Canadian Curling Trials Mark Busy Olympic Sports Weekend

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All winter Olympic sports take place this weekend

This is only a slight exaggeration. After a few relatively calm weeks in the winter sports calendar, it suddenly seems like everything is happening at the same time. Get used to it. From now on, it’s full steam ahead for the Beijing Olympics, which officially opens in 11 weeks.

The flagship event this weekend is the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials – perhaps the most discussed (and fiercely contested) qualification in the world. There’s also a star-studded figure skating Grand Prix stop, and we’ll see if Canada’s speed skaters can follow through on their strong start to the World Cup season.

Here’s what to watch in Olympic winter sports this weekend:

Curling: Canadian Olympic Trials

Tournaments to decide who will represent Canada in the men’s and women’s events in Beijing will begin Saturday in Saskatoon and end next Sunday (mixed doubles trials take place in January).

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about how the rest of the world has “caught up” to Canada in curling, and the results bear this out to some extent. The most powerful nation in sport failed to win a medal in the men’s or women’s events at the last Olympic Winter Games – the first time this has happened – and hasn’t won a world title since 2018. But the Canada’s depth remains the gold standard, and that’s why the lawsuits are so compelling.

Nine men’s and nine women’s teams are competing in Saskatoon, and arguably nearly half of them would be favored to win Olympic gold if they succeed. Top contenders for the women’s tournament are Kerri Einarson and Rachel Homan (they faced each other in the Scotties’ last two finals, Einarson winning both), Tracy Fleury (top Canadian 30-5 starting this season) and Jennifer Jones (six Scotties titles and Olympic gold medal in 2014). On the men’s side, there are the Brads (Gushue, three-time Brier winner and 2006 Olympic gold medalist; and Jacobs, 2013 Brier winner and ’14 Olympic champion), plus Kevin Koe (four-time Brier winner, 2018 Olympic athlete) and Brendan Bottcher (the defending Brier champion).

Gushue is the favorite of consensus men, but the opinion is more divided for women. Einarson and Homan have the best mix of age and track record – they’re both on the 35-year-old right side, and Homan won three Scotties titles before losing the last two finals to Einarson. Jones is a legend who is still capable of being anyone any day, but at 47 she is on the downward slope of her career. Fleury is the most intriguing. The 35-year-old has never made it to a Scotties final, but her team are playing better than anyone in the country right now. Ken Pomeroy’s statistical model ranks them No. 1 in the country and gives them the best chance of winning the events, slightly ahead of Homan and Einarson.

If you missed yesterday’s newsletter, read more about Pomeroy’s notes and what he predicts for trials here. Read CBC Sports curling reporter Devin Heroux’s preview here. Join Devin and co-host Colleen Jones, live from Saskatoon, for the season premiere of This curling show tonight at 7 p.m. ET on the CBC Sports YouTube channel.

Grand Prix of Figure Skating: French Open

The penultimate stage before the Grand Prix final features several stars. The headliners are the four-time world ice dance champions and Olympic gold medalists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron from France. They are back on the ice at home after missing the pandemic 2020-21 season, then returned with a victory in Italy two weeks ago. The individual events are highlighted by reigning world champion Anna Shcherbakova of Russia and 2021 men’s world championship silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan. They also both won in Italy and were in the lead after today’s short programs in France.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, who won Skate Canada International in late October, hope to challenge Papadakis and Cizeron for ice dance gold and appear to be Canada’s best hope for a figure skating medal at the Olympics. from Beijing. They placed second, behind Pap and Ciz, in today’s opening round. The other Canadians competing are Keegan Messing (sixth after the men’s short), and Vanessa James and Eric Radford (third after the pairs short).

Speed ​​Skating: Long and Short Track World Cups

After a few quieter Olympics, Canada’s long track speed skaters are expected to make a lot more noise in Beijing. The depth of the team has really blossomed over the past two years, and data company Nielsen Gracenote predicts it will win five medals in Beijing, nearly a quarter of the country’s expected total. Judging by the results of last week’s World Cup season opener, that might underestimate them.

The Canadian skaters won seven medals in the three-day competition in Poland, including a gold in the women’s team pursuit by Ivanie Blondin, Valérie Maltais and Isabelle Weidemann. The others were in silver – a pair of Laurent Dubreuil in the men’s 500m races and one for Blondin (women’s mass start), Weidemann (women’s 3000), Ted-Jan Bloemen (men’s 5,000) and the men’s pursuit team. de Bloemen, Jordan Belchos and Connor Howe.

