Team Canada’s best moments of the 2010s
Can you believe it? We’ve reached the end of the decade!
To celebrate, we had (almost) no choice but to remember some of the best moments of the last 10 years.
Ready or not, here we go.
The Golden Goal
The overtime goal. In the final. On home soil. Against Team USA. No list of memorable Team Canada moments would be complete without Sidney Crosby’s golden goal at Vancouver 2010. After 7:40 minutes of overtime (and stress for Canadians everywhere), it was the young star who finally scored the winner, creating one of the greatest moments in Canadian sports history.
Joannie Rochette skates for her mother
The Olympic Games are always high in emotions, but Joannie Rochette’s tribute to her mother, who had passed just days before her short program, surpassed all expectations. Despite the difficulty of the situation, she delivered two incredible routines, good for the bronze medal. She also received the Terry Fox Award, which honoured Olympians who showed courage and humility in the face of adversity.
Alex Bilodeau gives Canada a long-awaited home gold
Can you believe that no Canadian gold medals were won at home at either Montreal 1976 or Calgary 1988? That left an opportunity for Alex Bilodeau to step in and say “Enough is enough.”
He grabbed hold of the gold medal in the men’s moguls at Vancouver 2010, becoming one of the most prolific Olympic champions in Canadian history. We’ll also remember this medal thanks to the incredible moment when he celebrated his win with brother Frédéric.
The adventure didn’t stop there for Bilodeau, who became the first Canadian man to successfully defend an individual Olympic gold medal at Sochi 2014.
The Charles Hamelin era
A half hour was all it took for Charles Hamelin to earn two gold medals at Vancouver 2010. He successively took top spot in the 500m and then joined up with his teammates for a thrilling first place finish in the 5000m relay in short track speed skating, making him the only Canadian double gold medallist of the Games.
Now with five Olympic medals from four Olympic appearances, he is tied as Canada’s most decorated male Olympian. . A standout in the world of short track speed skating over the last 10 years, including multiple world titles, Hamelin still wants more.
Clara Hughes skates into the record books
It was at Vancouver 2010 that Clara Hughes capped her collection of Olympic medals. With a total of six career podiums, she became one of the two most decorated Olympic athletes in Canada (alongside Cindy Klassen). But that wasn’t the end of her Olympic career, as she returned to road cycling – her first Olympic sport – to compete at London 2012.
Her brilliant double career earned her a well-deserved star on Canada’s Walk of Fame as she also became a voice in the fight for better awareness of mental health.
Christine Sinclair leads Canada’s breakthrough in women’s soccer
When Canada defeated France in the bronze medal match of the women’s soccer tournament, at London 2012, it was the first Canadian Olympic medal in a traditional summer team sport since Berlin 1936. Another bronze medal at Rio 2016 made the women’s soccer team the first Canadian team to win back-to-back summer Olympic medals since 1908.
But of course, we also need to talk about Christine Sinclair, the best Canadian soccer player of all time. With a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame since 2013, she is just two goals away from being the highest scoring player in the history of international women’s soccer. We’re already excited to see her write history once more with her team.
Captain Canada and his 10 Olympic Games
No one in Olympic history has had more longevity than Captain Canada, Ian Millar.
From his rookie experience at Munich 1972 to being a 61-year-old veteran who finally won his first Olympic medal at Beijing 2008 to participating in his record 10th Olympic Games at London 2012 at the age of 65, making him the oldest Olympian in Canadian history, Millar rode eight different horses over the course of his Olympic show jumping career.
Émilie Heymans dives into the history books
When Émilie Heymans got her hands on the bronze medal in the 3m synchro event at London 2012, she automatically earned a spot in the history books. In fact, combined with her medals earned at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, she was the first Canadian athlete and the first female diver in the world to step on the podium at four consecutive Olympic Games.
The cherry on top, Heymans was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame this past year.
