Olympic champion Damian Warner named Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Closing flag bearer
TOKYO (August 8, 2021) – The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) named Olympic champion Damian Warner as Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Closing Ceremony flag bearer. Warner’s gold is one of 23 Team Canada medals as of Sunday morning, Canada’s largest number of medals at an Olympic Summer Games since Los Angeles 1984.
“Being named the flag bearer for this group of Team Canada athletes is a tremendous honour and an amazing way to cap what has been an unbelievable few days for me,” said Warner. “What each of us has gone through over the past 18 months to even get to these Games is what makes Tokyo 2020 all the more special. Though I compete alone, I’ve never felt more support, not only from my coach, Gar, and our team but from my community and everyone back home cheering us on. As a team we had our respective challenges training through the pandemic and that collective experience will always be a part of our story. It is a journey that we can all be incredibly proud of.”
Warner eclipsed three Olympic decathlon records on his way to being crowned Canada’s first Olympic decathlon champion. With 9018 points, he became the fourth decathlete in history to surpass the 9000-point mark. He shattered the Olympic record (8893 points) as well as the Canadian record he previously set in May of this year (8895 points) in Götzis, Austria. Warner is also the first Canadian decathlete to win multiple Olympic medals, having won bronze at Rio 2016. The only other Canadian to win an Olympic medal in the decathlon is Dave Steen, who captured bronze at Seoul 1988.
“This extraordinary group of Canadian athletes will always be remembered not only for their performances and results here in Tokyo, but also for their determination and ability to adapt,” said Eric Myles, COC Chief Sport Officer. “It’s so inspiring that Canadian athletes came into these Games having faced multiple challenges, including lockdowns that meant months of missed training, and challenges travelling for qualifications, and still performed at such a high level. The tremendous character of this group is embodied by Damian, a true champion both on and off the field. The determination shown by Damian and his team in finding creative ways to train, including transforming a local arena into a makeshift athletics facility, captures the gritty spirit of this team and the support they received from their communities. Damian and his coaches found a way, just like all of us have over these past 18 months. It’s stories like these that capture what the Olympic Games are all about for us in Canada.”
Team Canada will leave Japan with several more firsts and records. In addition to the historical medal haul, Team Canada won six gold medals at Tokyo 2020 – the most in a single Olympic Summer Games since Barcelona 1992. With seven career Olympic medals, three of which were earned in Tokyo, swimmer Penny Oleksiak became Canada’s all-time most decorated Olympian. Andre De Grasse won Canada’s first 200m sprint Olympic gold medal in 93 years. Adding a bronze in the men’s 100m and the men’s 4 x 100m relay, De Grasse became a triple medallist in the sprint events for the second consecutive Games. His career six medals have earned him the title of the most decorated male Olympian in Canadian history.
“In an Olympic cycle that threw everything at us that it could to try to divide us, it was incredible how united this Canadian team was,” said three-time Olympic champion and Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission, Marnie McBean. “From all 42 sport disciplines, there was a common thread. What bound them together wasn’t shared space but shared thought and perspective. They are now all forged by the same fire. I’m so proud of our athletes and coaches, for their resilience, focus and courage that they displayed on the field of play – committing to ambitious plans, going for it, because they know that’s where Canadian sport is – they came here ready and believing in more. I predict this team is just getting started to make its impact on Canadian communities and international sport.”
Other Team Canada Tokyo 2020 highlights include:
- Team Canada athletes who competed in women’s events won 17 of 23 medals so far;
- Canadian swimmers won six medals to match their historic performance at Rio 2016;
- The women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team won silver, delivering Canada’s first medal of Tokyo 2020;
- Jennifer Abel and Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu earned silver in the women’s synchronized 3m springboard event, Canada’s best-ever result in the event at the Olympic Games and the country’s best result in any diving event since Beijing 2008;
- Swimmer Margaret Mac Neil became the first Canadian Olympic champion in the women’s 100m butterfly;
- Jessica Klimkait became the first Canadian female to win an Olympic medal in judo with a bronze. Teammate Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard then also won bronze the following day;
- Rowers Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens won the bronze medal in the women’s pair, Canada’s first medal in this event since Barcelona 1992;
- Canada won its first Olympic medal in softball (bronze);
- Maude Charron became just the second Olympic weightlifting champion for Canada following Christine Girard’s gold at London 2012;
- Canada won its second gold medal in the women’s eight rowing event. Chef de Mission Marnie McBean was part of the 1992 Barcelona team that captured the first;
- Swimmer Kylie Masse is only the fourth woman to win silver in the 100m and 200m backstroke at the same Olympic Games;
- Canada’s bronze medal 4x100m medley relay team won the first Canadian medal in the event since Seoul 1988, while also breaking their own Canadian record;
- With a sixth-place finish in Laser Radial, Sarah Douglas posted the best finish by a Canadian woman in any individual Olympic sailing event;
- After sustaining a sprained ankle, Ellie Black finished fourth in the women’s balance beam which marked Canada’s best ever Olympic result in women’s artistic gymnastics;
- Camryn Rogers’s fifth-place finish is Canada’s best-ever women’s hammer throw at the Olympic Games;
- Lauriane Genest became Canada’s first-ever Olympic medallist in the women’s keirin track cycling event. She is also only the second Canadian female to ever win an Olympic medal in an individual track cycling event;
- Evan Dunfee became Canada’s first Olympic medallist in the 50km race walk (bronze);
- Mohammed Ahmed became the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal in a men’s long distance track event with a silver in the men’s 5000m;
- The women’s soccer team won Canada’s first gold medal in a women’s summer team sport. It is also the first Canadian gold medal for a summer team sport in 113 years, dating back to the men’s lacrosse team‘s triumph at London 1908;
- Canadian soccer player Quinn became the first openly transgender, non-binary athlete to win an Olympic medal;
- In the Olympic debut of women’s canoe events, Laurence Vincent Lapointe was the first silver medallist in the women’s C1 200m. Vincent Lapointe and Katie Vincent then captured bronze in the inaugural women’s C2 500m sprint.
Story and Photo: Canadian Olympic Committee