Ones to Watch: 11 Canadian Athletes Gearing Up for a Big 2024

By Ben Botelho

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As Canadians, we aren’t strangers to athletic achievement. Whether it’s winter or summer sports, the Great White North boasts some of the world’s top ranking athletes across a range of disciplines. These athletes aren’t just playing—they’re owning the field, the court, and everything in between. 

Magazine cover featuring Brandie Wilkerson. Her hair is done up in a loose bun and she is facing the camera from the side in a portrait shot, wearing a off-the-shoulder red dress. There is copy written overtop.
Brandie Wilkerson | GLORY Sports 'Ones to Watch' 2024 cover (Photo: Jason Tse Photography)

From Olympic heroes making history to hoop sensations dominating the basketball scene, these Canadians are the ones you need to keep your eyes on. They’re the athletic phenoms who are rewriting the playbook and setting the stage for a legendary year in Canadian sports.


In our first GLORY Sports ‘Ones to Watch’ guide, dive into a pool of athletes that are expecting a big year ahead in 2024.

Brandie Wilkerson on a beach volleyball court. She is in front of a volleyball net looking victorious.
Photography: Darren Calabrese/COC

Brandie Wilkerson

Olympian, Team Canada Beach Volleyball


In the world of beach volleyball, you’d be hard pressed to have a conversation without mentioning Brandie Wilkerson. Since her rookie year in 2017, she has been on a meteoric rise and now finds herself and her teammate Melissa Humana-Paredes ranked #4 in the world. Wilkerson has fluctuated around the top rankings for a while now and is a proven defender, being awarded by the FIVB in 2018 and the AVP in 2022 with the best blocker in the world accolade. Outside of the sport, Wilkerson co-founded the Project Worthy Scholarship, which aims at increasing BIPOC representation in the Canadian volleyball community. Being the first Black woman to represent Canada for beach volleyball, she is more than an elite athlete, she’s an inspiration to all. With back-to-back great years in the Pan Am games and World Championships, medaling in Paris is not a question of if, but which medal she brings home. 

Breakdancer Phil Kim in a white outfit and pink hat performing a break move on the dancefloor at a competition.
Photography: Andrew Lahodynskyj/COC

Philip Kim

Olympian, Team Canada Breakdancing


This summer’s Olympic Games will include a flurry of new sports, and, subsequently, an abundance of new superstars—one of whom will be Philip Kim. Known as ‘Phil Wizard,’ the 26-year-old breaker who was born in Toronto and raised in Vancouver has won three gold medals in breaking since 2022, and is looking to add to the tally in Paris. While the inauguration of the sport into the 2024 Paris Olympics has raised a few eyebrows, Kim’s powerful and hypnotic abilities will showcase the greatness of the art form and prove the skeptics wrong. Breaking will undoubtedly announce itself on the world stage this summer in a big way, and you can expect Kim to do the same. 

Tajon Buchanan in a red jersey holding a soccer ball against the backdrop of a stadium with red seats.
Photography: Canada Soccer

Tajon Buchanan

Soccer player; Inter Milan, Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team


Christine Sinclair, Alphonso Davies, Owen Hargreaves, and now, Tajon Buchanan—Canada has boasted some legendary soccer players across the years that are household names in the Great White North, and in the next year it will be time to add yet another. Three years after his initial arrival to Europe, Buchanan signed for one of the top clubs in the world, Inter Milan. With his arrival, Buchanan becomes the first Canadian player to compete in Italy’s top flight division and with Inter Milan being a seasonal competitor in competitions like Serie A and the Champions League, he will have the chance to shine on the biggest of stages. This year will be a big year for him, and by the end of 2024, don’t be surprised if Buchanan bcomes one of the key faces of Canadian soccer. 

Penny Oleksiak in a hero stance with her arms on her hips. She is wearing 7 of her Olympic medals in a dusty rose dress.
Photography: Ilich Mejia

Penny Oleksiak

Olympian, Team Canada Swimming


Penny Oleksiak’s resume speaks for itself —seven Olympic medals, 31 total medals, and major bragging rights as Canada’s most decorated Olympian, all at 23 years old. This year, she’s headed into the Paris Olympics as one of the top ranking swimmers in the world who is looking to add some more silverware to her collection. Although she withdrew from the World Championships in 2023, her time off allowed her to focus on rehabbing her left knee injury and come time for the Olympics, there is no doubt that she will be prepared to take home yet another gold. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wearing a white tank top and sweats against a white background.
Photography: SKIMS

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Point Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder


Canadian basketball has had its fair share of superstars, but none quite like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Back-to-back MVP Steve Nash was a playmaking phenomenon, but Gilgeous-Alexander is a scoring sensation. Last year, he came fifth in MVP voting after averaging over 31 points per game. This season, he’s continued his dominance by averaging over 31 points per game again, with increased rebounding and assisting numbers. The Oklahoma City Thunder are currently first in the western conference, with Gilgeous-Alexander being third in the MVP race. This year could be the year the NBA MVP award is crowned on a Canadian head for the first time in 17 years thanks to this Toronto-born wonder. 

