Five things to watch at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, August 2

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TOKYO — From a tantalizing matchup with gold-medal implications between two soccer rivals to an undefeated beach volleyball duo looking to keep rolling, here are five things to look for Monday at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mouth-watering clash between Canada and United States in women’s soccer

In its journey to improve on back-to-back Olympic bronze medals, the Canadian women’s soccer team was likely going to have to face the United States at some point in the tournament. That tantalizing encounter is set for Monday’s semifinal at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium. Canada beat Brazil 4-3 on penalty kicks to reach the semifinal while the U.S. also needed a shootout to eliminate the Netherlands. The much-anticipated Canada-U.S. clash is a rematch of the thrilling semifinal at the 2012 London Games in which the Americans overcame a hat trick from Canada captain Christine Sinclair to win 4-3 in extra time.

Long-distance runners eye medals in 5,000 and steeplechase

A trio of long-distance Canadian runners are in medal contention Monday in track and field at the Tokyo Olympics. Andrea Seccafien of Guelph, Ont., narrowly secured a spot in the women’s 5,000-metre final, snatching the 15th and last qualifying position by four tenths of a second. Seccafien was 11th in the 5,000 in Rio 2016. Toronto’s Matt Hughes and Vancouver’s John Gay are competing in the men’s 3,000-metre steeplechase final. Hughes is in his second Olympic Games after finishing 10th in this event in 2016. Gay is making his Olympic debut.

Beach volleyball duo face lucky losers in elimination round

Undefeated Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan face a pair of lucky losers in the beach volleyball round of 16 Monday. Toronto's Humana-Paredes and Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., take a perfect 3-0 record into the knockout stage. The Canadians have yet to lose a single set in Tokyo. They take on the lucky loser team from Spain – Liliana Steiner Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan – in the first elimination match. Fellow Canadians Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson are already into the quarterfinal after upsetting Americans Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes in the round of 16. Canada has not won a beach volleyball medal in 25 years.

Women’s team sprint kicks off seven days of cycling track events

Cycling track gets underway at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka, Japan, about 150 kilometres southwest of Tokyo. The first of seven days of cycling track events features heats and the medal round for women’s team sprint, as well as qualifying for the men’s and women’s team pursuit. The Canadian athletes taking part in the women’s sprint rounds are Lauriane Genest of Lévis, Que., and Kelsey Mitchell of Sherwood Park, Alta. Both are making their Olympic debuts. Canada’s only gold medal in cycling track came in 2004, with Lori-Ann Muenzer winning the women’s sprint.

Canadians begin canoe and kayak sprints

The first day of canoe and kayak sprints includes single and double heats for both men and women across various distances. Andréanne Langlois from Lac-Beauport, Que., and Michelle Russell of Fall River, N.S., are competing in the women’s 200-metre kayak single. Simon McTavish from Oakville, Ont., is Canada’s representative in the men’s 1,000 kayak single. The Canadians also have teams in the women’s 500 kayak double (Alanna Bray-Lougheed and Madeline Schmidt) and men’s 1,000 canoe double (Roland Varga and Connor Fitzpatrick). The heats are followed by the quarterfinals, also taking place Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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