DPReview found a knowledgable source who confirmed that files coming over from Canon R3-shooting Olympics sports photogs are arriving at only 24 megapixels, a resolution was – until quite recently – considered a good sports resolution. The introduction of the Sony A1 and the impending release of a high-resolution Nikon Z9, however, puts the new Canon body with roughly half the resolution of its primary competition.
While sure to create hundred-post forum arguments about the nature of sports photography, the Canon resolution choice may actually have a lot more to do with the R3s true intended audience, which isn’t really sports photographers: it’s likely the much-larger market of wedding photographers.
Sports, wedding and journalism photographers all do quite well with lower resolution sensors, and many even seem to find them preferable. The reasons behind that preference attract much speculation at the moment, but for many, the time pressures and shooting conditions for those genres cause image quality compromises that might lead to unwanted criticism were high-resolution versions of the images available for pixel peeping.