Who to watch at the Olympics: Canada’s strong contingent of Manitoba athletes

With the 2021 Olympic Games officially kicking off in Tokyo, Japan, Manitoba sports fans have a lot to cheer for.

A number of local athletes are competing against the world’s best over the next few weeks in Japan. Here are the Manitobans to watch for:

Desiree Scott

Desiree Scott practices with the Canada women’s national soccer team in this file photo. Walther Bernal / Global News

Aptly nicknamed The Destroyer, Scott, 33, is a staple of the Canadian women’s soccer team.

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The Winnipegger has already won two bronze medals at past Olympics (2012, 2016), as well as a CONCACAF championship in 2010 and a gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games. She has appeared with the national team at all levels, including the Women’s World Cup.

The gold medal match in women’s soccer takes place Aug. 7.

Kelsey Wog

U of M Bisons swimming star Kelsey Wog takes a break during 2020 U Sports national finals in Victoria. Bison Athletics

Born in Regina, breaststroke swimmer Wog is a Winnipeg resident with an impressive amount of hardware from international competitions already, despite only being 22 years old.

Wog has medalled while representing Canada at the 2016 FINA World Swimming Championships, as well as the 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, and has won several medals in past Canadian swimming trials and Canadian swimming championships, as well as a gold medal as part of a relay team at the FISU Summer Universiade 2017.

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She’s competing in the 100-metre (July 25 to 27) and 200-metre (July 26 to 28) breaststroke competitions in Tokyo, and likely the relay as well.

Leah Kirchman

Leah Kirchmann of Canada competes in the women’s cycling road time trial at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Kirchmann, a 31-year-old Winnipegger, was originally a cross-country skier who took on cycling as a training activity. She developed an aptitude for the sport, and turned professional as a cyclist in 2011.

Along with qualifying for the road race at the 2016 Olympics and again in 2021, Kirchmann has a long list of accolades at national and international cycling championships over the past decade and a half of competition — including a gold medal at the 2017 UCI Road World Championships in the team time trial and a bronze in the same category the following year.

The women’s road race and time trial events take place July 25 and 27 in Tokyo.

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Read more: Manitoba’s Tyler Mislawchuk will compete in his 2nd Olympic Games

Skylar Park

Skylar Park trains in taekwondo in this file photo. Chris Stanton / Global News

Park, 22, is competing in taekwondo in Tokyo.

The Winnipegger has had an impressive career so far, with gold medal victories at the 2016 world junior championships and 2018 Pan American championships, a silver at the 2019 Pan Am Games and bronze medals at multiple Grand Prix tournaments, as well as the 2019 world championships.

Park, who competes in the 57-kilogram class, was named a “star of tomorrow” by the World Taekwondo Federation in 2016.

The 57-kilogram competition at the Olympics takes place July 25.

Tyler Mislawchuk

Tyler Mislawchuk competing at the 2020 Olympic trials. Submitted Photo

Oak Bluff’s Mislawchuk, 26, is a triathlete who has competed for Canada in a number of international races, including the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Pan Am Games.

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He was named to the Olympic team in both 2016 and 2020, winning the World Triathlon Cup — the final men’s race of the Olympic qualifying period — this June.

Mislawchuk will compete in Tokyo on July 25.

Shae La Roche

Winnipeg’s Shae la Roche will compete for Canada in Tokyo. Water Polo Canada

A member of the Canadian women’s water polo team, La Roche, 28, set a record during her college career at Indiana State, becoming one of only five players in NCAA history to score more than 300 career goals.

The Winnipegger has won silver medals with the national team at the 2015 and 2019 Pan Am Games, as well as a silver at the 2017 FINA Water Polo World League championships.

La Roche will be competing in the women’s water polo tournament in Tokyo, which runs from July 24 to Aug. 7.

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Manitoba is also sending a number of coaches to this year’s games, including Derek Ingram (golf), Lorie Henderson (gymnastics), Vlastik Cerny (swimming) and Jae Park (taekwondo).

Click to play video: 'Kenora family cheer on Olympic athlete son from home' Kenora family cheer on Olympic athlete son from home

Kenora family cheer on Olympic athlete son from home

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