Canada Set to Eclipse 2012 Medal Count

With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio fast approaching, athletes of competing nations are rounding out their preparations for the greatest sporting event of all. The hopes of several nations are high heading into what promises to be 16 days of gripping sports action.

Canada is one such nation that is anticipating a productive Olympics, as they set to eclipse their gold medal tally from the 2012 Games in London. Trampoline gymnast Rosie MacLennan was the only athlete to win gold for Canada at the 2012 Olympics. The gold medal tally doesn't necessarily tell the full result from the London Games, in all, 18 medals were awarded to Canadian teams and individuals, their highest ever collection of medals.

Expectations are high amongst the Maple Leaf camp. Indeed, the CBC medal predictor has Canada favored to bring home three gold medals and 17 in all. Among the favorites to salute in Rio is Heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who recorded the highest points score in the Heptathlon last year and finished second in the World Championships in Beijing.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton is of course married to U.S. decathlete Ashton Eaton. They are arguably the sports' most high profile pairing. If both athletes were to win gold in their respective events, they would become the first married couple in Olympic history to win individual gold medals for different countries. Ashton Eaton is the world record holder in the decathlon and will start the hot favorite in the event at Rio, which only adds to the pressure on Theisen-Eaton to perform.

Also favored to top the podium is sprint kayaker Mark de Jonge. Whilst the training and preparation for the K1 200 sprint kayak event is as arduous as any, the final will be decided in just 34 seconds, the time it takes to paddle 200m. The event was first staged in London, where de Jonge claimed the bronze medal. However, things have changed since 2012, de Jonge is the reigning World Champion and world record holder.

The other discipline where Canada will go in as favorites is the women's cycling team pursuit. Although recently beaten at the World Championships in March, the team will carry the hopes and expectations of the nation. Their gold medal winning performance at he 2015 Pan Am Games holds them in good stead entering the Rio Games.

Whilst he may not be favored to win gold, Canadian track sprinter Andre De Grasse will attract a lot of attention as he competes in the 100m and 200m in Rio. At just 20 years of age, De Grasse was the first Canadian to break 10 seconds since legendary sprinter Donovan Bailey. Whilst his personal best at 9.92s may not appear medal worthy, De Grasse has run faster wind assisted (9.75s) and is on a strong upward trajectory. He also boasts a bronze medal from the World Championships in Beijing last year.

Rosie MacLennan is again tipped to be competitive in the trampoline gymnastics, however, pundits aren't expecting her to go back to back in Rio. Other events where Canada are vying for medals include: the Women's 3m and 10m diving events, the Men's pole vault and the Women's mountain bike.

Although golf makes its long-awaited return to Olympic competition at Rio, it's unlikely that the event will provide any medal joy for team Canada. Graham DeLaet and David Hearn are both favored to represent Canada in the Men's event, but neither will go in as one of the event's favorites, should they make the team for Rio. However, golf is one of those sports where anything is possible, especially in Olympic competition.

The lead up to any Olympics is always an exciting time, especially for smaller competing nations; where expectations tend run higher than for larger countries. However, it's not just the CBC predictor that is providing Canadian fans with confidence, even the local betting sites are predicting that Rio will produce more gold than London, with the line being set at three gold medals with most bookmakers. Whatever the case, Canada will at least be hoping they better their gold medal tally from London.

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