January 29, 2014 10:18 pm

A record number of Canadian athletes to compete at Sochi Olympics

Women's ice hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser poses for a photo in St. Poelten, Austria, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014.

AP Photo/Ronald Zak

TORONTO – Canada will send 221 athletes to the Sochi Olympics, its largest ever team for a Winter Games.

The Canadian Olympic Committee officially announced its full team Wednesday.

Canada’s goal is to win more medals than any other country in Sochi.

Canada’s team of 202 athletes finished third overall four years ago in Vancouver with 26 medals, but won a record 14 gold.

There are 36 more medals on the table in Sochi due to new events on the program, giving Canada a realistic shot of surpassing its 2010 total.

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The team is comprised of six skicross athletes, 27 speedskaters, 10 curlers, 16 bobsledders, eight lugers, four skeleton athletes, 21 women hockey players, eight biathletes, 24 snowboarders, 25 male hockey players, 15 alpine skiers, 17 figure skaters, 13 cross-country skiers, 20 freestyle skiers and seven ski jumpers.

Beyond the Podium: Global News’ complete coverage of the Sochi Olympics 

“The size of our team and its medal potential is a great tribute to our athletes, their coaches and the system Canada has in place to develop high-performance Olympic athletes,” Canadian chef de mission Steve Podborski said in a release. “Our athletes are very talented and are the best-prepared team to ever represent Canada at the Winter Games.”

Curling skip Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg is the oldest female athlete at 39 while Calgary bobsledder Lascelles Brown, who’s also 39, is the oldest man.

The youngest female athlete is figure skater Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., who turned 16 earlier this month. The youngest male is 18-year-old luger Mitchel Malyk of Calgary.

Of the 121 male athletes and 100 female athletes, 46 are former Olympic medallists and 108 have made the podium at a world championship.

Ontario has the largest contingent with 64 athletes or 29 per cent of the team. Alberta is second with 56 athletes (25 per cent) and Quebec is third with 43 competitors (19 per cent).

Canada will field a team in all events except Nordic combined.

Hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser will carry Canada’s flag into the opening ceremonies on Feb. 7.

Some Canadian 85 coaches will also be in Sochi.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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