Penny Oleksiak Pulls Out Of Commonwealth Games To Focus On Long-Term Preparation For Paris 2024

Penny Oleksiak-Olympic Swimming Trials-h-20june2021Photo Scott Grant
Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant/Swimming Canada

Seven-time Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak has withdrawn from Team Canada for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next month to focus on her long-term preparation for Paris 2024.

Oleksiak and Swimming Canada made the announcement on Wednesday from Budapest, Hungary, where the team is preparing for the FINA World Championships.

Swimming Canada will be considering an additional swimmer nomination to the Commonwealth Games team.

Oleksiak, who won joint 100 free gold with Simone Manuel at Rio 2016, said:

“I am excited to compete at world championships, but after thinking long and hard about the additional commitment of Commonwealth Games I have decided this is the best option long-term to prepare for the 2023 season and into Paris 2024.”

The decision was made in consultation with Swimming Canada High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson and High Performance Centre – Ontario Interim Head Coach Ryan Mallette.

Atkinson said:

“The international competition calendar has become compressed in an unprecedented way with three long-course world championships in 17 months, and this year adding a Commonwealth Games shortly after the worlds.”


Simone Manuel & Penny Oleksiak: Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Atkinson highlighted the importance of working with each individual athlete on plans that keep the long-term interests of the athlete at the heart.

“We fully support Penny and this decision to manage her workload over the long term. We are looking forward to her performances as part of Team Canada at the world championships, and we look forward to seeing what she can accomplish in 2023 and ultimately at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

Oleksiak’s withdrawal is a blow for the Games, a year after the 22-year-old came away from Tokyo with three medals including 200 freestyle bronze.

Ahead of her in Japan were Ariarne Titmus and Siobhan Haughey and with the Australian bypassing worlds, Commonwealths would have seen the pair renew rivalries.

Oleksiak won three relay silvers at the 2018 Games on Gold Coast and she said:

 “Ryan and Swimming Canada have been so supportive of my decision, and I am always incredibly appreciative of the support from Swimming Canada and from Ryan as my coach.

“It was hard to make this decision so close to the Games. I look forward to racing with my teammates at worlds, and cheering them on from a distance during Commonwealth Games. I know it’s going to be an exciting summer.”

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1 year ago

What utter nonsense! Not doing a competition because of something that may or may not happen in her state of health / fitnessin in18 months / two years time? If the past two years have told us something is that anything can happen in the next day / week / month. She must have amazing foresight to think that specific daily training sessions will have an impact one way or the other in Paris!

1 year ago
Reply to  John

Penny has been fighting for a long time to shine the Canadian colors successfully, we can’t blame her for taking a few vacations to come back soon stronger and in her body and in her head. Until Paris 2024, there are still so many heavy battles awaiting her.

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