Paralympics·THE BUZZER

Paralympic viewing guide: Aurélie Rivard swims for another gold

Here's what to watch on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, including Canada's best Para swimmer defending one of her titles.

Canada's top Para swimmer defends one of her titles on Day 1

Canadian swimmer Aurélie Rivard is looking to repeat as champion in the women's 50m freestyle S10 event. (Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images)

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The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are officially underway. Today's opening ceremony at Japan's National Stadium featured 162 flags — including those for the six-member refugee team and Afghanistan, whose athletes were unable to leave the country to compete after the Taliban regained power. Canada's flag was carried by Priscilla Gagné, a medal contender in judo. One hundred and twenty-eight Canadian athletes, including guides, are set to compete in 18 different sports at these Games. Read more about the opening ceremony and watch highlights here

Competition begins tonight at 8 p.m. ET, with two dozen sets of medals to be awarded on Day 1. Here's a guide to what to watch on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning:

Canada's best Para swimmer goes for another gold

Aurélie Rivard is the reigning Paralympic and world champion and holds the world record in the women's 50-metre freestyle S10 event (S10 refers to the disability classification), which begins with qualifying heats at 9:33 p.m. ET. The final goes at 6:12 a.m. ET.

Rivard, 25, also won gold in her 100- and 400-metre freestyle events at the 2016 Games in Rio and added a silver in the 200m individual medley to bring her career Paralympic medal count to five. That's the most of any woman on the current Canadian team. Rivard also owns 14 world championship medals.

After the 50m freestyle, Rivard will defend her title in the 100m free on Saturday and the 400m free on Sept. 1. She'll also compete in the 100m backstroke on Sept. 2 and the 200m individual medley on Sept. 3.

Four other Canadian swimmers are competing on Day 1: Alec Elliot (men's 50m freestyle S10), Nicholas Bennett (men's 100m butterfly S14), Angela Marina (women's 100m butterfly S14) and Shelby Newkirk (women's 50m freestyle S6). The latter three are making their Paralympic debuts.

WATCH | 5 Canadian Paralympians to watch for in Tokyo:

5 Canadian Paralympians to watch in Tokyo

1 year ago
Duration 2:45
Learn about one of the greatest wheelchair basketball players of all time, a track cyclist making her Paralympic debut after an incredible recovery, the king of Para triathlon and more with CBC Sports host, Jacqueline Doorey.

Other Canadian contenders to watch on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning

In chronological order:

Women's goalball: Canada vs. the Russian Paralympic Committee team at 9:30 p.m. ET

The women's tournament opener looks like a tight matchup. Canada is ranked sixth in the world and Russia is seventh. Canada placed fourth at the most recent world championships, in 2018. The team is looking for its first Paralympic medal since it took back-to-back golds in 2000 and 2004.

Goalball, which is for athletes with visual impairments, is one of two Paralympic sports that does not have an Olympic equivalent (boccia is the other). It's played on an indoor court, with soccer-like nets on each end that span the width of the playing surface. From just in front of their own net, athletes try to bowl the ball into their opponents' net and block their opponents' tosses. The ball has bells inside it to help players gauge where it is, and there are tactile markings on the court to help with orientation. Players and fans must remain completely silent so the ball can be heard. Read more about the Canadian team here and watch an explainer video on goalball here

Track cycling: Keely Shaw in the women's C4 3,000m individual pursuit event

The 27-year-old has a chance to win Canada's first medal of the Games. Shaw took silver in this event at the 2019 world championships and finished fourth in 2020. She'll make her Paralympic debut when the qualifying round starts at 9:56 p.m. ET. The final is at 1 a.m. ET.

Women's wheelchair basketball: Canada vs. Great Britain at 1:45 a.m. ET

Canada won five of the six women's world championships held from 1994-2014 before losing in the quarter-finals in 2018 — the most recent time the tournament was held. Great Britain took silver in 2018, losing to the Netherlands in the title game. Canada's last Paralympic medal in women's wheelchair basketball was a bronze in 2004, which came on the heels of three consecutive golds.

Wheelchair rugby: Canada vs. Great Britain at 4:30 a.m. ET

Also known as murderball because of the violent collisions that can happen, wheelchair rugby is a mixed event at the Paralympics. Canada has never won gold, but it has reached the podium in four of the six tournaments held. The team lost the bronze game to Japan in 2016 in Rio, then placed sixth at the most recent world championships, in 2018.

For the full schedule of Canadians competing on each day of the Games, go here.

How to watch live events

A variety of sports will be streamed live on CBC Gem, the CBC Sports app and starting at 8 p.m. ET. See the detailed schedule, which will include links to watch the events when they go live, here.

You can also watch competitions on the CBC TV network from 3-5 p.m., 7-8 p.m. and 12:30-2:30 a.m. in your local time

More on the Paralympics

Read a primer on the Tokyo Games here, and some fun facts about the Canadian team here. Read more about how Canada's athletes are approaching the Games, which are happening a year late and during Japan's worst wave of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, in this story by CBC Sports' Devin Heroux. Devin is in Tokyo covering the Games, and you can follow his tireless Twitter updates here

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