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Penny Oleksiak captures Canada's first gold medal of Rio Summer Games

Canada's Penny Oleksiak races the women's 100-metre freestyle semifinals during the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
August 12, 2016 - 8:46 AM

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 on Thursday at the Rio Olympics with Simone Manuel of the United States.

Oleksiak and Manuel finished in an Olympic record time of 52.70 seconds, while Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden captured 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. It means so much."

Oleksiak becomes the first Canadian to win four medals in a single Summer Games. She has already won silver in the 100-metre butterfly, and has 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 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."

It's also Canada's first gold of the Games and moves them into 13th in the overall medal standings with one gold, one silver and five bronze. The United States leads the count with 38 medals (16 gold), with China close behind with 30 medals (11 gold).

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 5-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 St. Louis Games.

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 and five players, including Germany's Alex Cejka, were right behind them at 67. David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., opened with a 2-over-par 73.

The top four players in the world — Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, 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.

Daniel Nestor's shot at a second Olympic tennis gold medal ended Thursday when he and partner Vasek Pospisil lost their semifinal 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 United States in the bronze-medal match on Friday. Spain will play Romania's Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau in the tournament's final.

Nestor, who won Canada's only Olympic tennis medal with a gold in men's doubles in 2000, was added to this Olympic team after star Milos Raonic withdrew because of concerns over the Zika virus.

In volleyball action, Nicholas Hoag scored 11 points as 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 in their final preliminary round match after a 2-0 win over Germans Karla Borger and Britta Buthe. 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 Thursday.

Canada's track and field team lost sprinter Kim Hyacinthe of Terrebonne, Que., native because she suffered a leg injury late last month in a 200-metre event at the London Anniversary Games.

Although cleared by doctors, Hyacinthe was unable to pass an event-specific fitness assessment in Toronto this week and was withdrawn from the Games.

Also Thursday, Canada finished fourth in women's track cycling team pursuit qualifying to advance at the event's semifinals.

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 United States was second in 4:14.286 at the Rio Olympic Velodrome, while the Aussies clocked in at 4:19.059.

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

In men's boxing, Toronto's Arthur Biyarslanov won his preliminary bout over Jordan's Obada Alkasbeh in the men's 64-kilogram boxing event. In men's field hockey, Canada lost 4-2 to Ireland.

Off the field of play, the CBC apologized Thursday morning after one of its Olympic commentators said on the air that a Chinese swimmer "died like a pig" during her race the night before. Swimming analyst Byron MacDonald, who didn't seem to realize his microphone was still live, made the comment following Wednesday's 4x200-metre women's relay. China placed fourth behind bronze medallist Canada with 14-year-old Ai Yanhan swimming the second leg.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previously version had Canada listed with the incorrect ranking in the overall medal standings.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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