‘I came fourth in the freakin’ world’: Penny Oleksiak’s perspective shines at Tokyo Olympics

HALIBURTON, ONT. —
Dear Canada, Penny Oleksiak doesn’t want your “sorry” messages after failing to reach the podium on Friday.

Why? Because she “came fourth in the freakin’ world,” the 21-year-old said on Friday.

Oleksiak was defending her gold medal in the women’s 100-metre freestyle, and despite posting a career-best time and a Canadian record of 52.59 seconds; it wasn’t fast enough for her to even score a bronze medal at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

“I really tried to bring it home and I did the best I could bringing it home,” Oleksiak told reporters following the event.

Australia’s Emma McKeon went on to capture the gold by posting a time of 51.96 seconds. Silver medallist Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong touched the wall in 52.27 seconds, while Australian Cate Campbell edged Oleksiak out of bronze by seven hundredths of a second.

The Toronto native admitted she was a little frustrated with her performance.

“My turn wasn’t my best turn, and I was a little bit frustrated with that,” she said.

But it was outside of the pool where Oleksiak put her race and the Olympics as a whole into perspective.

“Y’all don’t be sending me ‘I’m sorry’ messages!!!” she wrote on Instagram. “I came fourth in the freakin world and went a best time [and] Canadian record against a field of 52 mid women!

“I’m not sad at all,” she added.

On Wednesday, Oleksiak captured the bronze medal in the 200-metre freestyle event, adding a sixth Olympic career medal and making her Canada’s most decorated summer Olympian. She’s tied for the most decorated Canadian Olympian of all time, joining the ranks with speedskater/cyclist Clara Hughes and speedskater Cindy Klassen.

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Oleksiak gets another shot at the podium on Sunday, giving her the chance to become the most decorated Canadian Olympian of all time. Still, it’s all about perspective for the swimming great.

“It’s definitely something in the back of my mind, but I don’t know. I have six Olympic medals. There’s only three people in Canada that can say that. I’m not too concerned. If I have six Olympic medals, whatever,” she said.

–with a file from The Canadian Press

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