Rosie MacLennan reigns on the trampoline
The flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony at Rio 2016, Rosie MacLennan bounced to her second straight Olympic title in individual trampoline. Her victory in Rio made her the first trampolinist to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals, the first Canadian to successfully defend her summer Olympic title, and the first Canadian female athlete to win two gold medals in an individual summer Olympic event. Can you say “historic?”
The “golden age” of Canadian hockey
2014 was a year full of colour for Canadian hockey. At the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, the men’s and women’s hockey teams both won gold, but the women provided a particularly thrilling moment.
While it was a fourth consecutive gold medal for the trio of Hayley Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford and Caroline Ouellette, the star was Marie-Philip Poulin. In a completely unrestrained final against Team USA, keeping Canadians on the edge of their seats (especially when that post kept the puck out), Poulin was at the centre of an incredible come back for her team, scoring two goals, including the game winner in overtime.
Wickenheiser was inducted into both the IIHF Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019. What better way to end the decade?
The rise of Canadian bobsleigh
The last decade was really something for Canadian bobsleigh. In three Olympic Winter Games, Team Canada notched six medals, including a 1-2 finish for the women at Vancouver 2010 and a rare gold medal tie in the men’s two-man at PyeongChang 2018. Justin Kripps built on that success with two-man and four-man medals at the 2019 World Championships, just the third Canadian pilot to achieve that.
The Olympics are a family affair for the Dufour-Lapointe sisters
Ah, the famous family of freestyle skiing! Justine, Chloé and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe wrote a new page in the sports history books simply by qualifying for the moguls event at Sochi 2014. They became the third trio of sisters in the world, and the first in Canada, to participate in the same event at the Olympic Winter Games.
Justine and Chloé brought home the gold and silver medals, respectively. They were just the third pair of sisters to hold the top two spots on the podium in the same event. Maxime retired before PyeongChang 2018, but the two younger siblings made it to the event final where Justine won the silver medal!
Ted-Jan Bloeman ends a long drought in long track
The peak of the decade for Ted-Jan Bloemen was his two Olympic medals at PyeongChang 2018. First came a silver in the 5000m, followed by gold in the 10,000m in Olympic record time. The last time a Canadian had won an Olympic medal in either event was 86 years earlier at Lake Placid 1932.
Before reaching this summit, Bloemen had broken an 8-year-old world record in the 10,000m in 2015 and a 10-year-old world record in the 5000m in 2017.
Mikaël Kingsbury, moguls king
Mikaël Kingsbury has dominated his sport over the last few years… and that’s the simplest way to sum up his accomplishments. In 2015, he notched World Cup win number 29, the most by a male moguls skier. In 2018, World Cup victory number 47 put him atop all moguls skiers in history. By the end of 2019, he had posted first place finishes in 58 of his 102 World Cup starts.
He solidified his GOAT status in 2018 when he won Olympic gold in PyeongChang, fulfilling his childhood dream. He even received the Lou Marsh Award that year. In 2019, he was crowned world champion for the fourth time and earned his eighth straight Crystal Globe as the overall World Cup champion for all of freestyle skiing.
READ: Childhood dream finally comes true for moguls champion Kingsbury
The success of Penny Oleksiak and the Canadian swim team at Rio 2016
Swimmers wearing the maple leaf amassed a total of six medals at Rio 2016, led by newcomer Penny Oleksiak, who picked up four of them.
At 16 years old, Oleksiak became the youngest Canadian Olympic champion and the first athlete from the country to win four medals at the same Summer Games, all this on her way to become the Lou Marsh Award recipient for 2016.
Andre De Grasse sprints to history at Rio 2016
Sprinter Andre De Grasse became one of Canada’s iconic faces at Rio 2016. He won two individual medals, bronze in the 100m and silver in the 200m, and helped the 4x100m relay team (which also included Akeem Haynes, Aaron Brown, and Brendon Rodney) to win bronze, all while breaking a 20-year-old Canadian record.
Just a few months out from Tokyo 2020, Andre De Grasse is back and in top shape to take on the new decade after winning two more sprint medals at the last world championships.
