Olympic wake-up call: Canadian cyclist ends with gold in Tokyo, passing the torch to Paris 2024

As Kelsey Mitchell stood on top of the Olympic podium, gold medal draped around her neck, she became the last athlete to cause ‘O Canada’ to play at the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Mitchell, 27-years-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., cycled to victory in the women’s sprint event. The Canadian defeated the reigning world champion on the way to the finals, then won two straight races in a best-of-three showdown

Her win makes it 24 overall medals for Canada — seven gold, six silver, and 11 bronze — to close out the Tokyo Olympic Games. It’s a Canadian record for a non-boycotted summer Olympics. 

Here’s more of what you might have missed on Sunday: 

Closing Ceremony

After postponement and uncertainty due to COVID-19 pandemic, the cauldron will be extinguished in Tokyo to signal the completion of these Games. But it won’t be long before summer sports are contested at the Olympics again, with athletes preparing for another run in Paris 2024.

Canadian decathlete and gold medallist Damian Warner will have the honour of carrying the country’s flag into the Olympic Stadium for the closing ceremony. The 31-year-old from London, Ont., became the first Canadian to win the decathlon at the same venue earlier this week.

Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

More from Tokyo 2020

Live coverage of the ceremony is available on CBC TV network, CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports’s Tokyo 2020 website. 

Medal count

Athletes competing for the United States won the most medals at the Games, ending with 113 podium finishes, of which 39 were gold. It’s the third-consecutive time the U.S. has topped the medal count standings in the summer. 

China took the second-place position with 88 medals (38 gold), while host nation Japan won 58 medals. 

It’s a new record on home soil for Japan, eclipsing their 41 medals won in London 2012. It also includes the most Olympic gold medals, 27, ever won by the country.

A close-up photo shows a Tokyo Olympic Games gold medal, won by Australia’s Jean van der Westhuyzen in the men’s kayak double 1000-metre final. (Luis Acosta/AFP via Getty Images)

Canada is just outside of the top 10 countries, earning the 11th most medals. Eighteen of those were captured in women’s events. 

Men’s marathon

As is tradition, the men’s marathon wrapped up athletics events in Tokyo earlier on Sunday. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge raced to a second-consecutive gold medal. Only two other men have ever done the same.

Canadian Ben Preisner finished 46th in his Olympic debut, running across the 42.195-kilometres in two hours 19 minutes and 27 seconds. He completed the course just over 10 minutes after the victor.

Fellow Canadians Trevor Hofbauer placed 48th and Cam Levins placed 72nd.

Canada’s Ben Preisner competes in the men’s marathon final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Sapporo on August 8, 2021. (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images)

Shake up in rhythmic gymnastics

For the first time since 1996, a country other than Russia has won the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around gold medal. 

Team Bulgaria came out in first place, while the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) came in second. 

Team Bulgaria reacts after winning the gold medal during the group all-around final in rhythmic gymnastics in Tokyo. ( Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The ROC was coming off an upset in the individual all-around, where it also didn’t win gold for the first time in 25 years. Linoy Ashram of Israel defeated identical twins and gold-medal threats Dina and Arina Averina of the ROC. 

Dina came in second place, while Arina ended in fourth. 

Olympic basketball record

The United States defeated Japan for its seventh-straight women’s basketball gold. 

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi have now won five Olympic gold medals — the most-ever by any Olympic basketball player. 

The U.S. came in first in three basketball tournaments in Tokyo. The Americans claimed victory in the men’s tournament, plus the women’s 3×3 basketball event — the country didn’t have a team qualify for the men’s 3×3 competition. 

Final gold medals 

France and Serbia earned the last two gold medals of the Olympics. 

It was a close match between France and the ROC for women’s handball gold, but the former pulled out the win. France will take home both handball gold medals, as the men’s team also emerged victorious in Tokyo.

Then Serbia beat Greece in men’s water polo, winning for the second-consecutive time as these Tokyo Olympic Games cross the finish line. 

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