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9 Canadian Athletes To Watch At The 2012 Summer Olympic Games In London (PHOTOS)

07/05/2012 12:02 EDT | Updated 07/27/2016 10:59 EDT
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A tennis ace, a boxing world champion and a speed skater (who just happens to rock the road cycling circuit) are among Canada's best bets for a podium appearance at the London Olympics beginning July 28.

View the gallery below for some of Canada's top contenders, as selected by The Canadian Press.

Canadian Olympic Athletes To Watch

Slideshow text:

Adam van Koeverden

Canoe/Kayak

The veteran paddler has an Olympic medal of every colour and he'll be gunning to add to his collection in London. Van Koeverden, who served as Canadian flag-bearer at the opening ceremonies in 2008, should be a contender in the K1 1,000-metre event. The 30-year-old from Oakville, Ont., won a world title at that distance last year in Hungary.

Dylan Armstrong

Athletics

The 31-year-old shot putter from Kamloops, B.C., is hoping to erase the painful memory of coming less than a centimetre short of a medal at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Armstrong was ranked No. 1 in the world last season but battled injuries over the winter. He didn't qualify for the world indoor final last March but has looked solid in the lead-up to London, consistently performing well on the Diamond League circuit.

Alexandre Despatie

Diving

This will be the fourth Summer Games for the 27-year-old diver from Laval, Que. He has won silver in the men's three-metre springboard at the last two Games but his preparation took a major blow in mid-June when he hit his head on the diving board while training in Spain.

Simon Whitfield

Triathlon

The 2000 Olympic triathlon champion is still going strong at age 37. After winning gold at the Sydney Olympics, Whitfield struggled at the 2004 Games in Athens before bouncing back with a silver medal four years later in Beijing. The Victoria resident has ramped up his training regimen this year to hang with the youngsters on the Olympic course in London.

Milos Raonic

Tennis

Expect to hear some oohs and aahs when Raonic steps on court at the All-England Club. He has a rocket of a serve and the game to back it up. Raonic has posted victories over some of the game's top players this season. The 21-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., could make a splash at the home of Wimbledon.

Ryan Cochrane

Swimming

Cochrane is one of the best bets for a podium appearance among Canadian swimmers. The 23-year-old from Victoria, who won bronze in the 1,500-metre freestyle four years ago, will compete in the 1,500 and 400-metre freestyle events in London. Cochrane holds national records at both distances.

Karen Cockburn

Gymnastics

The trampoline veteran has reached the podium at every Olympics since the event was added to the program at the Sydney Games in 2000. The 31-year-old Toronto native is hoping her fourth Games will bring her that elusive Olympic gold medal. Cockburn is known for her strong flight times, which could give her a slight edge in London since the height of an athlete's jumps will now be factored into the overall score.

Clara Hughes

Cycling

She's pushing 40 and showing no signs of slowing down. Hughes, who has reached the speedskating podium at the last three Winter Games, will be back on the bike in London. It's her first appearance at the Summer Olympics since the Sydney Games in 2000. The Winnipeg native won two bronze medals in road cycling at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Mary Spencer

Boxing

First came the wakeup call and then a near-knockout blow. Spencer, a three-time world boxing champion, suffered her first defeat in over a year last April and followed it up a month later with an upset loss in her first bout at the world championships. The 27-year-old Wiarton, Ont., native qualified for London as a wild-card entry. She hopes to return to the form that saw her win gold at the Pan-Am Games last fall.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, Adam van Koeverden was erroneously identified as a rower.