Sarah Nurse reclined on a draped seat. She is wearing a denim jacket and pants with matching shoes.

Sarah Nurse

Olympian; Hockey player, PWHL Toronto


Sarah Nurse is pioneering the future of women’s hockey. The Olympic Gold medalist has had a huge year both on and off the ice, as she played an integral role in the formation of the new Professional Women’s Hockey League. The inaugural season, which kicked off earlier this year, will include 24 regular season games for each team before the playoffs begin on May 6th, giving Nurse enough time to show Toronto who their new hockey superstar is, and even bring the city its first hockey championship since 1967. 

Connor Bedard

Center, Chicago Blackhawks


The last decade of NHL drafts has provided us with an abundance of players who turned into superstars. From Connor McDavid, to Auston Matthews, to Jack Hughes, there have been many highly touted prospects that lived up to their hype. However, since McDavid was drafted, there hasn’t been a better-looking prospect than Connor Bedard. The Vancouver native has been destined for stardom in the NHL even before he even declared for the draft. Since being selected by the Blackhawks, he has not disappointed. So far in his rookie year, Bedard leads the Blackhawks in goals, assists, and points. He’s the first player to do so since Auston Matthews, and if that proves telling, then we can expect Bedard’s rookie season to be one for the history books.

Summer McIntosh wearing a Team Canada swimming uniform with a swim cap and goggles.

Summer McIntosh

Olympian, Team Canada Swimming


In the world of swimming, there isn’t an athlete quite like Summer McIntosh. She has a total of 17 medals to her name—that’s one of each year she’s been on this earth. With seven gold medals, six junior world records set, and one world record set all in the last three years, McIntosh has the potential to be more than just good, but maybe the greatest ever. Her first Olympic games was in Tokyo, when she was only 14-years-old. Now at 17 with loads of accolades to her name, she heads into Paris with the potential to add further to her trophy case. 

Andre De Grasse

Olympian, Team Canada Athletics


It was only inevitable that Canadian runner Andre De Grasse would make it on this list. Six-time Olympic medalist, Canada’s second most decorated Olympian of all time, and the fastest man in the north are just a few titles De Grasse can go by. In Rio 2016, he burst onto the scene, celebrating his bronze medal mid-race in that iconic photo with Usain Bolt. In 2020, he captured the gold medal in the 200m sprint and set a Canadian record. Although De Grasse has experienced some injury setbacks since his gold medal in Tokyo, he has a new coach and a refreshed motivation to get back onto the podium in Paris—and we expect him to be there.

Paralympian Marissa Papaconstantinou in her running gear and blade running down a track.

Marissa Papaconstantinou

Paralympian, T64 100-m


This list wouldn’t be complete without including Paralympian Marissa Papaconstantinou. Perhaps one the most resilient athletes of the group, Papaconstantinou’s story has been an inspiring one since the moment she started competing. At 16 she went to her first Paralympic games, at 19 she became the first Canadian women to be signed by Nike, and at 24 she’s won three medals in the 100 and 200m. With two of those medals coming last year at the world championships in Paris, she is heading back to familiar territory, and will likely return home with something to show for it.

Josh Morrissey wearing a navy blue hockey uniform of the Winnipeg Jets at a hockey arena.

Josh Morrissey

Defenceman, Winnipeg Jets


When you are given the nickname “Norrissey”, it clearly signifies that you are among the top defencemen in the NHL. In Josh Morrissey’s case, this proves itself true every game. Coming fifth in last year’s Norris Trophy voting, Morrissey was an essential part of Winnipeg’s playoff run last season. This year, he’s picked up where he left off and accumulated 34 points in 47 games. Morrissey is a big reason why the Jets sit atop the central division, and with the back half of the season left to play, the best is yet to come for the Calgary-born hockey player.