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Olympic Winter Games 2022

Excerpt from Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Olympic Winter Games 2022

Canadian Athletes

Hon. Marty Deacon: Honourable senators, even today, in the light of a global crisis, I will take this moment to once again acknowledge and celebrate the efforts, the work and the sacrifices of our athletes at the Olympic Winter Games.

On the final day of the games, Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa was Canada’s flag bearer — a wonderful young lady returning to Canada with gold, silver and bronze speed skating medals around her neck.

Sunday, the last day, continued with Justin Kripps and his crew needing to have a perfect, clean run down the bobsled track to make it to the podium. Very late on Saturday night for us at home, they did — winning a bronze.

There was also Cendrine Browne, who battled through the elements for a sixteenth-place finish in the freestyle version of the 30-kilometre mass start in cross-country skiing — Canada’s best ever Olympic result on that quiet Sunday.

As you know, these athletes did not have their families there. For some, they spoke to their mom or dad at the starting gate or before they stepped on the ice, but if you were following the games on TV or social media, clips will demonstrate they did their best to connect as a team while in a tight bubble throughout three villages in China.

What was Canada’s performance goal at these games? It was primarily to get athletes safely to Beijing, safely to competition and safely back to Canada. It was also to create the conditions for their best performances, some athletes having not competed in more than 500 days.

Under these conditions, 23 medals would have been fantastic. In the end, we had 17 best-ever Canadian results at an Olympic Winter Games. Our athletes are bringing home 26 medals, 8 fourth-place finishes, 9 fifth-place finishes, and 68 top-eight finishes. Being this close is a heartbreak for athletes, but it indicates the depth of talent, performance and resilience of this team.

Following the first-ever bronze medal in ski jumping, Canada joined the United States in having won at least one medal across 14 Olympic winter sports — the most among all national Olympic committees.

On Sunday at the closing ceremony, you saw many athletes celebrate. As they reached into the back collar of their jackets, a gift, our Canada flag, was released from every jacket as they walked into the stadium. The Maple Leaf was everywhere.

Many athletes will arrive home Tuesday to no media or fanfare, all due to COVID, but we clap, cheer and thank every one of those 490 members of Team Canada. We also thank the volunteers and staff who, in many cases, spent 40 days in Beijing ensuring a million small things went just as they should.

Colleagues, I invite you to join me in congratulating all of Team Canada. Thank you for your participation in National Health and Fitness Week and wishing our Paralympic athletes the very best next week.

Thank you, meegwetch.

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