Chris Young

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Chris Young is a writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience covering a wide range of sports and news for the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, including seven World Cup finals and one glorious Euro 2004.

  • De Grasse, Oleksiak lead Canada's Olympic youth movement

    RIO DE JANEIRO -- The youthful yin and yang of this Team Canada moving forward into a new Olympic cycle may well be around for a while, so you better get used to them.
    That’d be Penny Oleksiak by water and Andre De Grasse by land, of course, and when was the last time Canada had two Olympians this young to keep tabs on? Oleksiak took the first half of these Olympic Games by storm. Then as if climbing out of the pool and handing a baton, De Grasse carried it home to the finish line.
    So there’s a 16-year-old swimmer, and a 21-year-old runner who between them will take seven medals home to show for their first of these jamborees. How many more Olympics they’ll have in them is impossible to say, but what’s obvious is that the prospects are enough to have the marketing arms of the Canadian Olympic Committee and their corporate partners doing pushups to gain strength for the onslaught ahead.
    It’s enough to bring newfound credibility and respect in the swimming and running crowd’s top
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  • Personal bests: Chris Young's podium picks for Rio 2016

    Yahoo Canada's reporters covering the Olympics in Rio pick their three most memorable insider moments from the Games.

    GOLD: Erica Wiebe

     “You wanna go right now?” Fresh after winning a gold medal and celebrating by spinning her coach around - even parading him on her shoulders - Erica Wiebe wanted more. Including this invitation to me to wrestle. She was joking. At least I think she was. I hope she was. She’ll be back in 2020, maybe even 2024, while wrestling is on the Olympics’ version of probation (too slow, not very telegenic - try telling that to Wiebe). Just in case, I’ll work on my camel clutch in the meantime.

    SILVER: Penny Oleksiak

    The mixed zone after a night of swimming is a frantic place of duelling languages, microphones and body odour, and Oleksiak was running late after doing the CBC thing. She ran past the Canadian media gathering of a dozen or so non-rights-holding rabble waiting to feed our digital recorders. “Penny,” I yelled after her. She turned back long enough to

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  • Evan Dunfee represents true Olympic sportsmanship

    RIO DE JANEIRO -- Over the 16 days of these Olympics, we focus on the medal table and the podium -- how many won, how many gold, and of course that tingly moment when O Canada plays and the Maple Leaf flag is raised.

    What we remember, though -- what we cherish -- has nothing to do with gold, silver and bronze: It’s a broken ski pole that a rival coach replaces in the middle of a gruelling cross-country. It’s a 5,000-metre runner suddenly down on the track, then getting a hand to get up and encouragement to keep going from a fellow competitor. It’s a speed skater giving up his spot to a teammate.

    On Friday, Evan Dunfee joined the likes of Bjornar Haakensmoen, Nikki Hamblin and Gilmore Junio in the rarest circles of sportsman- and sportswomanship: standing off the podium he was poised to take his wobbly legs up on to, and left in the Olympics’ cruellest spot of fourth place.

    “It all depends on your tone,” Dunfee said Saturday, resetting that particular spin. “I could say, I raced 50

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  • For Canada's soccer women, a new era dawns

    RIO DE JANEIRO -- The kids are all right.

    These Canadian kids, anyway -- all right enough to be coming home from these Olympic Games with a medal to match the one Canada earned four years ago in Coventry, England.

    These bronze bookends couldn’t be more different, though.

    London 2012 amounted to an end point for a Canadian group that after a decade punching on an international women’s soccer stage growing more and more skillful, more and more smarter, finally had something to show for its toil.

    This one, a 2-1 win in Sao Paulo over hosts Brazil, looked like something else entirely: the arrival of a core group that outside our meat and potatoes of hockey, is going to anchor the country’s most high-profile team to watch over the next decade, a team that with a little bit of development should be a part of the world’s elite if not when the next World Cup arrives, then certainly not too long after.   

    The future arrived on a bright Brazilian Friday, the 52nd minute of this match amounting

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  • Erica Wiebe's long, hard road to becoming Olympic wrestling champion

    RIO DE JANEIRO - As a Grade 9 student in the suburban Ottawa community of Stittsville, Erica Wiebe was walking down the hallway of her Sacred Heart High School when she noticed a sign posted outside for tryouts - wrestling tryouts.

    “Spandex and boys,” she thought. “This’ll be so fun.”

    Actually, it turned out wrestling wasn’t all that much fun for her. It was much better than that: it was intoxicating -- a grunting, exhausting and beguiling dance for two that brought her to a new place. Two of her friends that joined her for the tryouts dropped out after a week (“they were swimmers,” she says. “They don’t like touching”). The other lasted a year. Wrestling for girls? It wasn’t in the Olympics then, but she’d found a home on the mat, ditching hopes of a soccer career as a goalkeeper.

