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Canada entered the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England with the goal of finishing in the top three of the medal table.
Consider it mission accomplished. Canadian athletes combined for 92 podium appearances, capped off by Michelle Li’s badminton silver medal as competition wrapped up earlier today. The total fell only behind Australia’s 178 and England’s 176.
Hollie Naughton, who became the first Canadian ever to climb the squash podium when she scored silver, earned the honour of being named Canada’s flag-bearer.
Canada leaves England with 10 more medals than it won at the previous Commonwealth Games in 2018. Of the 92 medals, 26 were gold — a whopping 11 more than four years ago. Even more startlingly, swimmers accounted for 20 of those gold medals. And it was 15-year-old Summer McIntosh, fresh off a breakout performance at the world championships, leading the way once again with six podium appearances (two gold, three silver, one bronze) and a Canadian record in the 400-metre individual medley. Race walker Evan Dunfee, who won Olympic bronze in the 50-kilometre event, set the national 10k mark en route to gold. Reigning champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes (beach volleyball) and Maude Charron (weightlifting) successfully defended their titles. And every single Canadian wrestler will return home with hardware for a total of 12 podium appearances.
For many Canadian summer athletes, the whirlwind since last spring, when preparation and qualification for the Tokyo Olympics reached top gear, has finally passed. Some swimmers, for example, experienced two national trials, an Olympics, the world championships and the Commonwealth Games — five separate events at which they were expected to peak.
Now, there’s some breathing room. It’s possible you may see McIntosh at the world junior championships in early September, though it’s fair to wonder how much she’d gain from racing against diminished competition. Otherwise, the 2022 International Swimming League season was cancelled due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The World Cup series begins in October, with a stop in Toronto at the end of the month.
On the other hand, track athletes will return to the stretch run of their Diamond League season. Canadian and Commonwealth Games shot put champion Sarah Mitton placed third at a meet in Poland over the weekend as she pursues a spot in the Sept. 7-8 final in Switzerland. The third-last event ahead of the final goes on Wednesday in Monaco. Canada’s Aaron Brown, who skipped the Commonwealth Games, is entered in the 200m while Django Lovett will compete in the high jump. Andre De Grasse, who anchored Canada’s golden 4x100m relay squad at worlds, recently said he was unsure if he’d return to the track this season amid a lingering foot injury. Live action from Monaco is available across CBC Sports platforms beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
And if you’re still hungry for Olympic sports, then you’re in luck: the Canada Games, an inter-provincial youth competition taking place in Niagara, Ont., this year, began yesterday and is also available across CBC Sports platforms through the closing ceremony on Aug. 21.