(This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.)
By Dan Plouffe, Charlie Pinkerton, Mark Colley, Martin Cleary & Adamo Marinelli
Today marks the first of 18 straight days we’re going to bring you coverage on our Ottawa athletes competing at the 2022 Canada Summer Games from Aug. 6-21 in Niagara Region, and we couldn’t be more excited to tell you the stories of these rising local athletes!
This is the first time we’ll be providing daily coverage of the Canada Games, though it will mirror what we did for the four Ottawa at the Olympics and Paralympics Games that took place within this past year.
One big difference is we’ll have boots on the ground reporting live – Mark Colley will lead the Ottawa Sports Pages‘ coverage from Niagara, with Dan Plouffe covering several days as well, and Charlie Pinkerton, Adamo Marinelli and Martin Cleary supporting the effort from back home.
And another big difference is the massive number of Ottawa athletes we’ll be following in Niagara – FIFTY-ONE!
Oh boy, it’s going to be a daunting task for our Sports Pages team to keep track of that many athletes, but we have been training and preparing just like the competitors, except, you know, without sweating or leaving a sitting position…
But we are ready to get you ready for the Games, so let’s tell you some more about our the Canada Games and our local team.
About the Canada Summer Games
Juuuust in case you need a little refresher on what these Canada Games are all about, let’s start with that.
The Niagara Region will welcome more than 5,000 total participants (including 3,766 registered athletes, along with coaches and support staff) for the 14th edition of the Canada Summer Games and 28th overall (including 14 Winter editions).
Featuring teams from each province/territory, the Canada Games alternate between Summer and Winter with a similar quadrennial schedule as the Olympic Games. The first Games were held in 1967 to mark Canada’s centennial.
The age categories vary by sport, but generally speaking, athletes are in their late teenage years or early 20s. The Canada Games often provide young participants a first taste of a multi-sport games and allow them to gain experience on the road to representing Canada at senior-level games.
Roughly two-thirds of Canadian Olympians competed at Canada Games before making it to sport’s biggest stage, so we’re very excited to see which stars might emerge from the group we’ll be meeting in the coming weeks.
We remember how elated Isabelle Weidemann was to finish fourth at the Canada Games once upon a time (she of course went on to win three Olympic speed skating medals this past winter).
But before realizing their five-ring dreams, local and Team Ontario athletes have some business to take care of in Niagara. They’ll be expected to help the host province hold onto the Canada Summer Games flag (awarded to the province/territory that’s accumulated the most points in their ranking system).
Ontario has the chance to make it a neat dozen in a row, having earned the most flag points in every edition since 1977.
And dare we say our local team definitely has the firepower to do it.
Ottawa overrepresented at Canada Games
Ottawa is punching far above its weight with a giant team of 51 athletes ready to rock with Team Ontario, and many of them are already national champs in their sports.
One out of eight members of Team Ontario are from Ottawa, which is about double what’s expected based on population.
The biggest crop of national champs hail from the Rideau Canoe Club, which has won the past three Canadian club titles. Eight of 18 Team Ontario canoe-kayak athletes represent Rideau, and many have previously won individual national gold medals in their age groups.
Their crew is led by 2019 world junior championships medallist Maren Bradley, who was a six-time Canadian junior champion that same season.
In total, Ottawa has representatives in 14 of the 18 sports on the Canada Games programme (worth noting is that many summer sports – like boxing, fencing and gymnastics, for example – are actually part of the winter event, to keep make both Games a similar size).
Half the sports take place in the first week of the Games, and the other half the next. In week 1, we’ll be following Ottawa athletes competing in basketball, box lacrosse, cycling, rugby sevens, soccer, swimming, tennis and wrestling.
If you’ve been visiting our website regularly the past two weeks, then you probably already know a bit about some of the athletes.
We published a 10-part Series of Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Profiles, which was presented by City of Ottawa Sports Commissioner Mathieu Fleury (we were thrilled to have Councillor Fleury supporting our publication and the local sports community once again – thanks so much Mat!)
You can find all those stories on our Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games central webpage at OttawaSportsPages.ca/Ottawa-at-the-2022-Canada-Summer-Games.
You’ll also find the full roster of 51 local athletes competing in Niagara, along with their name, sport, headshot and links to their Instagram pages and bios/competition schedules on the Canada Games site.
It’s a very impressive group, and we’re looking forward to telling you all about them in the coming weeks.
What’s in store
A few final words on what you can expect from us throughout the Games. Subscribers to our free Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter will receive an email early each morning throughout the Games. The newsletter will feature a recap of the previous day’s action, and a preview of what’s ahead every day.
Today, we got you setup with a general overview of the Games and who’s involved from Ottawa. Tomorrow, we’ll zoom in more on some of the action ahead and share some stories on local athletes’ journeys to the Games.
Competition kicks off on Sunday following tonight’s 8 p.m. Opening Ceremony at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines. The Ceremony includes a parade of teams and the lighting of the Canada Games cauldron, which will conclude the final leg of the torch relay that began at Parliament Hill.
The Opening Ceremony will be livestreamed via the Niagara 2022 website, as will an impressive amount of the sports themselves (you can view the full schedule they’ve got planned at https://niagara2022games.ca/watch ).
Quick request from us: if you know anyone who might like to receive our Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter, you can send them the following link where they can get more info and sign up: OttawaSportsPages.ca/Ottawa-at-the-Canada-Summer-Games-Daily-Newsletter/
Now, to keep tradition, we’ll finish our Day 1 newsletter by officially declaring: LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
(This article was first sent to subscribers of the free Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign us to receive it below!)
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