Olympic wake-up call: Canada’s overnight wins and a near-podium finish

It was scramble at the finish.

Canadian cyclist Michael Woods secured a fifth place result in the men’s road race on Saturday. 

The 34-year-old athlete from Ottawa raced for more than six hours, including a steep climb up Mount Fuji and the Mikuni Pass, before crossing the finish line on Saturday evening in Tokyo. 

CBC Sports’s Jamie Strashin unfolds Woods’s epic 234-kilometre journey, from start of the brutal course to the ending sprint.

Here are some other highlights — like who earned the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics — from Saturday so far.

Canada wins on the sand, court, pitch

Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes — the defending world champions in beach volleyball and Olympic medal hopefuls — got their first win in Tokyo. 

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The pair defeated their Dutch opponents 21-16, 21-14  on Saturday. Devin Heroux of CBC Sports brings you all the details of their match, including the sweltering heat.

Canadian duo Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson will also play later on Saturday, facing China in their opening match.

Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes hug during their win over Team Netherlands on Day 1 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez —18 years old with a world No. 72 ranking — outplayed her Ukrainian opponent to advance to the second round of the tennis tournament. 

Fernandez beat Dayana Yastremska, world No. 46, in three sets (6-3, 3-6, 6-0). She also managed to do so around 12 hours after walking with Team Canada into her first Olympic Games opening ceremony. 

Fernandez said seeing athletes parade with their flags only served to inspire her even more. 

After a draw against Japan earlier this week, Canada’s women’s soccer team got their first win. Two goals from Janine Beckie secured a 2-1 win over Chile, improving the team’s chances to advance to the quarter-finals. 

Kailen Sheridan — a 26-year-old from Whitby, Ont. — started as goalkeeper, replacing Stephanie Labbé, who was injured in Canada’s first match. 

While Canada’s women’s water polo team came up short against Australia in their opening match, the team still experienced a win of sorts: it was the team’s first Olympic appearance since 2004. 

Despite losing 8-5, co-captain Monika Eggens had a strong performance, scoring a hat trick in her 500th international appearance.

Kyra Christmas, who scored Canada’s first goal, said reaching the Olympics was “like a dream come true.”

The 1st gold in Tokyo

Finally: it was the first medal of the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

China’s Yang Qian claimed gold in the women’s 10-metre rifle competition, rising to the top of the podium and setting a new Olympic record total of 251.8.

The Russian Olympic Committee’s Anastasiia Galashina took silver, while Nina Christen won bronze for Switzerland. 

Gold Medalist Qian Yang of Team China takes aim during the medal round of the 10m air rifle women’s event on Day 1 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Asaka Shooting Range on Saturday. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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