Penny Oleksiak carries Canadian flag at closing ceremony of Rio Olympics

By on August 21, 2016


Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak bears the Canadian flag at the closing ceremony of Rio Olympics. (Photo: Team Canada/Twitter)
Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak bears the Canadian flag at the closing ceremony of Rio Olympics. (Photo: Team Canada/Twitter)

RIO DE JANEIRO—Penny Oleksiak capped a memorable Summer Olympics as Canada’s flag-bearer at Sunday’s closing ceremony of the Rio Games.

The 16-year-old swimming sensation from Toronto strode into the famed Maracana Stadium on a blustery and rainy night.

Oleksiak grabbed national attention back home early in the Games by winning four medals, including Canada’s first gold.

The rest of the Canadian team marched onto the floor of the massive stadium a few minutes later in red jackets and mittens as music blared, dancing and taking pictures with each other and athletes from other countries along the way despite the soggy conditions.

Canada won an impressive 22 medals in Rio to equal the total from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the high-water mark for a non-boycotted Games.

“During the past 19 days, Canadian Olympians—both veterans and newcomers—produced many memorable Olympic moments,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

“Canadians, especially our young women and girls, were incredibly inspired by our female Olympians who were a force to be reckoned with throughout the Games. I know the impact of our athletes’ accomplishments will live on and be replayed in playgrounds and on sport fields for many, many years to come.”

The country improved on the 18 medals won in London four years ago with four gold, three silver and 15 bronze—thanks in large part to six podium finishes each from the swimming and track teams. The four golds are also the most for Canada since the seven won at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Canada has aimed to get into the top-12 of the overall medal count since Beijing in 2008, but only met that target for the first time this summer after finishing 10th.