Decorated swimmer Aurélie Rivard won Canada’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Rivard of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., Repeated her title as the women’s S10 100-meter freestyle champion on Saturday.
She ran to the finish in a remarkable 58.14 seconds, breaking the world record for the second time that day.
“Being able to come back from what happened on day one and swim the best I could, win Canada’s first gold medal – that makes it even more special and I really enjoy the moment,” she declared.
Swimmers from the Netherlands completed the rest of the podium. But Rivard’s dominance was crystal clear, as she finished 2.09 seconds ahead of runner-up Chantalle Zijderveld.
Lisa Kruger won the bronze medal in 1: 00.68.
WATCH | Canada’s Aurélie Rivard holds a swimming world record for gold:
Aurélie Rivard swims to another world record en route to Canada’s first gold in Tokyo
The native of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., Broke her own world record set earlier today with a time of 58.14 seconds in the women’s S10 100-meter freestyle final. 3:45
When the Canadian won, she jumped up and hit the water with her arms in total elation.
Greedy for gold
Gold is Rivard’s second medal at these Games, the other being a bronze in the 50-meter freestyle S10.
This medal came from the Canadian’s first chance to defend one of her Paralympic titles in Tokyo. But her third place left the champion unsatisfied.
“I didn’t have a bronze medal in my collection and didn’t really want one. I didn’t have a good run,” she said, noting that it was always special to ride. the podium.
WATCH | Para-swimmer Rivard takes the podium in Tokyo:
Aurélie Rivard receives Canada’s first gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., Climbs to the top of the podium after her world record performance in the women’s S10 100-meter freestyle final. 2:40
Rivard headed for the freestyle event with a thirst for gold.
She attacked the event in her qualifying round, breaking her own world record for what would be the first time that day in 58.60 seconds.
Next, the athlete says she will watch her performance and speak with her trainer before focusing on her next races.
Rivard won the first step of the podium in this event in 2016, as well as in the 50 and 400 free meters. She also won silver in the 200-meter individual medley in Rio and carried the flag at the closing ceremony.
Including a London 2012 silver medal, Rivard’s Paralympic medal count increased to seven in total.
The swimmer is the most decorated Canadian Paralympian in Tokyo. The Paralympic Games mark the first time Rivard has competed in 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WATCH | Rivard reflects on winning Canada’s first gold medal:
Canadian Para Swimming star Aurélie Rivard describes the feeling of winning Canada’s first gold in Tokyo
Holder of the world record in the 100 meters freestyle women S10, Aurélie Rivard looks back on her race and adds to her total Paralympic medals. 1:13
The ongoing pandemic means its success has taken place in a different atmosphere than Rio, with fans excluded from Paralympic events. The athlete said after his bronze medal run that the lack of a crowd seemed to be stepping up the pressure.
“Without the people in the stands just to be happy and cheer you on, it changes the mood, it’s a lot heavier,” she said.
It also means Rivard’s family is absent from the pool celebrations.
“I would love to share this with my family for sure,” she said. “I think it’s harder for them, though, not to be here than for me. But I know they watched it, I know how to support myself from home, and I can’t wait to talk to them. later tonight, I hope. “
But when Rivard received her gold medal on Saturday, cheers could be heard from other members of Team Canada, congratulating her from the stands before the national anthem sounded.