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Oleksiak strikes first gold


RIO DE JANEIRO—Penny Oleksiak continues to solidify herself as a teenage swimming sensation.

The 16-year-old from Toronto tied for gold in the women’s 100-metre freestyle last night at the Rio Olympics with Simone Manuel of the U.S.

Oleksiak and Manuel finished in an Olympic record time of 52.70 seconds, with Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden capturing bronze in 52.99 seconds.

“This is amazing, to tie for a gold. I never thought I’d win a gold,” Oleksiak said.

“She [Manuel] deserves it as much as me,” she added.

“It means so much.”

Oleksiak becomes the first Canadian to win four medals in a single Summer Games.

She already won silver in the 100-metre butterfly and also had bronze medals in the 4x100-metre and 4x200-metre freestyle relays.

“I definitely knew the pressure was on to try and, I guess, make history and get four medals,” Oleksiak noted.

“But it wasn’t something I was trying to think about before my race,” she stressed.

“I was just trying to think about swimming as fast as I could and to be happy with whatever outcome.”

It also was Canada’s first gold of the Games.

Canada’s strong day didn’t just stop in the pool.

Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask. fired four birdies over his first eight holes en route to a five-under-par 66 as Canada started defence of its 112-year-old Olympic golf title.

DeLaet sits in second spot after Marcus Fraser closed his round a short time later with a blistering 63.

It was the first round of golf played at the Olympics since Canadian George S. Lyon won gold at the 1904 Games in St. Louis.

Lyon played so long ago that he was born in Richmond, Canada West—the British colony that became Ontario after Confederation in 1867.

“It’s pretty cool,” DeLaet said.

“First time in over 100 years and we’re leading the charge here at the Olympics.”

Henrik Stenson of Sweden also opened with a 66 while five players, including Germany’s Alex Cejka, were right behind them at 67.

David Hearn of Brantford, Ont. opened with a two-over-par 73.

The top four players in the world—Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy—are not in Rio, but the field still boasts big names like Stenson, Bubba Watson, and Martin Kaymer.

Play continues through Sunday.

The women’s tournament begins Wednesday.

Canada will be represented by Alena Sharp of Hamilton and world No. 3 Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont.

Earlier today, Canadian rowers Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee won a silver medal in the women’s lightweight double sculls at the Rio Olympics.

The Victoria duo raced to a time of seven minutes, 5.88 seconds at Lagoa Stadium.

Ilse Paulis and Maaike Head of the Netherlands won gold in 7:04.73 while China’s Huang Wenyi and Pan Feihong were third (7:06.49).

Canada has another chance at a podium later today when Will Crothers of Kingston, Ont., Kai Langerfeld of North Vancouver, B.C., Conlin McCabe of Brockville, Ont., and Tim Schrijver of Thedford, Ont. raced in the men’s four final.

In today’s early race involving a Canadian, Carling Zeeman of Cambridge, Ont. finished fourth in her women’s single sculls semi—just missing out on a spot in the final.

She will compete in tomorrow’s consolation race.

Canada’s women’s eight will take part in Saturday’s final.

Meanwhile, Daniel Nestor’s shot at a second Olympic tennis gold medal ended yesterday when he and partner Vasek Pospisil lost their semi-final to Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez 7-6 (1), 7-6 (4).

The Canadian duo will face Jack Sock and Steve Johnson the U.S. in the bronze-medal match today.

Spain will play Romania’s Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau in the final.

In men’s volleyball action, Canada fell 3-0 to France in preliminary round play.

It was their second-straight loss after upsetting the Americans in the tournament opener.

On the beach, Heather Bansley of Waterdown, Ont. and Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont. remained undefeated after a 2-0 win over Germans Karla Borger and Britta Buthe in their final preliminary round match.

The win gave Canada a perfect 3-0 record heading into the round of 16.

Canadian men’s beach duo of Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk also qualified for the round of 16 after beating Poland 2-0 in the lucky loser match late yesterday.

Also yesterday, Canada finished fourth in women’s track cycling team pursuit qualifying to advance to the event’s semi-finals.

Calgary’s Allison Beveridge, Georgia Simmerling of West Vancouver, B.C., and the Vancouver duo of Jasmin Glaesser and Laura Brown completed the 4,000-metre event where teams race in tandem with a time of four minutes, 19.599 seconds.

Britain set a new world record of 4:13.260 to top the field, besting Australia’s time at the 2015 world championships by 0.423 seconds.

The U.S. was second (4:14.286) at the Rio Olympic Velodrome while the Aussies clocked in at 4:19.059.

Canada now faces Britain tomorrow morning with a shot at the gold-medal final on the line while the U.S. will line up against Australia.

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