Except for perhaps Kaitlyn Weaver, all those athletes would have fulfilled the regular requirements for citizenship, provided they were granted permanent residence when they partnered up and moved to Canada. Three years of residence is the major hurdle.We are, actually, via Section 5(4) of the Citizenship Act:
If you're a high-performance athlete, getting citizenship via this route is no problem. Kaitlyn used it after partnering with Andrew, Piper after partnering with Paul, and Liubov after partnering with Dylan.
Canadian citizenship requirements
That said, they may have been granted citizenship under the provision cited, and they certainly needed to have the processing of their citizenship application expedited, as processing times are up to a year at the best of times.
Edited to add:
I just checked, and the published processing time is now 23 months!