Brooke Henderson, best Canadian golfer ever
Brooke Henderson is now the most decorated Canadian golfer (man or woman) in history. It’s hard to believe her first title was only in 2015 when she triumphed at the Cambia Portland Classic as a 17-year-old. Four years later, in June 2019, she raised her ninth career trophy at the Meijer Classic to become the Canadian with the most LPGA or PGA titles.
Oh, and she was named Female Athlete of the Year by The Canadian Press three times (2015, 2017 and 2018).
Derek Drouin jumps (perfectly) to an Olympic title
At Rio 2016 Derek Drouin was the only high jumper to make it over the bar at 2.38m. It was the sixth height he jumped successfully on the first try, earning him the Olympic title.
By taking gold, Drouin became the first Canadian Olympic champion in an athletics field event since Los Angeles 1932. It followed up the bronze he won at London 2012 when he was part of a three-way tie for third place.
Kim Boutin, queen of PyeongChang 2018
Kim Boutin was a deserving selection as flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony at PyeongChang 2018. In her first Olympic Games, she brought home three medals, in addition to showing great strength in the face of adversity. She became the subject of online bullying after being awarded her first bronze medal following the disqualification of Korean competitor Choi Minjeong. But Boutin regrouped to stand on the podium twice more, including once with Choi during which they became symbols of friendship and sportsmanship.
Since her Olympic debut, Boutin has become the leader of the Canadian short track team, racking up World Cup medals and even breaking the world record in the 500m.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, obviously
No best-of-the-last-decade list would be complete without Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Considered by many to be the best ice dancers of all time, the duo won the hearts of Canadians early in the decade, going on to cement their status as figure skating legends.
READ: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s career highlights
Gold at Vancouver 2010, two silvers at Sochi 2014, and then two golds to end their careers at PyeongChang 2018 plus three world titles, serving as Opening Ceremony flag bearers in PyeongChang, and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame are just the tip of the iceberg of their accomplishments.
Virtue and Moir officially announced on September 11, 2019 that they would be hanging up their skates.
A first Olympic medal in luge is good, but two is better
There were a number of historic moments for Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018, but the medals in luge will remain etched in our memories, just for the celebration.
The party started when Alex Gough won bronze in women’s singles for the first ever Canadian Olympic medal in her sport. And if that wasn’t enough, she took the podium again just a few days later, as she and teammates Sam Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Smith slid to silver in the team relay event.
Christine Girard, Olympic champion six years later
The story of weightlifter Christine Girard is one of patience, strength, and honesty. At Beijing 2008, she finished at the foot of the podium and four years later, she came home with the bronze medal from London 2012. However, it was only in 2018 that she received the full credit she deserved as doping-related disqualifications allowed her to grab hold of the bronze from Beijing and the title of Olympic champion from London.
In 2019, she was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame to honour her amazing journey, a victory for clean sport.
2019, a shining year for Canadian tennis
Three names were on all lips in 2019: Bianca Andreescu, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov. Canadian tennis took flight this year, led by Andreescu’s US Open win, an accomplishment that earned her the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s Athlete of the Year. More recently, the men solidified Canada’s spot among the best in tennis thanks to their historic performance at the Davis Cup, where they reached the final for the first time ever.
READ: Bianca Andreescu’s rise to tennis stardom explained
Max Parrot beats cancer and rises to the top
Olympic silver medallist Max Parrot announced in January that he would be leaving the slopes to fight cancer. He spent the first half of the year undergoing chemotherapy before being cleared to get back on his board in July. He made his return to competition in late August… where he took gold in big air at the X Games in Norway.
That’s the soul (and perseverance) of a champion.
Alex Harvey bows out as the most decorated in Canadian cross-country skiing
Alex Harvey announced his retirement just a few weeks before the end of the season, making his last performance one of extreme emotions. He skied his swan song at home, at the World Cup stop in Quebec City, where he won two silver medals.
Harvey is the most prolific male cross-country skier in Canadian history, with his five world championship medals and 32 World Cup podiums.