As the 2024 Paris Olympics draw near, all eyes are on Canada’s elite athletes vying for glory on the world’s biggest sporting stage. While predictions can be fickle, data analysts at Nielsen’s Gracenote have crunched the numbers, projecting Canada to haul in 22 medals, including 6 golds. If these forecasts hold true, it would mark one of Canada’s most successful Olympic performances outside of boycotted Games.

The United States and China are expected to dominate the medal standings once again, continuing their Olympic supremacy. However, the major unknown is the potential participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes, whose status remains uncertain due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

As is typical for the host nation, France is projected to see a significant medal boost on home soil. Gracenote anticipates France will nearly triple its gold medal output compared to the Tokyo 2020 Games, benefiting from increased investment in athlete development and the roar of passionate fans.

Swimming Sensation: Summer McIntosh

At just 16 years old, Summer McIntosh is undoubtedly Canada’s brightest star heading into Paris 2024. After a remarkable 2023 season that saw her capture 4 world championship medals, including 2 golds, the teenage phenom from Toronto is poised for an Olympic breakthrough.

The Gracenote model has McIntosh projected to win a staggering 5 medals, with golds in the 400m individual medley and 200m butterfly events. Her world-record times and incredible versatility across multiple strokes have analysts predicting McIntosh could emerge as one of the Games’ biggest stories.

Joining McIntosh in the pool will be defending Olympic champion Maggie Mac Neil, who is projected to claim bronze in the 100m butterfly.

Relay Dominance

Beyond their individual events, McIntosh and Mac Neil are expected to play pivotal roles in Canada’s projected bronze medals in the 4x100m medley and 4x100m freestyle relays. Their contributions could propel the Canadian swim team to new heights in Paris.

Track and Field Talent

While the pool may be Canada’s deepest talent pool, the nation’s track and field athletes are also poised to make waves in Paris. Gracenote predicts a Canadian medal haul of 7 in athletics, one more than swimming.

Leading the charge is 800m runner Marco Arop and decathlete Pierce LePage, both projected to claim gold medals. Meanwhile, defending Olympic decathlon champion Damian Warner is forecast to secure silver, potentially setting up a 1-2 Canadian finish in one of the most grueling athletic events.

The model is also high on Canada’s recent success in throwing events, with Camryn Rogers and Ethan Katzberg expected to add silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the hammer throw after their stunning world championship victories in 2023.

Sarah Mitton, who followed up her 2022 world silver with an indoor world title in March, is tabbed for bronze in the shot put event.

Racewalking Redemption

While many young stars are just beginning to shine, veteran racewalker Evan Dunfee is hoping to add one more Olympic medal to his illustrious career. The 33-year-old from Richmond, British Columbia, captured bronze in the 50km event at the 2016 Rio Games and will be aiming to match or better that performance in Paris.

With the 50km racewalk being discontinued after Tokyo 2020, Dunfee has made the transition to the 20km event, an adjustment he admits gave him pause about continuing his Olympic journey. However, the ever-determined athlete has already qualified for the 20km in Paris and is now seeking an additional entry into the new mixed relay event, where male and female racewalkers alternate legs over the marathon distance.

Basketball Pursuit

While the Gracenote projections have Canada’s basketball teams coming up empty-handed in Paris, both the men’s and women’s squads have high hopes of ending decades-long medal droughts on the hardwood.

The men’s team is riding momentum from a bronze medal performance at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, raising belief that Canada’s first Olympic basketball medal since 1936 could be within reach. However, the stiff competition of NBA stars representing other nations will make that quest extremely challenging.

On the women’s side, Canada enters as the 5th-ranked team in the world but backed into Olympic qualification with an unconvincing showing at February’s last-chance tournament. Still, an experienced core led by veterans like Natalie Achonwa could propel the squad to new heights if they can find their top form in Paris.

Ones to Watch

While Swimming, Track and Racewalking may headline Canada’s projected medal opportunities, there are several other athletes worth keeping an eye on in Paris.

On the court, all eyes will be on Leylah Fernandez, the 21-year-old whose exceptional play helped Canada capture its first Billie Jean King Cup in 2023. After a breakout year that included a tournament win in Hong Kong, Fernandez could make noise in both singles and doubles competitions.

In badminton, Brian Yang continues his rapid ascent after becoming Canada’s youngest-ever national singles champion in 2019 at just 19 years old. The Pan American Games gold medalist will be a threat in multiple events, from singles to doubles disciplines.

Among the diving contingent, Mia Vallee etched her name in 2023 by winning bronze with Pamela Ware in the synchronized 3m springboard event at the World Cup. She then added Pan Am silver and gold medals to her resume, signaling her readiness to make a splash in Paris.

Photo of the portrait: Sportskeeda