Athletes from all over the world will gather in London, England over the next few weeks to compete in the planet’s second biggest international sporting event. Now, you’ll probably hear many sports commentators say that a summer Olympics is the greatest sporting event in the world.
Don’t believe them. We have to wait another two years for the world’s greatest and best sporting event - the World Cup of Soccer that will be held in Brazil in 2014.
Canada is a winter country and we don’t do too well in a summer Olympics. However, we’re getting better and our country’s Podium program has set a ‘top 12 in 2012 goal’ for this year’s Games.
According to some armchair experts, this goal is aggressive but it just might happen.
Who are the athletes that we should be keeping a special eye out for in the 2012 London Games? Well, there are several although we can’t highlight them all here.
However, let’s name some who just might earn a trip to the medal podium following their sporting events at this year’s Games.
Mary Spencer, a three-time world-boxing champion should have a good jab at earning a medal. Women’s boxing is making its debut at the London Games and it would be great if a Canadian girl won a gold medal in the event.
Spencer could also make Olympic and Canadian sports history by being the first North American aboriginal woman to win Olympic Gold.
However, Spencer will be in tough as she lost her most recent fight to American Claressa Shields and will also have to compete against China’s Li Jinzi.
Adam van Koeverden just might bring home a medal in the Men’s Kayak event. The 32 year old is the world’s current world champion in the K-1-1, 000 m race and, as such, should be the guy to beat in this event. The veteran Olympian has a medal of every colour and he’ll be paddling hard to add to his collection.
Koeverden’s main competition will be Germany’s Max Hoff who is a four-time world champion in this event. It will be very interesting to watch the gold medal race in this event.
Two athletes who might swim their way to the podium in London are Ryan Cochrane and Bret Hayden.
Cochrane won bronze in Beijing in 2008 in the 1,500 m freestyle event while Hayden won a silver medal at the world’s championship in the same event in 2011.
Of course, the difference between winning and painfully losing a medal in swimming is measured in hundredths of seconds, and you have to be at your best on race day. Let’s hope that those two guys can add to Canada’s medal count this time around.
Milos Raonic, a 21-year-old tennis sensation from Ontario might just add to our country’s medal count in 2012. He is an up-and- comer in the tennis world and, at times, he can compete with the best in the sport.
So, you never know. Let’s hope it’s game, set and match for Raonic in London in a medal contest.
Clara Hughes will be on of the really interesting Canadian athletes to watch at London.
Hughes is 40 now but shows no signs of slowing down. She has won medals in both winter and summer Olympics for Canada and this year she will be competing in the cycling event.
Although she won two bronze medals in Atlanta in 1996 she has not competed in a summer Olympics since 2000.
Hughes always gives it her best ride, so she could be a medal winner in 2012 as well.
Another athlete to watch in cycling is Tara Whitten. Although she only began taking the sport seriously in 2008, she has won two of the three world championships since the women’s omnium was added to the track cycling world’s.
Ms. Whitten has an excellent chance to bring a medal back from London.
Some experts believe that Canada could win as many as four medals in cycling, as Zach Bell is one of the world’s top cyclists in the men’s omnium event in cycling.
There are a number of other Canadian athletes we should be watching in London who just might bring home a medal or two for Canada.
No matter what happens in London, our athletes will perform their best and make us all proud to be Canadian.