Canadian women strike soccer gold at Olympics

Gold medallists Canada's team pose with the medals during the victory ceremony after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's final football match at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on August 6, 2021. (Photo by Loic VENANCE / AFP) (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

After an inspiring win over the United States in the semi-finals, the Canadian women’s soccer team finished the job on Friday, winning our nation’s first Olympic gold medal in soccer.

The Canadian women defeated Sweden 2-1 in penalty kicks in Tokyo on Friday morning.

Things didn’t look for Canada in the first half, as Sweden seemed to dominate much of the action, leading to a goal from Stina Blackstenius. But a second half penalty kick from Londoner Jesse Fleming tied the score at 1. The game stayed tied through the remainder of regulation and extra time.

So it was off to penalty kicks to decide the winner. After five attempts by each side, the score was still tied. After a dramatic save by goalie Stephanie Labbe in sudden death, the winning goal was scored by Julia Grosso and Canada won its first ever gold medal in Olympic soccer.

It was, in fact, the first time Canada had ever played in a gold medal soccer game. The Canadian women had won bronze in 2016 and in 2021, but after beating the heavily favoured U.S. in the 2021 semi-final, it seemed Canada would not be denied a top spot on the podium.

“I can’t even describe this right now” Canadian captain Christine Sinclair told CBC after the game. “We came here with the goal of changing the colour of the medal and we landed on top of the podium. Never say die”

Sinclair was playing in her fourth Olympics, and has more international goals than any other soccer player.

“The next step is we have to get a professional league and teams in Canada. I think it’s unacceptable the Olympic champions don’t have a professional environment in Canada,” Sinclair told CBC Olympics. “That’s the next task.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his congratulations to the victorious Canadian team moments after the final penalty kick.

The victory was also historic for midfielder Quinn, who becomes the first openly trans or non-binary person to win an Olympic medal.