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.

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