Jacqueline and Luc recommend their five must-watch events for Team Canada fans from now until Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony on August 21.
Associate producer at CBC Sports
When asked for her favourite sports, Jacqueline has a hard time picking one: “There are so many!” After some thought, she says: “Indoor volleyball is my favourite… or women’s basketball. Don’t ask me to choose!” Jacqueline joined us about a year ago just in time for the Toronto Pan-Am games. This summer, she’ll have her eyes on Rio.
Executive Producer, Sports, Radio-Canada
As the person in charge of Radio-Canada’s Olympic TV coverage, Luc says his life over the past few months can be summed up in one word: “Busy!” And he speaks on behalf of his entire team: “It’s a great group of passionate people who are enthralled by sports and new challenges. They really love what they do.”
Rugby Sevens — picked by Jacqueline
Rugby Sevens is a new sport at the Olympics, but Canadians have another reason to get excited about it. Internationally ranked no. 2, our country has “a really strong women’s squad and they’re in really great pool”, says Jacqueline. Competing first against Japan, Brazil and Great Britain, “Canada is starting with the upper hand.”
First match (women) August 6 at 11:30 a.m. ET against Japan
Three-metre synchro — picked by Luc
Members of Canada’s Fab Four diving team, “Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware are likely to give Canada its first medal as of day 2,” says Luc, who also expects Abel to capture another medal on August 12 in the three-metre individual event. “She could become the first Canadian female diver to win a medal in individual springboard since Annie Pelletier.”
Synchronized 3m springboard (women): August 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Individual 3m springboard (women), preliminaries on August 12 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Beach volleyball — picked by Jacqueline
“People don’t necessarily associate beach volleyball with Canada”, says Jacqueline. But recently, “Canada has been absolutely killing it.” Our country is one of only four that have qualified the maximum allotment of athletes, including the impressive Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley. And “they’ve said they’re going to Rio to get on the podium.”
First match (men) on August 6 at 10:00 a.m. ET against Brazil
First match (women) on August 7 at 2:30 p.m. ET against Netherlands
Track cycling — picked by Luc
Luc raves about cyclist Hugo Barrette: “We’re talking about a guy who came inches from death while training last year. He managed to qualify for Rio on the last chance he had in one of the most high-profile competitions of the season.” Hugo was featured in an inspiring report about resilience in sports as part of the Je vais à Rio series.
First round of the keirin (men) on August 16 at 9:18 a.m. ET
100-meter sprint — picked by Jacqueline and Luc
With a personal best time of 9.92 seconds, Andre de Grasse is “Canada’s golden boy for the 100 meters”. In the year and a half leading up to the Games, “Andre quit school, moved to a new country to train with a new coach, and signed a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract with Puma… It will be interesting to see how this 21-year-old kid from Markham, Ontario deals with the pressure.”
In Luc’s opinion, the men’s 100 metres is the “showpiece event of the Games.” And for good reason: “For the first time since 1996 in Atlanta with Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin, we have a shot at a medal with Andre de Grasse.” Why all this enthusiasm for Andre? “Andre made a name for himself at the Pan-Am Games and cemented his status at the world championships. If he takes home a medal, he’ll be a serious candidate to unseat Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin.”
100-meter sprint (men), preliminaries on August 13 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Are these the sports you had on your list? Do you have other suggestions for must-see events?
– Julien Faille-Lefrançois, Writer-editor, Enterprise Communications