Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #48, Penny Oleksiak

Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #48, Penny Oleksiak

Penny Oleksiak Photograph by Getty Images

Penny Oleksiak

Olympic swimmer

48Toronto’s most dominant athlete of 2016 wasn’t a Raptor, Leaf or Jay, but a shy 16-year-old swimmer who brings a lucky blankie with her to meets. Going into Rio, Oleksiak was a relative unknown. Then she won Canada’s first medal there, a bronze in the freestyle relay. Then came another medal, and another, and another. By the time she hoisted the flag at the closing ceremonies, she was a national superstar, earning shout-outs from Justin Trudeau and Drake, and a parade in her honour when she landed back in Toronto.

Up next:

Graduating high school and training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. During the next two Games, she’ll be in her 20s—the age when most swimmers are at their best.

Toronto's Most Influential People of 2016