Canucks will stand out at Summer Games: Williams
In spite of the country's reputation as a winter sports nation, the host of the 2012 London Olympics says Canadian athletes will be the ones to watch at the upcoming summer games.
"Canada is doing so well right now in the international competitions," veteran Olympic host Brian Williams told CTV's Canada AM on Monday, nodding toward the nation's 26 medals at the 2010 winter games in Vancouver.
"The summer athletes I think, in a strange way, have been inspired by the winter games' success," he said.
But the nation's performance might be hampered by the season, Williams said, adding that Canada has been known to excel on ice and snow — not sand and surf.
"Canada is a winter sports nation," he said. "Canada will not dominate the summer games."
History seems to support William's prediction. Canada finished in 13th place overall at the 2008 summer games in Beijing, netting 18 medals. In order to move up a spot and match Cuba, the country would have had to earn six more medals.
With 368 days to go until the games, Williams offered a sobering prediction for the nation's overall performance in London.
"To me, 18 medals would be a major accomplishment," he said while still conceding that the athletes could have some surprises in store.
Canucks to watch
Despite his modest prediction for the nation overall, Williams said Canada should expect individual athletes to perform well and bring home some impressive hardware.
In particular, Williams said he expects standout performances from:
- Dylan Armstrong, a young shot putter from Kamloops, B.C., who had a great run during the games in Beijing.
- Paula Findlay, a triathlete from Edmonton, who is known as a wunderkind in the three-sport competition.
Williams added he was particularly excited to watch Mary Spencer, an aboriginal boxer from Southwestern Ontario who is favoured to win gold at the upcoming games.
"The Chief for the Assembly of First Nations people told me in Vancouver that we need role models for young Aboriginal Canadians," Williams said.
"Well, Mary Spencer is a great role model. She's an articulate, intelligent, beautiful young woman and, man, can she fight."
As a giant countdown clock in London's Trafalgar Square ticks closer and closer to the games, Williams said he anticipates that the British capital will be an impressive host to the sporting world's biggest event.
"London will be a great host city," he said. "It's the first city to host three Olympic games — 1908, 1948 following WWII and now 2012."
His vote of confidence is partially because he has faith in the head of London's Olympic committee, he said.
"The great Sebastien Coe, the great Olympic runner, is actually heading their Olympic committee," he said.
"I mean John Furlong did such a great job in Vancouver, Coe will do an equally good job in London."