When Canadians remember the Tokyo 2020 gold medal soccer game for years to come, three names will spring to mind


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Fleming, Quin and of course Sinclair made history with talent and character

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Jessie Fleming perfects penalty spot on gold race for Canada

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It could be argued that Jessie Fleming was doomed to stardom the moment she donned a Canadian jersey for the National Women’s Soccer Team.

Fleming was just 15 when she made her debut for Canada, and eight years later helped the team win their first Olympic gold by being fatal from the penalty spot.

Fleming, 23, a London, Ont. Product, scored from a penalty to tie the 1-1 gold medal game against Sweden at Yokohama International Stadium on Friday, then added another in a shootout for help Canada win gold.

“We have such a great group, everyone stepped up and everyone did their job,” said Canada captain Christine Sinclair. “That’s what makes it unique.

Perhaps a symbolic passing of the torch, Sinclair once again recovered the ball after Canada was awarded a penalty in the final and handed it to Fleming.

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Sinclair, who was for a long time Canada’s designated shooter, did the same in the semifinals where Fleming went to score the deciding goal in a 1-0 victory over the United States.

Fleming also scored from the penalty spot in the quarter-final shootout against Brazil.

“In general, I like to know where I’m going to go, to get started,” Fleming said after the semi-final victory. “I’m sure where I want to go and it’s just a matter of putting myself in the place I want.”

Against the United States, Fleming scored his right-footed penalty in the upper right corner of the net in front of American goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, who had replaced injured starter Alyssa Naeher.

In the final, Fleming went to the lower left corner of the net past Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, who dived the wrong way anticipating a repeat of the semi-final.

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Then on penalties, Fleming buried his kick in the same spot in the same left corner, completely deceiving Lindahl.

“Obviously their goaltender is world class and made some great saves,” said Sinclair. “We’ve been practicing the PKs every day since the start of camp so I think we saw the players were confident when they took it up a notch.”

Canada's Jessie Fleming scores a penalty kick during a penalty shootout during the Tokyo Olympics gold medal match at Yokohama International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan on August 6, 2021.
Canada’s Jessie Fleming scores a penalty kick during a penalty shootout during the Tokyo Olympics gold medal match at Yokohama International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan on August 6, 2021. Photo by LISI NIESNER /REUTERS

QUINN MAKES HISTORY

Canadian midfielder Quinn became the first openly transgender, non-binary athlete to win an Olympic gold medal.

A Toronto product, Quinn, 25, became transgender in the fall of 2020, changing his pronouns to them / them and wearing only one name.

Quinn was instrumental in helping Canada win gold as the team’s starting central midfielder alongside Desiree Scott.

“I think it’s important for young people to see that they can be themselves and that they can still have a place, and can be Olympic champions, so I think it’s exciting,” Quinn said after the gold medal. “I think for me I was really proud to be here and the performances I achieved on the pitch.

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“For me it comes down to why I love the sport, because I know there are a lot of external things going on all the time. I think once on the pitch I find the joy I found when I was a kid. I try to take all the pressure off and live the moments.

Quinn has been playing for Canada since 2014, with 69 international appearances and five goals. Quinn was also a member of the 2016 Olympic team, where Canada won bronze in Rio.

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“The Olympics are wild, they’re back-to-back games,” Quinn said. “It was really amazing. This team has worked so hard together for so long, they are my best friends, my best friends, and honestly it has been a blast. It was very demanding, but there was joy throughout. “

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Much like the rest of the country, Quinn was happy to see Sinclair win an Olympic gold medal to crown an incredible career.

“It’s amazing,” Quinn said. “Sinc is someone I have admired for so long. I remember in 2003 when I watched her at the World Cup in the United States

“I think all of our veteran players is something that was at the forefront of our minds as young players on the team. We wanted to give it to them; for some players it might be their last go-around hopefully so coming away with a gold means everything to them.

Team Canada gold medalist Quinn poses with the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama International Stadium on August 6, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.
Team Canada gold medalist Quinn poses with the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama International Stadium on August 6, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Photo by Naomi Baker /Getty Images

SYMPATHY OF SINCLAIR

Sinclair missed a penalty in the shootout against Brazil, so he has an idea of ​​what Swedish midfielder Caroline Seger went through in the final.

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Unlike Canada in the quarterfinals, however, Sweden failed to overcome the setback, losing the gold medal.

“I had the honor of playing with Seger in New York, we actually lived together,” Sinclair said. “She’s a friend of mine; my heart breaks for her.

If Seger could have converted, Sweden would have won gold instead of settling for silver for the second consecutive Olympics.

Instead, by getting her shot over the net, Seger kept Canada alive and Deanne Rose converted to tie the shootout, sending her in extra shots.

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe then stopped Swedish defender Jonna Andersson, and Julia Grosso converted her attempt to give Canada the win.

“She (Seger) has done so much for football in Sweden and around the world,” Sinclair said. “She’s a world-class soccer player and has been for many years. It will hurt, it will hurt for a long time, but I wish him all the best. She has no reason to keep her head down, she’s an absolute legend. She has changed the situation in her country. I feel sick for her.

Caroline Seger (17) of Sweden and Olivia Schough of Sweden (15) look dejected after losing penalties at the Tokyo Olympics at Yokohama International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan on August 6, 2021.
Caroline Seger (17) of Sweden and Olivia Schough of Sweden (15) look dejected after losing penalties at the Tokyo Olympics at Yokohama International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan on August 6, 2021. Photo by Edgar Su /Reuters

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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