Here are 5 things Canadians should watch at the Tokyo Olympics on opening day

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The 2020 Olympics officially kick off Friday evening local time (Friday morning in Canada) when competing nations parade during the Opening Ceremony at Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

Here are five things to watch out for:

A refined opening ceremony

Women’s basketball player Miranda Ayim and men’s rugby sevens Nathan Hirayama will be Canada’s flag bearers in a muted opening ceremony. This will be the first time that an athlete from a team sport has led Canadian athletes to a Summer Games. Few will be on hand to see it live, as fans are barred from entering Olympic venues due to the state of emergency in Tokyo that will last for the duration of the Games. Athletes are not allowed to enter the village until five days before the competition, so fewer Canadian athletes will be available to walk with Ayim and Hirayama.

Late Olympic rookie competes in archery

Archery kicks off on Friday with the men’s and women’s “classification rounds”, which will determine the ranking of the following rounds. Stephanie Barrett of Mississauga, Ont., Is the only Canadian among women, while Crispin Duenas of Toronto is the only Canadian. Duenas, 35, is competing in his fourth Olympics, but it’s the first for Barrett, 42, who only returned to the sport in 2016.

Gender-tied rowing events start with singles, doubles and quad skiffs

The first rowing heats begin with men’s and women’s single sculls, double sculls and quadruple sculls. Six Canadian rowers are in action, including Carling Zeeman of Cambridge, Ont. (women’s rowing) and Trevor Jones of Lakefield, Ont. (rowing men). Rowing is completely equal at this year’s Games, with identical events for men and women. A total of 29 Canadian rowers compete in the 14 rowing events throughout the Olympic Games. No medals are awarded before July 27. The rowing site is the maritime forest waterway on Tokyo Bay.

Trio of Canadian dressage athletes make Olympic debut

The Tokyo Equestrian Park will be the site of all equestrian activities at the Games, starting with inspections of horses prior to dressage events. Sixty horses are included in the initial qualifying part of the competition. The participating Canadians are all first-time Olympians: Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu of St-Bruno, Que., Lindsay Kellock of Toronto and Chris von Martels of Ridgetown, Ont. The other equestrian disciplines are eventing and show jumping.

Pre-event training for two shooting events

The training portion for two Olympic shooting events begins on Friday. Pre-training in the women’s 10-meter air rifle and men’s 10-meter air pistol sets the stage for Saturday’s qualifying round and final, where medals will be presented. Lynda Kiejko of Calgary, the only Canadian shooter at the Games, is not in action. Her training for the women’s 10-meter air pistol will take place on Saturday. Shooting has been a part of all modern Olympics except 1904 (St. Louis) and 1928 (Amsterdam).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 21, 2021.

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