that late Monday night) against either Mexico or Australia. Canada has already beaten both teams.

Tennis

Canada's only remaining singles player, Leylah Fernandez, faces reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic in the second round at 10 p.m. ET. Krejcikova is ranked 11th in the world. The 18-year-old Fernandez is 72nd.

This morning, Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime, seeded ninth for the men's event, was upset by 190th-ranked Max Purcell in the first round. The Australian was a last-minute fill-in for two-time Olympic champ Andy Murray of Great Britain, who withdrew due to an injury. Auger-Aliassime will play with Gabriela Dabrowski in the mixed doubles event, which starts Tuesday night in Canadian time zones. Dabrowksi and Sharon Fichman lost in the first round of women's doubles on Friday night.

One more big tennis upset to report: No. 1-ranked women's player Ash Barty of Australia lost her opening-round match to 48th-ranked Spanish opponent Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Some other interesting stuff you should know about

The U.S. men's basketball team is in trouble. Exhibition losses to Nigeria and Australia were red flags, and today's 83-76 defeat to France in their Olympic opener is more evidence that this team might just not be very good. This was the Americans' first Olympic loss since 2004, which also happens to be the only time they haven't won gold since the 1992 Dream Team ushered in the era of NBA stars playing in the Olympics. Superstars Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard combined for just 21 points today while NBA journeyman Evan Fournier torched the Americans for 28 points and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert made their lives tough at the other end. Read more about the game and watch highlights here.

Two of golf's biggest stars dropped out of the men's tournament. World No. 1 Jon Rahm of Spain and No. 6 Bryson DeChambeau of the U.S. both withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19. Rahm, you might remember, was leading the PGA Tour's Memorial event by a mile last month when a positive COVID-19 test forced him out. He says he was vaccinated shortly before that tournament. DeChambeau will be replaced by 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed, who's ranked 13th in the world. The Olympic men's tournament starts Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

A 46-year-old competed in women's gymnastics. The sport has evolved in such a way that it no longer prizes tiny, barely-teenage girls and now favours more powerful women. But still... 46! Oksana Chusovitina started out representing the Soviet Union, which fell apart three decades ago. Beginning with her first Olympic appearance, in 1992, she's now competed in eight consecutive Summer Games for three separate teams. In '92 it was the Unified Team (made up of athletes from the former USSR), then Uzbekistan, then Germany, then back to Uzbekistan starting with Rio 2016. Learn more about Chusovitina by watching this short video.

How to watch live events

They're being broadcast on TV on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. Or choose exactly what you want to watch by live streaming on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports' Tokyo 2020 website. Check out the full streaming schedule here.

Something else to check out

The 4% Rising newsletter. A study done a few years back found that only four per cent of traditional media coverage was devoted to women's sports. Hence the name of this newsletter focused on growing the audience by telling you what, when and where to watch. Right now, it's focused on the women's events you should catch in the Tokyo Olympics. You can read the latest edition and subscribe here.

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