Several members of Canada’s Olympic team, including multi-medalist and closing ceremony flag-bearer Penny Oleksiak, are back home on Canadian soil Tuesday morning.
Oleksiak and many other returning athletes touched down at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport aboard two Air Canada aircraft before sunrise, with another group of athletes scheduled to arrive at around the same time early Wednesday.
Friends, family and fans mixed with reporters waiting for the athletes to clear customs and pick up their luggage, with most of the hype focused on 16-year-old Oleksiak, who won four swimming medals at the Rio Games, including Canada’s first gold.
In total, Canada won 22 medals and finished 10th place overall, including four gold, three silver and 15 bronze medals. Canada was most dominant in the pool and track, winning six medals in each.
Residents in Oleksiak’s east-end Toronto neighbourhood are planning a celebration for her return, tentatively planned for August 28th. A board member of the Beach Village Business Improvement Area, says the group has applied for a permit to hold a big party for Oleksiak and other athletes who have lived in the neighbourhood, with live music.
There are no formal celebrations planned to welcome London’s local athletes, but family, friends, and fans were are the London International Airport to greet and cheer for them at the arrivals gate.
Local soccer team members Shelina Zadorsky and Jessie Fleming arrived, doning the bronze medals they claimed after outscoring Brazil. Basketball star Miranda Ayir was also welcomed home Tuesday morning.
Decathlete Damian Warner, who won bronze, and gold medal high jumper Derek Drouin, from nearby Corunna, are also set to arrive in LondonWednesday.
AM980 will have a reporter at the London International Airport to follow the excitement.