Toronto is a world-leading city. In recent years. It has a strong presence across a range of industries, while growing its profile in others. Drake is the city’s ambassador on the music stage, of course, while it’s hard to ignore him when he ventures off into other areas like fashion and film. However, it’s the performances of its sportspersons on the international stage which could earn global attention in 2021.
Daniel Negreanu is one of poker’s best ever players. He has won $42 million at live poker tournaments, six World Series of Poker bracelets, and two World Poker Tour championships. He is a decorated competitor. The 46 year-old was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014. By all accounts, it looks as if his career is starting to dwindle in the competitive game. However, it appears there’s a second leg to it. He is an avid blogger, where he posts his thoughts on the sport and other more general topics relating to life, and has recently signed with GGPoker to become an ambassador for the company. His 2020 challenge versus Doug Polk which was streamed live on YouTube suggests that Negreanu might be heading towards one-off content-led matches, bending his career towards being more of a creator, especially as the GGPoker brand has numerous sponsors who use Twitch to raise all involved’s profile.
Christine Sinclair is a legend of soccer. The thirty-seven year-old is the highest-scoring international footballer in the world, of both the women’s and men’s game, 186 goals in 296 games. She is part of a select group of players to play in five FIFA World Cups too, joining the likes of Lothar Mattaus, Rafa Marquez, and Marta.
She will head into the 2021 Tokyo Olympics with the national team hoping to finally win some silverware with Canada. They have a tough group as they were drawn against Great Britain, Japan, and Chile.
Kylie Masse is the current 100m backstroke World Champion. She has set national records with her performances and is also a world record holder. Her bronze at the Rio games in 2016 will surely look to be surpassed at Tokyo this summer. She’ll be the poster swimming for the Canadian team, as she’ll compete in the 100m and 200m backstroke, hoping to bring back gold.
While not born in Toronto but, rather, in nearby Kitchener, Jamal Murray came out of the end of the 2020 NBA season performing at a superstar level. His max-contract extension which was signed in the summer of 2019 was met with steep scepticism. He’d only been seen at that point as an average point guard in the league, averaging around 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. In the 2020 playoffs, though, he showed why the Denver Nuggets had tied him down: averaging 26.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.6 assists, making clutch plays in clutch moments.
His start to the 2021 season was slow. It looked as though he’d stepped back from the superstar potential he’d shown and returned to being an average player. Jokic, his Nuggets teammate, was where a lot of the attention went, instead. The Joker is a unicorn, one of the best examples of an uber-attacking center in recent years, putting him in the running for this season’s MVP. Murray’s output began to improve. He looked like he was returning to where everyone thought he would be. Sadly, in a game against the Warrior he had a non-contact injury which turned out to be a torn ACL, requiring reconstructive surgery. He will miss the remainder of the NBA season and, also, will miss out on the Olympics, with plenty of Canadians putting their hopes on Murray pushing them towards a podium finish.