Editor’s Note: The Olympics have sadly been postponed until 2021 because of COVD-19. We’d still recommend looking at our list of female leading Olympians that we put together to mark International Women’s Day earlier this month though, so you know who to keep an eye for next year.

Last time around in Rio, female athletes contributed an impressive 16 of Canada’s 22-medal haul. And Canadian girl power at the Olympics will continue, thanks to the highest ever level of female participation, as 48.8 per cent of the athletes are expected to be women.

So, without further ado, here are our top 10 female Olympians from Canada to watch out for (next year, now).

10. Kia Nurse – Basketball

Kia Nurse
Image Credit: Fiba.basketball

Nurse was an inspirational figure in Canada’s charge to qualification in women’s basketball, and Tokyo will be the 24-year-old’s second Olympic appearance.

The point guard has rich sporting heritage within her family, and is the niece of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Not content with doing the maple leaf proud, she’s been netting the plaudits at club level too — by becoming the first non-Australian player to be crowned the WNBL’s MVP, and also one of only three Canadians to have ever played in the WNBA All-Star Game.

9. Kylie Masse – Swimming

Kylie Masse
Image Credit: swimmingworldmagazine.com

Canada is spoilt for choice with its current crop of swimmers. With a whole host of top names plotting to go from the pool to the podium, including the likes of Maggie MacNeil, Kayla Sanchez, Taylor Ruck and Penny Oleksiak, it’s tough to single any one aquatic athlete out.

But Masse is special enough to feature as one of four swimmers in our top 10. The Team Canada talent is now 24 and is in serious form, having recently defended her world championship title in the 100-metre backstroke — the first ever Canadian swimmer to achieve this feat.

On the back of this success, and having tasted bronze in Rio, she’ll be gunning for gold this time.

8. Maggie MacNeil – Swimming

Maggie MacNeil
Image Credit: swimmingworldmagazine.com

Alongside Masse, MacNeil is one of only two Canadian women to capture a world swimming title — and will be one to watch out for if she qualifies for the Games in Japan.

The 20-year-old caused a splash by winning bronze as part of a relay team at the 2019 World Championships, with teammates including Rebecca Smith, Sanchez, Ruck and Oleksiak.

Her superb solo effort was to clinch gold in the women’s 100-metre butterfly, beating out four-time world champ and Olympic gold medalist, Sarah Sjöström. Not bad.

7. Brooke Henderson – Golf

Brooke Henderson
Image Credit: tsn.ca

Professional golfer Henderson won her first major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, back in 2016 — when she was 18 years old, which made her the tournament’s youngest ever winner.

The prodigious talent, who was named female athlete of the year by the Canadian Press three times, is now 22 and the only Canadian woman to have won a golf major since the 1960s.

Golf made its long-awaited return to the Olympics in 2016, after a break of 112 years, and Henderson did the maple leaf proud by finishing seventh (tied).

With four more years under her belt, can she turn the green gold this time?

6. Laurence Vincent-Lapointe – Canoeing

Laurence Vincent-Lapointe
Image Credit: huffingtonpost.ca

It’s been a rough year for world champion sprint canoeist Vincent-Lapointe after she was banned from competing, following a positive drugs test.

But, the 27-year-old has now been cleared of all charges by the International Canoe Federation, and will have the chance to participate this summer — at the first Olympics to ever include women’s canoeing.

The decorated canoeist holds the world record in the C1 200 metres and C2 500 metres events, and campaigned passionately for canoe sprint races to be added to the Olympic roster.

Her training and preparation for Tokyo may have been disrupted, but she still has the pedigree, talent and experience to star.

5. Taylor Ruck – Swimming

Taylor Ruck
Image Credit: nationalpost.com

Water-based athletes are dominating this list — and with good reason. Ruck is another standout among what could be called Canada’s golden generation of swim stars.

The sky is the limit for Ruck who, at 19, already has two Olympic bronze medals in her trophy cabinet.

She won these in Rio for the 4x100m freestyle relay and the 4x200m freestyle relay, when she was just 16 — making her and fellow Team Canada star Oleksiak the first athletes born in the 21st century to win medals at the Games.

4. Penny Oleksiak – Swimming

Penny Oleksiak
Image Credit: Twitter/OleksiakPenny

Still only 19, Oleksiak will have just turned 20 by the time she travels to Tokyo. She makes it into our top five due to her seriously impressive accomplishments at such a young age.

Oleksiak is the youngest Canadian to ever win an Olympic gold medal (to date), which she scooped at an astounding 16 years and 59 days — and she is also the only Canadian to ever win four medals (two bronze and one silver) in one summer Games.

As if that wasn’t enough, she also shares the record for the most Olympic career medals ever won by a Canadian swimmer. Considering she is tied with the great, late Victor Davis, she has a chance of running away with that record this summer.

And, should Oleksiak win three medals in Tokyo, she will become the most decorated Olympian in Canada’s illustrious history.

3. Erica Wiebe – Wrestling

Erica Wiebe
Image Credit: globalnews.ca

Ontario-born athlete Wiebe is used to being first in class. She’s previously bagged gold at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, as well as her crowning achievement — a gold medal in Rio four years ago, on her Olympic debut, no less.

Now a sports ambassador for Alberta, the 30-year-old is hoping to be number one once again this summer.

Apparently, one of her secrets is indulging in a jar of Nutella before competing. We could get onboard with that…

2. Rosie MacLennan – Gymnastics (trampoline)

Rosie MacLennan
Image Credit: YouTube

MacLennan is a history maker.

The Torontonian trampolinist is the first in her discipline to ever win back-to-back Olympic gold medals, as well as the first Canadian to defend a title at the summer Games. Not a bad haul for a 31-year-old.

With plenty still left in the tank, despite taking to gymnastics from the age of eight, can she make it a hat-trick of golds this summer?

We’re willing to bet her grandfather, Lorne Patterson, who was unable to compete in the 1940 Games due to World War II, would be proud either way.

1. Christine Sinclair – Soccer

Christine Sinclair
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Soccer star Sinclair is a trailblazer — for women in sport, women in soccer, and Canadian soccer players across the board.

The Portland Thomas forward is the nation’s most successful ever player in her sport, and has a list of achievements to back it up.

As well as two bronze Olympic medals, the 36-year-old leads the charts among players of either gender for most international goals scored, and for most caps among active players.

An inductee to Canada’s Walk of Fame, Sinclair made her international debut as a 16-year-old, meaning she has clocked up 20 career years already. With at least one more Games to try for gold at, you wouldn’t bet against her.

More than honourable mentions also go to: beach volleyball stars Sarah Pavan, Melissa Humana-Paredes, Heather Bansley, and Brandie Wilkerson; the rugby sevens team; divers Jennifer Abel and Meaghan Benfeito; canoeist Katie Vincent; rowers Hillary Janssens and Caileigh Filmer; and many, many more.

Let us know if we’ve missed out any of your favourites…

If you’re looking to place some bets on these leading female Olympians later this year, be sure to head to our list of top online sports betting sites to get the most competitive odds.