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Canada Basketball – Canada Sees Continued Growth in Team Sports
TORONTO, ON (November 3, 2016) – Yesterday, Team Canada celebrated its run at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, which featured performances from five team sports. 
“The Canadian Team Sports Coalition (CTSC) would like to take the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of the team sports that competed this summer,” said Michele O’Keefe, President & CEO of Canada Basketball. “Teams are vital to the growth of sport at all levels – they’re often your first sport experience, teach important life skills and have the ability to unite us.”
The women’s soccer team made history by earning back-to-back bronze medals as the first team sport to make a podium repeat at a summer games since 1908.  Additionally, the Rio 2016 tournament saw Canada Soccer’s Janine Beckie score the fastest goal and Deanne Rose become the youngest goal scorer in Women’s Olympic football history.   The exceptional result raised Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team to fourth in the world, its highest-ever world ranking.

“This bronze medal repeat is a testament to the dedication from everyone involved in our Women’s National Team Program,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer’s General Secretary. “The teamwork and leadership demonstrated by this group has inspired Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

Rugby sevens landed on the podium in the sport’s Summer Games debut. Women’s basketball placed seventh, its best showing in 32 years. Men’s field hockey returned to the Olympics after missing London 2012 and finished 11th. Men’s volleyball, participating for the first time since 1992, defeated two of the world’s top five teams.

“There were so many factors that led to the men’s gain in rankings and its fifth-place finish at the Rio 2016 Games,” says Mark Eckert, President and CEO of Volleyball Canada. “There was a strong commitment to the program by our veteran players – both those who were in Rio and those who contributed so much in the past decade – and to the vision of the coaching staff. Also the development structures in place over the years have allowed not only for growth in participation numbers, but also have helped prepare players to compete on the international stage at younger ages.”  

Over the latest quadrennial, Canada leaped 10 spots in the men’s volleyball world rankings to No. 8. During that same period; women’s basketball jumped three places to sit at No. 6, buoyed by unprecedented back-to-back triumphs at last year’s FIBA Americas Championship and Pan Am Games.
Men’s field hockey now sits No. 12, climbing three spots since qualifying for and competing in the Rio Games.

“In field hockey, the Olympics are the biggest competition and every team targets that in the four-year cycle,” says men’s field hockey captain, Scott Tupper, a two-time Olympian. “So to qualify is a massive achievement considering – compared to other nations in the world – we’re a relatively small playing country. It’s fantastic for us, it’s a great experience.”

After adding Olympic hardware to their collection that includes medals from each of the last four World Series, and gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games, women’s rugby sevens is currently the world’s third-ranked team.

“Rugby Canada is incredibly proud of the performance our women’s sevens team put forth to win the first-ever bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero,” says Allen Vansen, Rugby Canada CEO. “We have seen considerable growth in participation numbers and excitement for rugby sevens across the country due to the increased television exposure during and following the games.”

Success has indeed heightened awareness across the country, with Canadians backing their teams as never before – all six women’s basketball games at the Rio Olympics were broadcast in Canada by CBC and affiliate networks, compared to none being picked up in 2012.

“Playing at home in 2015 in front of Canadians was integral in the growth and popularity of our women’s team,” says O’Keefe. “Showcasing the talent, drive and passion they have for representing Canada connected them with a new fan base and will help to inspire a new generation of female basketball players.”

During the 2016 Olympics, both women’s basketball and women’s soccer saw over 11 million people tune-in to Canadian broadcasters to watch their games.   Meanwhile, Canada Soccer reached over 20 million Facebook users and registered nearly 14 million Twitter impressions over the course of games.

At the Paralympics, Canadian teams combined for five top-eight finishes, led by Wheelchair Rugby placing fourth and a fifth-place showing from Women’s Wheelchair Basketball. Other results saw Women’s Sitting Volleyball place seventh, Men’s Wheelchair Basketball finish 11th, while Women’s and Men’s Goalball were sixth and eight, respectively.

For more information:
Bailey Williams
Canada Basketball
Team Sports Coalition’s nineteen member organizations joined forces in 2009 to bring a voice to the issues and concerns impacting the more than 24 million adult Canadians involved in team sport. In addition to communicating the unique benefits of team sports, the Coalition collaborates on common issues and opportunities including sponsorship, public policy, sport tourism, multi-sport event hosting, athlete services and funding.