Canada's Penny Oleksiak withdraws from Commonwealth Games

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Canada's Penny Oleksiak, seen above during the Tokyo Olympics, withdrew from this summer's Commonwealth Games on Wednesday. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images - image credit)
Canada's Penny Oleksiak, seen above during the Tokyo Olympics, withdrew from this summer's Commonwealth Games on Wednesday. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images - image credit)

Penny Oleksiak, Canada's most decorated Olympian, withdrew from the Commonwealth Games team on Wednesday.

The 2022 event begins July 22 in Birmingham, England. Oleksiak, the 22-year-old from Toronto, was originally named to the team following national trials last month.

Oleksiak still plans to compete at the world championships, which begin Saturday in Budapest.

"I am excited to compete at [the] world championships, but after thinking long and hard about the additional commitment of Commonwealth Games I have decided this is the best option long-term to prepare for the 2023 season and into Paris 2024," Oleksiak said in a release.

WATCH | Oleksiak ready to race again in Budapest:

Swimming Canada coaches John Atkinson and Ryan Mallette supported Oleksiak's decision.

"The international competition calendar has become compressed in an unprecedented way with three long-course world championships in 17 months, and this year adding a Commonwealth Games shortly after the worlds," Atkinson explained.

After winning four medals as a 16-year-old at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Oleksiak added a silver and two bronze to her collection at Tokyo 2020. Her seven Olympic podium appearances are the most by any Canadian.

WATCH | What makes Oleksiak so fast:

Oleksiak also owns five bronze medals from the 2017 and 2019 world championships.

"It was hard to make this decision so close to the Games. I look forward to racing with my teammates at worlds, and cheering them on from a distance during Commonwealth Games. I know it's going to be an exciting summer," she said.

Full coverage of the aquatics world championships will be available live daily on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem, with additional weekend coverage on CBC-TV.

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