Montreal Tokyo 2020 Olympics summer olympic games

Montreal athletes to cheer for at the Tokyo Olympics

Four-time Olympic diver Jennifer Abel and tennis star Felix Auger-Aliassime are among the city’s representatives on Team Canada.

It’s been an unusual journey for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. As the opening ceremonies are underway, Tokyo is under another state of emergency due to the pandemic and organizer controversy has gotten more attention than the games itself. It’s an Olympics like no other held a year later with no spectators cheering the athletes on as countries hope for personal bests and medal finishes. Montrealers can get ready to watch a wide range of Montreal athletes in the Olympics, but bear in mind the 13-hour time difference.

Canada is sending its largest summer team with 370 athletes and the Games feature new sports such as skateboarding, sports climbing, karate and surfing. There are many Montrealers in the mix, some returning and many making their Olympic debuts.  

Leylah Fernandez is among the Montreal athletes to cheer for at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Canada is experiencing a golden age in tennis with great success for both men and women. Despite missing key players Bianca Andreescu and Denis Shapovalov due to COVID concerns, Montreal is well represented on the court. Monteal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime continues to be the talk of men’s tennis as the world’s 15th ranked player reached a career high in the Wimbledon quarterfinals this past month. He’ll be playing against defending Olympic Champion Great Britain’s Andy Murray in the first round. Laval’s Leylah Fernandez continues to excite and rise up the ranks as the 18-year-old was key to Canada’s success at the Billie Jean King Cup playoffs and won her first WTA title at the Monterrey Open this year. She’ll be playing Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine in the first round. The Olympic Tennis tournament will start on July 24. 

The Women’s rugby 7s will look to improve on their Rio Olympic bronze medal performance. Six members of the 2016 Rio team will be returning including Montreal’s Bianca Farella who is fifth on the all time Seven Series scoring list and became the second woman to reach 150 career tries when Canada captured Silver at the 2020 World Rugby Series in New Zealand. Canada will play Brazil on July 29. 

Canada’s women’s water polo team returns to the Olympics for the first time since the 2004 Athens games. A silver medal performance at the 2019 Pan Am games in Lima Peru helped the team qualify for the games. Part of the team from Lima includes Montrealers Axelle Crevier (a second generation player, her mother Marie-Claude Deslières was on Canada’s water polo team at the 2000 Sydney games), Elyse Lemay-Lavoie and team veteran and 2010 FINA World Cup All Star Joëlle Békhazi. Canada is up against Australia in the preliminary round on July 24. 

Caroline Veyre will be making her Olympic boxing debut in the newly added 57kg featherweight class. She has been competing internationally since 2013 and a gold medalist at the 2015 Pan Am games in Toronto in the 60kg lightweight class. Veyre will be fighting in the preliminaries July 26. 

Kristel Ngarlem is among the many Montrealers competing in the Summer Olympic Games in events such as tennis, diving, rugby, basketball and weightlifting

Kristel Ngarlem, who has competed internationally since debuting at the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow, will be making her Olympic debut in weightlifting. Ngarlem won bronze at the Roma Weightlifting World Cup in 2020, lifting a personal best of 233kg. She’ll be lifting in the 76kg on Aug. 1. 

Oliver Bone is among the Montreal athletes to cheer for at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

It’s a sailing comeback for Montreal’s Oliver Bone. He competed at the Beijing games in 2008 then retired in 2011. He coached the duo of Jacob and Graham Saunders in the 470 two-person dinghy at the 2016 Rio games. Now in Tokyo, Bone and Jacob Saunders are two of Canada’s nine sailors competing in the 470 on July 28. 

Guillaume Boivin was a recent addition to the Canadian road cycling team and will be the support rider for Canada’s Michael Woods in the Olympic road race on July 24. A pro cyclist since 2009, Boivin was a bronze medalist at the 2015 Pan Am games in Toronto, has raced in the Giro Italia and was recently the support rider for Woods at this year’s Tour de France. 

Meaghan Benfeito is among the many Montrealers are competing in the Summer Olympic Games in events such as water polo, fencing, boxing, sailing, cycling and judo

Diving is massive in Montreal. The city is sending a 10-member team led by four-time Olympian Jennifer Abel, who is aiming to win an individual medal in the 3m springboard as well as another medal in the synchronized 3m springboard with partner Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu (making her Olympic debut). Meaghan Benfeito returns for a third games and hopes to medal again after winning bronze in both the 10m platform and synchronized 10m platform in Rio with longtime partner Roseline Filion. Benfeito will be competing in the synchro event with Olympic newcomer Caeli McKay, who’s been her partner since 2017. Greenfield Park’s Pamela Ware returns for a second games and will be competing in the 3m springboard. The new faces of diving are Cédric Fofana in the 3m springboard, Pointe-Claire’s Nathan Zsombor-Murray in both the 10m platform and partnering with second time Olympian Vincent Riendeau in the 10m synchronized platform. The diving competition starts July 25.

Maximilien Van Haaster is among the Montreal athletes to cheer for at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Canada is sending its largest fencing team since Beijing 2008 and it features two Montrealers. Maximilien Van Haaster returns for his second Olympics competing in Individual and Team Foil on July 26 and Aug. 1 while Marc-Antoine Blais Bélanger will be making his Olympic debut in the épée individual event on July 25. 

Canada’s women’s basketball team are on a mission. After making the quarterfinals at both the London and Rio games, the fourth-ranked FIBA World team is aiming for a medal, featuring star player Kia Nurse and co-flag bearer Miranda Ayim. The women’s squad qualified for the games with an undefeated record at the FIBA Olympic qualifying event in Ostend, Belgium in 2020. The roster includes Montreal guard Nirra Fields at her second Olympics. A member of the national team since 2103, Fields had 34 points and 11 rebounds in Rio and was part of the 2015 Pan Am team that won Gold in Toronto. Canada will start their tournament against Serbia on July 26.

Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard is among the Montreal athletes to cheer for at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Japan is the birthplace of Judo and Canada is sending a six-person team to compete. The team includes Montreal’s Arthur Margelidon making his Olympic debut after missing the Rio games with a broken forearm weeks before competition. Margelidon has been on the podium five times at Grand Prix events and will be competing in the 73kg event on July 26. This will be the second Olympics for Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard who holds five Grand Slam medals, was a silver medalist at the 2015 Pan Am games in Toronto and will be competing in the 63kg event on July 27. 

Annie Guglia is a late addition to Team Canada as skateboarding makes its Summer Olympics debut

And finally, Montreal skateboarder Annie Guglia flew into Tokyo only a couple of days ago to act as a substitute in women’s street skateboarding. An injury to one of the competitors has now placed the three-time Canadian Nationals street champion into the event on July 26 as skateboarding makes its Summer Olympics debut. ■

To see when Montreal athletes will be competing, and for the complete Tokyo 2020 Olympics schedule, please click here.

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