2023 was a remarkable year for Canadian sports. Athletes had instances of glory, excellence, and legacy, proving that a bright future for Canadian sports lies ahead. While all memorable, each moment displays how passionate Canadian athletes are when representing their country.
The putt heard around the world: Held annually in Canada, the RBC Canadian Open brings over 125,000 spectators to watch the best golfers in the world compete. Having existed since 1904, it is also the third oldest tournament on the Professional Golfer’s Association of America (PGA) Tour, and yet, in the modern day, Canadians have lacked victory on their home turf. After Pat Fletcher’s victory in 1954, Canadian golfers went winless for 69 years at the tournament. In 2004, Canadian legend, Mike Weir, lost in a playoff at the Canadian Open, a loss that was as close as Canada could reach glory. Nick Taylor looked to make a change in 2023. After a close four days at the Oakdale Golf and Country Club, Manitoba’s Nick Taylor was tied for the lead against Englishman Tommy Fleetwood. Throughout the first three playoff holes, Taylor stayed calm and collected when fending off Fleetwood’s missed opportunities for victory. The fourth playoff hole would be the final as Taylor ended the championship with a 72-foot eagle putt. Accompanied by a deafening roar from the crowd, Taylor tossed not only his putter but also a long-time winning drought for Canadian golfers at this tournament. Embodying the underdog, Taylor’s moment of greatness will go down in the history books.
Farewell to a superstar: Canadian soccer has consistently been represented by one person. The elegance and talent of Christine Sinclair has made her one of the greatest athletes to come out of this country. After beginning international play in 2000, Sinclair quickly became a worldwide sensation, taking part in various tournaments such as the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup, the U-19 World Championship, and the 2003 World Cup. Her expertise and potential are what also led her to be named captain of the national team in 2006. From there, Sinclair qualified for her first Olympic games in Beijing which would also be her last Olympics without winning a medal. After winning bronze at London and Rio, gold in Tokyo stands as her finest award. While Sinclair never had a podium finish for any World Cups, her statistics speak for themselves. She leads the women’s soccer world with 190 international goals as well as the national team with 55 assists. Sinclair is second in the world with 354 international games played as well as third for Olympic goals. In front of her home province of BC, Captain Canada won her final two matches against Australia. As she walked off the pitch for the last time in red and white, Sinclair will be remembered for creating a legacy with the country she proudly represented.
Magic in Manila: This past summer, Canadian players not only trained for the coming NBA season but also represented their country in Indonesia and the Philippines at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Men’s Basketball World Cup. Team Canada, who had never won a medal at the World Cup hoped to prove wrong FIBA’s Media Projections Survey, which had Canada as most likely to be the biggest disappointment of the tournament. Starting the group stage, Canada faced a difficult lineup of opponents: Latvia, Lebanon, and Olympic silver medalists, France. Their undefeated streak in the group stage showed future opponents that they were not to be underestimated, especially with a +111-point differential already. Canada then won two and lost two in their path to the bronze medal game. In their first overtime match of the tournament, Canada outlasted the United States and claimed bronze thanks to a 39-point performance by Dillon Brooks. While not on top of the basketball world, they showed that they deserve to be in the mix. Third place in the world after defeating multiple superpowers will stand as one of Canada’s most memorable moments this year.