Penny Oleksiak – Syl Apps Award 2017

Olympic record holder, four-time Olympic and World Medalist, Canada150 and WE Canada Ambassador. Born on June 13, 2000, in Toronto, Ontario, swimmer Penny Oleksiak is Canada’s youngest Olympic gold medallist ever. At just 16 years of age she also holds the Canadian record for winning the most Olympic medals at a single summer Games. Penny qualified for her first senior national team, at age 15, at the 2016 Canadian Olympic & Para-Swimming Trials. Four months later, after turning 16, she competed at her first senior event – the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. It was here that she became a four-time medalist earning one gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the 100m freestyle, 100m fly, 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays. Penny had the honour of being selected as Team Canada’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Less than four months later, she competed at the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships in Windsor, Ontario, where she added an additional four medals to her collection in the 100m freestyle, 4x50m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m individual medal relay. By the end of 2016, Penny had broken an Olympic Record, 12 Canadian Senior records and 5 World Junior records. Most notably, she was awarded the 2016 Lou Marsh Award which is presented to Canada’s top athlete of the year. She also won Swimming Canada’s Female Swimmer of the Year, Swimming World’s Newcomer of the Year, CP Female Athlete of the Year, the 2016 Bobbie Rosenfeld Female Athlete of the Year, Postmedia’s 2016 Female Athlete, CBC Sports Athlete of the Year, the 2016 Canada Commonwealth Cup and was a member of the 2016 Canadian Press team of the year. In addition to swimming, Penny is a grade 11 student at TDSB’s Monarch Park Collegiate in Toronto. She advocates for awareness on the importance of inclusion as well as mental and physical health for kids in Canada. Penny learned how to swim at age 9 in a neighbour’s backyard pool.

Quick facts

  • Instagram: @typicalpen
  • Twitter: @OleksiakPenny
  • Hobbies: Reading, volleyball, tubing, biking, playing with her dog
  • Siblings: Hayley- NCAA Division I rower; Jamie- NHL hockey player; Jake – played NCAA hockey; Claire – teacher.
  • Good luck charm: Grey blankie
  • Fun Fact: Collects Starbucks mugs for her mom and Hawaiian shirts for her dad when travelling
  • Fun Fact: Recently got a kitten and named it Rio