The Next International Star of the Paris Games: Why Summer McIntosh Could Shine Brightest

I must admit to having undertaken my research with a certain Canadian bias, hoping to see swimmer Summer McIntosh or decathlete Damian Warner appear on these various lists.

You probably already have a few names in mind, including LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic or Caitlin Clark, if she makes the US basketball team. However, despite their immense talent, the notoriety of these athletes does not come from the Olympics. That’s why I eliminate them straight away, like tennis players.

For me, what matters most is who will transcend their sport and their nation. This is the ultimate criterion, because we can all name the great figures of our favorite sport or our region.

Think of Simone Biles, who faced her mental health issues in Tokyo and was, by far, the most cited athlete of these pandemic Games.

Simone BilesPhoto : Getty Images / Laurence Griffiths

Sometimes there can be more than one star, as was the case in Rio in 2016. Usain Bolt, whose track record we all know, Biles (again), with his five medals, including four gold, and Michael Phelps, who broke the record for Olympic medals won, shared the prize of notoriety there.

On a Canadian level, we had Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse, but on the world stage, they were overshadowed by these three giants, certainly among the five greatest Olympic athletes of all time.

In the French capital, the stars at the opening ceremony will certainly not be the same as at the closing of the event.

For the opening, we are thinking among others of Biles, the British snowboarder Sky Brown and Teddy Riner, the greatest judoka of all time, who will surely be the flag bearer of the host country. However, I doubt any of them will be the international queen or king at the closing ceremony. That said, I’m already predicting that the photo of Sky Brown, six or seven meters in the air with the Eiffel Tower in the background, will probably generate the most clicks during the Games.

Personally, I believe that, for once, the women’s 100m in Paris will be more interesting than the men’s. We must always take these athletes into consideration, because, after all, this is the premier event of the Games. I really hope to see American Sha’Carri Richardson get her revenge after being kicked out of the Tokyo Games for inhaling cannabis. She had consumed it a few days after her victory at the American trials, which took place shortly after the death of her mother.

I understand that rules are rules, even though this product is legal where it was, in Oregon. However, this shows that the list of banned substances should perhaps be reviewed, because if I were a sprinter I would have no problem seeing my competitors consuming this substance.

With his strong personality and status as a standard-bearer for the LGBTQ community, I think Richardson will attract more attention in the 100m final than anyone else in the men’s race, which seems to be lacking a bit of panache this year.

The superstars are very often American because of the global scale of their system and their dominance in Olympic sports. Unfortunately for us, a Canadian in a summer sport will never be able to claim to have obtained this very subjective title of great star of the Games which I focus on in a somewhat playful way.

Why not Summer McIntosh?

Actually, do you know why this topic interests me? This is because during a discussion with my friend and colleague Benoît Huot, we both concluded that Summer McIntosh will possibly be the biggest international star of the Paris Games.

Yet in doing my research, McIntosh’s name only appeared on NBC’s list of 100 Athletes to Watch in Paris.

Hundred? It’s fitting that she was included, but I was disappointed to see that she was even the only Canadian athlete mentioned. I find this a bit insulting, and I hope she proves those who didn’t really have her on their radar wrong.

Yes, it’s a lot of pressure, but trust me, she knows very well what the expectations are for her. She also knows that Canadians are behind her and want to see her win a record number of medals during her career. If Benoît and I think she has everything to be the poster girl of these Games is that she has this maturity and this calm which allow her to always transform pressure into advantage.

Regardless, it will be very exciting to see this inspiring 17-year-old athlete potentially transcend her sport, and her nation.

2024-05-27 09:05:17
#big #star #Paris #Olympic #Games #Olympic #Games

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