Canadian Olympian Maggie Mac Neil wins 100 m butterfly and Canada’s first gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
By Donovan Martin
Hannah Margaret McNair “Maggie” Mac Neil is the Canadian responsible for the country’s first gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In the women’s 100-metre butterfly swimming competition, Maggie Mac Neil beat the competition in a gruelling and close race. In third place, Australia’s Emma McKeon had a time of 55.72 seconds. China’s Zhang Yufei had a time of 55.64, taking second place. But Canada’s Maggie Mac Neil won the competition with a time of 55.59.
Maggie Mac Neil also went on to participate in the Women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay. She, along with Penny Oleksiak, Kayla Sanchez, and Rebecca Smith also won Canada’s first silver medal in this category on Saturday, July 24, 2021. The Canadian team had a time of 3:32.78, a mere 3.09 seconds behind the Australian team (which Emma McKeon was a part of).
“I was just trying to squint and see where I came,” she said, describing the moments after her swim “I heard my name getting called so I knew I must have done something good.” Upon realizing she’d won her first Olympic gold, MacNeil mouthed “oh my God” and got a big hug from defending champion Sarah Sjostrom.
Maggie Mac Neil’s success comes after years of previous accomplishments. In 2018, she represented Canada at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships, where at only 18, she set a meet record winning gold in the 100-metre butterfly. At the FINA World Championships in 2019, she broke the Canadian, Americas, and Commonwealth 100-metre butterfly record with her time of 55.83. Now at 21, she is not only an Olympian but a gold medalist; great things are certain for Maggie Mac Neil’s future.