Five things to watch in Tokyo on Friday, Aug. 6

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TOKYO — From a medal that's guaranteed to change colour to a last chance for race walkers, here are five things to look for at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, Aug. 6.

Women's soccer team looks to make history

Canada's women's soccer team came to Tokyo with the explicit goal of changing the colour of their medal after consecutive third-place finishes in London and Rio. Win or lose in Friday's final against Sweden, the Canadians will have accomplished that goal. Canada qualified for its first-ever appearance in the Olympic women's soccer final with a 1-0 victory over the United States on Monday, while Sweden defeated Australia 1-0 in the other semi. Sweden holds the No. 5 position in the latest FIFA rankings, three spots ahead of Canada. "We definitely have some mixed results against Sweden," Canadian defender Kadeisha Buchanan said after her team's semifinal win. "It'll be a good match, a good final."

Artistic swimming team event gets underway

Duet swimmers Jacqueline Simoneau and Claudia Holzner are also representing Canada in the team event, which gets underway with the technical routine on Friday. Ten teams of eight swimmers each will complete a set of five predetermined movements in the technical portion, followed by a free routine on Saturday. At an Olympic tune-up event in June, Canada finished third in a trio of team events, including technical, free and mixed team. Prior to Tokyo, Canada had won eight Olympic medals in artistic swimming, which used to be known as synchronized swimming. That included medals in the team event in its first two Games, Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.

Dunfee hoping for podium in last 50K race walk

Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., finished fourth in the 50K at the Rio Olympics in a story that caught Canada's attention. Japan's Hirooki Arai was disqualified for bumping Dunfee but was reinstated after an appeal. Dunfee opted not to pursue a counter-appeal, saying he would "never allow myself to be defined by the accolades I receive, rather the integrity I carry through life." The 30-year-old takes aim at the Olympic podium again in the 50 kilometres on Friday. It may be his last chance: The International Olympic Committee is removing the 50K event from the Games after Tokyo, a decision Dunfee has been loudly critical of.

Vincent, Vincent-Lapointe team sets sight on gold in canoe

Canada's Laurence Vincent-Lapointe and Katie Vincent will take part in the women's 500-metre canoe double at the Sea Forest Waterway. The pair are gold medal contenders in the event, which is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo. Vincent-Lapointe in particular dominated the sport for much of the last decade, but for a time it appeared she wouldn't get the chance to fight for an Olympic medal. Before Wednesday's heats in the women's 200-metre single, the 29-year-old from Trois-Rivières, Que., hadn't competed since the spring of 2019 due to a positive drug test that almost upended her career. She was cleared in January 2020 when the International Canoe Federation accepted she was the victim of third-party contamination. Vincent-Lapointe won silver in the women's C-1 200-metre race on Thursday.

Ahmed, Knight in men's 5K final

Canada will have two competitors in the final of the men's 5,000 metres. Mohammed (Moh) Ahmed was second in his heat of the men's 5,000, the distance in which he raced to bronze at the 2019 world championships. The 30-year-old from St. Catharines, Ont., hung near the back of the pack for the first half before taking the lead to push the pace, finishing in 13 minutes 38.96 seconds. Justyn Knight of Toronto cruised to third in the other 5,000 heat in 13:30.22, setting up what could be an exciting final on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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