Penny Oleksiak, the 16-year-old swimmer from Toronto's east end, was a breakout performer for Canada at the Summer Games in Brazil after winning four medals in the pool, including gold, silver, and two bronze.
Oleksiak became Canada's most decorated swimmer at a single Games after her performance in Rio de Janeiro. She will carry the country's flag into the Olympic Stadium in Brazil during the closing ceremony on Sunday evening.
Here are five things to know about the local Olympian.
1. Penny Oleksiak leaves Rio as an Olympic medalist. Next month, she’ll be a Grade 11 student at Monarch Park Collegiate near Danforth and Cowell. She previously attended Kew Beach Public School and Glen Ames Senior Public School. Known as “the child,” she is the youngest member of Canada’s Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro.
2. She didn't start swimming until she was nine when she discovered her love of water in a neighbour's backyard pool.
3. Athleticism runs in the family of this swimming phenom, and it's not the first time an Oleksiak has reached great heights in the world of sports — her 23-year-old brother Jamie Oleksiak was drafted into the NHL by the Dallas Stars.
4. Her early days as a swimmer were not a success. She tried out for the Toronto Swim Club but failed to swim two laps of the pool, the prequisite to be accepted for the program. She also couldn’t complete two laps at the Scarborough Swim Club, where she tried out next. Needless to say, things worked out in the end.
5. Her best swimming is yet to come. Most competitive swimmers really hit their stride in their mid-20s. If that wisdom holds true with Oleksiak, expect her to be at her best at the 2024 Olympics.