The world’s largest track meet starts today: the summer Olympics in Tokyo. Canada has 57-athletes competing in multiple disciplines over the course of the next 10 days. You can watch all of the action on the track live at www.cbc.ca/tokyo2020 or download and watch the action unfold on the CBC Gem app. Here’s who is competing for Canada over the weekend and who to watch.
Thursday, July 29
8:30 p.m. ET – Men’s 3,000m steeplechase heats
- In his second Olympics games, Canadian Matt Hughes will be looking to repeat or improve on his performance in Rio by advancing to the final
- John Gay from UBC will be making his Olympic debut after a impressive performance hitting the Olympic standard at the Canadian Track and Field Championships. Gay represented Canada at the 2019 World Championships in Doha in this event.
Who to watch – The American contingent of Hillary Bor and Mason Ferlic are gritty racers who tend to leave it all on the line. Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia will keep the pace fast and in control, holding the world’s fastest time this season of 8:07.75.
The final for the men’s 3,000m steeplechase will be held on Monday, Aug. 2. at 8:15 a.m. ET.
9:25 p.m. ET – Women’s 800m heats
- Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, Madeleine Kelly and Lindsey Butterworth will be competing for Canada in the heats.
- Bishop, now a veteran on the 800m scene in her third Olympic games, will be looking to use her experience to guide her through the early rounds toward another Olympic final.
- Kelly and Butterworth will both be making their Olympic debut in this distance and will look to continue their great string of recent performances.
Who to watch – 19-year old phenom Athing Mu of the U.S. ran the fastest time in the world this year at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.
The semifinals for the women’s 800m will be held on Saturday July 31 at 7:50 a.m. ET.
Friday, July 30
6:00 a.m. ET – Women’s 5,000m heats
- Andrea Seccafien, Kate Van Buskirk and Julie-Anne Staehli will be leading the charge for team Canada in the 12-and-a-half-lap race around the track
- This will be the first of two events in Tokyo for Canadian 10,000m record holder Seccafien.
- Staehli and Van Buskirk will both be making their Olympic debut.
- The top five finishers from the two heats will advance to the final, along with the next six fastest times.
Who to watch – Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands will begin her conquest for the Olympic distance triple-crown, (1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m). Look for Hassan to take control late in the heats to secure her position in the final.
The final for the women’s 5,000m will be held on Monday, Aug. 2 at 8:40 a.m. ET
7:30 a.m. ET – Men’s 10,000m final
- St. Catharines, Ont. native (and 2019 World Championships bronze medallist over the 5,000m) Mohammed Ahmed will be among the race favourites for the 25-lap distance.
- Ahmed is the Canadian record holder at this distance and the first Canadian to run under 27 minutes.
- At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Ahmed won silver in both the 5,000m and 10,000m events.Photo: Claus Andersen/Athletics Canada
Who to watch – The Ugandan duo of Jacob Kiplimo and 10,000m world record holder Joshua Cheptegei will be in control of this race. If the conditions are cooler, the Olympic record of 27:01 will be under threat.
8:00 p.m. ET – Women’s 400m hurdles heats
- Noelle Montcalm and Sage Watson will be competing for Canada in the heats.
- Both athletes reached the semifinal in Rio and will be looking to repeat their performance this weekend in Tokyo.
Who to watch – The American team of Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammed have both held the world record over this discipline. They put on a show in this event at the U.S. Olympic Trials, and look for them to do the same in Tokyo.
The semifinal for the women’s 400m hurdles will be held on Monday, Aug. 2 at 7:35 a.m. ET.
8:30 p.m. ET – Men’s 800m heats
- College teammates, now teammates on the Canadian Olympic team, Brandon McBride and Marco Arop look to begin their journey to Olympic glory.
- Going into Tokyo, Arop has run the fifth fastest time in the 800m this year.
- McBride looks to use his experiences on the world stage to reach his first Olympic final.
Who to watch – Nijel Amos of Botswana looks to turn his 2012 Olympic silver to gold. Amos has been in great form this year, being the only man in the field who has run under 1:42 over the two-lap distance. Look for American Clayton Murphy to be a late threat for the podium.
The semi-final for the Men’s 800m will be held on Sunday Aug. 1. at 7:25 a.m. ET
Saturday, July 31
6:45 a.m. ET – Men’s 100m (Heats):
- The sprinting spectacle on the track will feature three Canadians
- Andre De Grasse, Bismark Boateng and Gavin Smellie will be representing Canada in the heats.
- Boateng will be making his Olympic debut in the 100m.
- The big question facing De Grasse will be: can he carry on his Rio performances in Tokyo, and take on the mantle of the world’s fastest man?
Who to watch – Trayvon Bromell of the U.S. and Akani Simbine of South Africa. Bromell has won 15 of his last 16 races, and he has run under 10 seconds in all 10 of those events. De Grasse will come in as the race favourite and he is certainly a threat for the podium.
The semifinal for the Men’s 100m will be held on Sunday, Aug. 1. at 6:15 a.m. ET and the final at 8:50 a.m. ET
8:40 p.m. ET – Women’s 3,000m steeplechase heats
- Three Canadian women will be lining up for the heats of the women’s steeplechase, Genevieve Lalonde, Regan Yee and Alycia Butterworth
- Lalonde reached the final in this event at Rio and will rely on her experience on the world stage over the field.
- Yee and Butterworth will both be making their Olympic debut in this event. Butterworth finished 26th at the 2017 World Championships in London, U.K. Last month, Yee broke Canadian 3,000m steeplechase record at a last-chance qualifier, running a blistering 9:27.54.
Who to watch – Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya is the only woman who has ever run under 8:50. She has not run under nine minutes this year, but has come close at the Monaco Diamond League. She will go into this event as the favourite, but don’t count out the experienced American, Emma Coburn. Coburn was eighth in 2012, and won bronze in 2016, so she will have her eyes set on gold in Tokyo.