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Canadian women are ruling in Rio, but coaching remains mostly a man’s world (Canada)

TEAM_canada_COCTeam Canada is on fire. At least, the women are.

This is what that Olympian flame looks like, circa 2016: A bone-crunching rugby tackle. A devastating finishing kick in the swimming pool. A never-say-die attitude, even when you’re 18 points down in a basketball game.

Don’t call it a case of gender equity, though. Until the women on these Rio Olympic playing fields are matched by women in the coaching box, the gates to true sporting equality remain shut. And how long it’ll take before that changes remains an open question.

For now, these Canadian athletes are in form best described as bellicose. Across the Atlantic in Lausanne, Switzerland, Olympics founder and noted chauvinist Baron Pierre de Coubertin must be rolling in his grave.

“I think it’s very important to put out there that it’s cool to be strong, it’s cool to be fierce,” Canadian rugby player Karen Paquin said here Tuesday, with four of her teammate showing off a bronze medal earned Monday night. “It’s something that I personally embrace as a role model for those young girls. I hope that they realize that what they can do with their body is amazing, and it can be put on a field and put in a performance with teammates and that’s what rugby is – it’s a fierce sport, it’s strong and fast.

“I was never the little pretty girl who was all good at gymnastics. I was not gracious at all. But when I’m on the field in rugby now it all makes sense.”

We had an idea this was going to happen here, with Canada’s team of athletes tilting 3-2 toward the female side in its makeup. But as the Rio Olympics rolled into its fourth day under benevolent skies, the Canadian women have gone far faster, higher and stronger than that split would suggest. 

In the pool, while a cold war of words rages around them, Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse and the relay team that trains together out of Toronto’s Pan Am pool have let their swimming do the talking, accounting for three of four medals accumulated through the first three days of Olympic competition. Up at Deodoro in Rio’s so-called North Zone, Paquin and the women’s rugby sevens team physically hammered and ran over their Great Britain opponents in Monday night’s bronze medal game.

Canada’s women’s soccer team and the women’s basketballers are rolling along, the former assured of a quarterfinal spot off two opening wins, the latter coming from way back to beat Serbia and match their futbol counterparts W for W.

Success is contagious, said Masse, a bronze medal of her own around her neck.

“Not just in the pool but all the other Canadians – before we left for the finals the women’s rugby team won. Just to see all of Canada and everyone who’s not here supporting from back home, everyone’s family and friends, it’s super exciting and it definitely gives every athlete energy to compete.”

READ FULL STORY – ca.sports.yahoo.com


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