Another medal was won today as this week’s World Cup in Norway began. Weidemann won silver in the women’s 5,000m. Others could be in store as the competition continues through Sunday.

Canada’s short track speed skaters are also back in action as their World Cup circuit resumes in Hungary after a few weeks off. The best of the field at the moment is Pascal Dion, who won bronze in the men’s 1,000m in each of the first two stages and won gold in a men’s 5,000m relay. Three-time 2018 Olympic medalist Kim Boutin is still chasing her first podium of the season. She is 0-for-4 in her individual events.

Other things:

* The Canadian women’s hockey team resumes its Rivalry vs. the United States series Sunday at 5 p.m. ET in Kingston, Ont. Canada won the first two games of the exhibition tour, with six more remaining after Sunday’s game.

* Board sports – bobsleigh, skeleton and luge – open all their World Cup seasons. The top Canadian in today’s skeleton races was Jane Chanell, who finished seventh in the women’s competition in Austria. The bobsleigh starts tomorrow at the same place, while the luge gets underway in China.

* The twisty alpine ski program at the start of the season continues with a pair of women’s slalom races in Finland on Saturday and Sunday. Things really start next week with Lake Louise, Alta. Hosting the first men’s ‘speed’ events of the season (ie downhill and super G), followed by women’s events the following week. .

How to watch:

The Figure Skating Grand Prix and the speed skating, sliding and Alpine World Cup events are all streamed live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem. See the full program here. Saturdays On the way to the Olympic Games (1 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET on these streaming platforms and the CBC TV network) includes long and short track speed skating, luge, bobsleigh and skeleton. Curling Trials are on TSN.

Can Canadian ice dancers challenge the French duo on their native soil?

This figure skating show features the fifth stop of the Grand Prix circuit in Grenoble, France, where Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier will have their chance against ice dance greats Papadakis and Cizeron. 5:39

Quick…

Concerns over a missing Chinese tennis player extend beyond sports. Peng Shuai, a 35-year-old woman who was once ranked No.1 in women’s doubles, has disappeared after accusing a former senior Chinese government official of sexually assaulting her. She made the allegation in a Nov. 2 article from her verified account on Chinese social media platform Weibo. It was quickly deleted, and it has not been seen or heard definitively since. Earlier this week, Chinese state media published what was supposed to be an email from Peng to the President of the Women’s Tennis Association, Steve Simon, in which the author wrote that Peng is “not missing. , and I’m not safe “and claimed that the sexual assault allegation” is not true “. Simon said in a statement that the message “only raises my concerns about [Peng’s] security and location ”and added,“ I find it hard to believe that Peng Shuai actually wrote down the email we received or believes what is attributed to him. ”Several tennis stars, including Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, have expressed concern for Peng, and many sportsmen are asking China to prove it is safe. The crisis has even spread to the Olympic world, helping to rekindle calls to boycott the Winter Games. Beijing in response to allegations of human rights violations by China A diplomatic boycott – one in which a country allows its athletes to compete but does not send any dignitaries is “something we are considering,” the US President Joe Biden.

The Canadian men’s soccer team has its best ranking in 25 years. Back-to-back home wins over Costa Rica and Mexico in World Cup qualifiers propelled Canada to 40th in the recently released FIFA rankings, a high it last reached in 1996. The Canada started the year 72nd and has continued to progress with a successful qualifying race. Tuesday’s momentous victory over Mexico propelled the Canadians to number one in their region’s qualifying tournament, although they still lag behind the United States (12) and Mexico (14) in the FIFA rankings. Learn more about Canada’s progression in the rankings here.

And finally…

Connor McDavid did it again. Remember that fabulous goal he scored a few weeks ago when he slalomed against four Rangers defensemen? McDavid produced a near carbon copy last night against Winnipeg. Discover them:

This weekend on CBC Sports

In addition to all of the above mentioned winter Olympic sporting events, the live streaming menu on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem also includes the International Swimming League playoffs, the world championships trampoline, the Canadian University Soccer National Championships and the Yates Cup. Ontario College Football Title Game between Western and Queen’s. See the full broadcast schedule for times.

You are aware. Have a nice week end.


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