Can Canada surpass the oddsmakers' total of 2.5 gold medals at this year's Olympic Summer Games?
(This article was updated Monday, Aug. 1)
When it comes to the Olympics, the Summer Games have never been Canada’s strong suit.
While our Olympians finished atop the 2010 Winter Games medal standings in Vancouver with 14 gold medals (the first time we’ve ever finished first at an Olympics), the summer has always been a struggle.
Last time the Summer Games were held, Canada managed just 1 gold medal (Rosie MacLennan on trampoline). Throw out the 1984 Games in Los Angeles (when 14 Eastern Bloc countries boycotted) and Canada hasn’t won more than 3 gold medals at a Summer Games since 1928.
On the bright side, however, Canada did win a total of 18 medals (12 of them bronze) four years ago in London. That tied for the third-most Summer Games medals in Canadian history (again, excluding the 1984 Games), so maybe we’re on the upswing.
And whenever we do win gold, it’s usually memorable!
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) July 31, 2016
Here’s a look at Canada’s top gold medal hopes for Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro. (We may add to this list as more Rio 2016 betting odds become available.)
Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Heptathlon
The 27-year-old native of Humboldt, Saskatchewan is arguably Canada’s top gold medal hope at this year’s Games.
She’s the Canadian record holder in the heptathlon (seven-event combination of 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin and 800-meter run) and claimed silver at the world championships in 2013 and 2015. She also won Commonwealth Games gold in 2014 and was a three-time NCAA champion during her days at the University of Oregon.
What’s more, her husband, Ashton Eaton (an American), is a -600 favourite to win the men’s decathlon. This duo has a great chance to be the Olympics’ golden couple.
Pinnacle sportsbook lists Theisen-Eaton betting odds at+212 to win gold in Rio.
Mark de Jonge, Kayak
Last year, de Jonge, 32, became the first male kayaker since 2003 to repeat as world champion of the 200-metre sprint.
Born in Calgary and now a resident of Halifax, de Jonge collected bronze at the 2012 Olympics in London despite missing two months of training after dropping an 80-pound dumbbell on his finger. He added a gold in the Pan Am Games last year in Toronto.
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) July 28, 2016
The men’s kayak 200-metre sprint appears to be a three-horse race between de Jonge, France’s Maxime Beaumont and Sweden’s Petter Menning. Beaumont is slightly favoured over the de Jonge betting odds, who pays +237 at www.Pinnacle.com.
Shawnacy Barber, Pole Vault
Barber became the first Canadian to win a world track-and-field title in a non-sprinting event when the pole vaulter finished atop the podium last year at the IIAF world championships.
The 22-year-old Toronto resident won back-to-back NCAA indoor pole vault championships in 2014-15, representing Akron University, and set a Pan Am Games record last year with a vault of 5.80m on his way to gold.
Current world record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France is the only athlete listed ahead of Barber on Pinnacle’s 2016 Olympic men’s pole vault odds. Lavillenie is a -245 favourite, while Shawnacy Barber betting odds pay +494 to top the podium.
Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion, Diving
Canada has several legitimate medal hopes in diving, perhaps none better than the synchronized 10-metre platform tandem of Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion.
The Laval, Quebec natives collected bronze at London 2012, silver at the 2013 and 2015 worlds, and gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games. Two years ago, they won Commonwealth Games gold as well.
They appear to be a shoo-in for a podium finish, but gold will be tough. China’s team of double Olympic champion Chen Ruolin and Liu Huixia are -800 favourites, with Benfeito and Filion the only others listed on Pinnacle sportsbook’s women’s synchronized 10m platform diving odds at +752.
Canadian Women’s Soccer Team
Granted, it’s a bit of a longshot, but anything’s possible in a sport where games are often decided by 1 goal or even penalty kicks. (See Iceland, Euro 2016.)
Canada is ranked 10th in the world in women’s soccer, but seventh among the Olympic field because England, Japan and Korea DPR did not qualify for the Games.
Our women’s squad dramatically won bronze four years ago in London (remember Diana Matheson’s winner in injury time against France?) after giving eventual champion USA all it could handle in the semifinals, losing 4-3 to the Americans in extra time. Several key members of that team are back, including world-class leader Christine Sinclair.
The Americans are favoured to win their third straight women’s Olympic soccer title, listed at+169, and Germany is close behind at +200. Canada’s ranked sixth on Pinnacle’s 2016 Olympic women’s soccer odds, paying +1100.
Canada also looks to have a decent chance at gold in these events:
- Rowing women’s lightweight double sculls (Canada is second to New Zealand on the odds, paying +389)
- Women’s rugby sevens (Canada is third on the odds at +613)
- Judo men’s half middleweight (Antoine Valois-Fortier pays +489)
- Women’s cycling cross country (Catharine Pendrel pays +530)
- Men’s high jump (Derek Drouin pays +658)
Canada Over/Under 2.5 Gold Medals
Instead of relying on specific individuals or teams to win gold for Canada in Rio, you can bet on Canadian success in general.
Canadian sportsbook www.Sports Interaction.com has set the Over/Under on Canadian gold medals at 2.5, with -125 odds on the Over.
That’s slightly better odds on the Over than you’ll find at www.Bodog.eu, which lists Canada at -140 to win 3 gold medals or more.
According to a CBC article from earlier this year, Infostrada’s Olympic medal predictor projects just one gold medal for Canada at the 2016 Games.
However, that same predictor suggests Canada will win 20 medals overall, and our country usually does well in the many various rowing/paddling events.
All you’d need is a couple overachievers to cash the Over 2.5 gold medals bet – and we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to cheer for our athletes instead of against them.
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) July 13, 2016