Athletics Canada nominates largest squad to Team Canada for Rio

A colossal 65-athlete team has been named to compete for Canada in athletics at Rio 2016.

Following four days of Olympic trials in Edmonton, Athletics Canada nominated its team on Monday morning, which will be more than one fifth the size of the entire Canadian athlete delegation at the Games this summer.

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The leading lights of this group are Canada’s seven individual world medallists from Beijing 2015, although a hungry and emerging pool of talented runners, walkers, jumpers and throwers will be eager for their chance to take a lap around the Olympic track waving the maple leaf.

Team Canada in athletics will boast two world champions in high jumper Derek Drouin, and Shawn Barber in the pole vault.

Drouin already has an Olympic bronze from London 2012, though after his exploits in Beijing, he will be eager to try a different step of the podium in Rio. The high jumper is coolness-under-pressure personified, having won two world championship medals, as well as gold at the Commonwealth and Pan American Games since London.

Derek Drouin clears the bar during men's high jump at Olympic trials on July 9, 2016.

Derek Drouin clears the bar during men’s high jump at Olympic trials on July 9, 2016.

In Barber, Canada has an Olympic pole vaulter who did the unbelievable at worlds last year, getting the best of France’s Renaud Lavillenie – the most dominant figure in the discipline – to win gold. Since then Barber has joined the exclusive six-metre club in pole vault and has the belief that he is destined for greater success.

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Of the other athletes who stood on a world championship podium last summer, bronze medallist Andre De Grasse will highlight the men’s 100m, after winning the glamour event at Olympic trials in 9.99 seconds.

In combined events, Brianne Theisen-Eaton and Damian Warner – both world silver medallists in the heptathlon and decathlon, respectively, in Beijing – are going to their second Olympic Games, having achieved much success in their discipline since London 2012, including winning the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis, Austria.

Canada’s middle distance running contingent will be led by Melissa Bishop, the world silver medallist returning to the Games for a second time after winning the women’s 800m in Edmonton, posting another sub-two minute time.

Most top race walkers were absent from trials, but Canada boasts one of the strongest teams on the planet in this category, evidenced by an IAAF World Team Championship silver medal this year and Ben Thorne’s individual bronze at last year’s worlds, which got Team Canada rolling in Beijing and medals followed on a nightly basis.

While the decorated athletes above will receive plenty of attention, Canadians will have a far larger selection to follow in Rio.

Sprinters Aaron Brown and Brendon Rodney will head into the Games with something to prove. Brown has posted his first sub-10 second time in the 100m this summer and Rodney blasted out of the blocks at trials to clock an astonishing 19.96 seconds in the 200m on a cold, wet track. They’ll be an integral part of the men’s 4x100m relay team with Akeem HaynesBolade Ajomale and Segun Makinde. Canada won bronze in that event at worlds.

Crystal Emmanuel goes into the Games as the Canadian women’s 100m/200m champion from trials, showing she has come into form at just the right time. She will also be a part of the 4x100m relay team where the selection includes Kim Hyacinthe, Phylicia George, Khamica Bingham, Farah Jacques and Marissa Kurtimah.

Canada will have one athlete running the men’s 5000m/10,000m double in Mo Ahmed, who will be going to his second Olympic Games.

Also doing a distance double is Lanni Marchant, in the women’s 10,000m and marathon.

Canada will also have a full slate of women’s 1500 metre runners with Gabriela Stafford, Nicole Sifuentes and Hilary Stellingwerff all making the grade.

Liz Gleadle will be launching the javelin in Rio. The Canadian record holder joins a strong list of throwers that include Tim Nedow (men’s shot put) and returning Olympian Heather Steacy (women’s hammer).

These are just some of the athletes who’ve made the team in a long list. The full team list is available here.

The number of total Olympians representing Canada in athletics may change based on appeals and final participation.