    Thursday night in Carioca Arena and now 27 years old, she found a gold medal. She earned it, takedown by takedown, with four victories over the the course of the day, including at the last a dominating

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  • Owning the Podium: Wrestler Wiebe leads off a finishing nine of Canada medal hopes

    RIO DE JANEIRO -- Derek Drouin had no clue at Tuesday’s Olympic high jump final that he would become Canada’s first gold medalist in a field event since 1932.

    Too busy making his own history, he was, and Drouin says this golden icebreaker at the Olympic Stadium was only a matter of being early in the order. Shawn Barber missed his moment in the pole vault, finishing 10th, but Drouin stepped up a night later and made no mistake. On Thursday, he said he figures there’s more history to come as the track and field program winds down to these final three days.

    “With the group we have now I think it’s only a matter of time,” Drouin said Thursday. “I think there’s a decent possibility that we’ll end these Games with more to join that group. I’m lucky to be the one to do it, but to be honest, with this team, it could have been anybody.”

    The medal count is something most people will forget about as soon as Monday or Tuesday, when they’re packing up around here and the athletes and officials

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  • Canadian volleyball team finds success in legacy they leave behind

    RIO DE JANEIRO - Canada qualified five teams to this Rio Olympics, each of them with a different definition of success.

    In women’s soccer, it’s back to the podium after their gold-medal hopes went begging. The inaugural women’s rugby sevens side immediately tossed a marker down with a bronze medal. In women’s basketball, the target was a medal game, but their tournament ended a failure at least in those terms after Tuesday’s quarter-final loss to France. Men’s field hockey, another side just happy to have got here, found their high-water moment in a 1-1 draw with mighty Argentina, a team with whom they have some history, but usually inside the cosier Pan Am Games.

    For the men’s volleyballers, this was it, or at least what it sounded like: a tired, 3-0 quarter-final loss to Russia, and reserve middle blocker Justin Duff making his way off the Maracanazinho floor greeted by a chorus of shouts from the crowd -- some Canadians, yes, and waving the Maple Leaf, but a lot of Brazilians too,

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  • Necessary roughness defines Olympic marathon swim, and sinks Weinberger's hopes

    RIO DE JANEIRO - When Olympic medals are on the line, all the camaraderie that Richard Weinberger adores about the marathon-swimming community he’s a part of goes out the chute, and the result is the sort of moving, splashing free-for-all that’d bring up the inquiry sign at the racetrack, or empty a soccer referee’s breast pocket.

    And he loves it that way -- enough that a 17th-place finish, 17 seconds behind winning Dutchman Ferry Weertman, had him making post-race plans for a 2020 return to an event that continues to evolve. Four years ago in London, it was contested in the relatively placid waters of London’s Hyde Park, but this test, in the dirty swells off Copacabana Beach, was mayhem from the start.

    With the starting platform blown away by big surf a couple of days ago, the field of 25 waded and swam out to a start point in the water and immediately ignored the rule book that calls for them to line up according to number. In the ensuing 10-km race, five yellow flags went up and

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  • Karina LeBlanc's Three Things ahead of Canada's Olympic soccer semifinal

    RIO DE JANEIRO - Yahoo Sports Canada Olympics expert Karina LeBlanc knows something about the Summer Games soccer tournament semifinals.

    Four years ago in London she won a bronze medal after a road that wound through a memorable - and controversial - semifinal against the United States. I asked Karina for her thoughts about this one, as unbeaten Canada faces Germany in Belo Horizonte, with the winner headed to the Maracana in Rio and the loser off to Sao Paulo for the bronze-medal game.

    So here we go: call it Karina’s Three Things, and enjoy the game (3 p.m. ET on Tuesday):

    FORGET HISTORY

    "This is not going to be like any Canada-Germany game before, and rankings and previous history mean nothing. This is a game being played for a chance to play for a gold medal, so the past is the past. That means it’s not going to be the prettiest soccer game. It’ll be more like a battle."

    ALL HANDS ON DECK

    "Canada beat Germany 2-1 in their final group game to secure top spot in their group. But

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  • A little anger fuels Canada into women's basketball quarterfinals

    RIO DE JANEIRO - Canada’s basketball women should be in a snarling mood when they return Tuesday to the same Olympic quarter-final stage that was their undoing four years ago in London.

    The difference means everything, though. At London 2012, it was the unbeatable United States that awaited a less experienced Canadian team and ended their tournament. This time around it will be France, and with six French League pros on their roster Canada knows them well.

    “When we were here four years ago there was one person who’d been to the Olympics,” said captain Kim Gaucher. “We’ve got seven now. That’s a whole different ballgame. We know what it’s like to play in a quarterfinal now, and it’s a much better matchup. I think experience is huge - we have a lot more of it now.”

    Canada’s most recent encounter with France was a 71-63 exhibition in their favour at Madison Square Garden, part of their final pre-Olympic tuneup last month. In June, Canada travelled to France for a tour and beat their

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Pagination

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