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The winter Olympic sports season changes gears this weekend
Following last week’s Canadian Olympic Trials, there are no major curling events before Christmas. Figure skating is also on an extended (and unwanted) hiatus following the cancellation of next week’s Grand Prix final in Japan due to new travel restrictions tied to the omicron variant.
But even without these renowned attractions, this weekend’s Olympic winter sports calendar is full. Here are the main things to follow:
Canada’s most dominant Olympic athlete is back.
Mogul skiing can seem like an impossible, death-defying sport to you and me. But for Mikaël Kingsbury, victory has become about as routine as putting on a helmet. The 29-year-old Quebecer is undoubtedly the GOAT, and has been for some time. He racked up 65 World Cup victories in moguls or in parallel (the latter is not an Olympic event) and won nine consecutive titles in moguls. He holds three world titles in each discipline and is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in moguls. It is as close to a certainty as it is in sports.
Kingsbury’s quest for a 10th consecutive World Cup mogul title begins Saturday when the season opens in Finland. Watch the men’s and women’s events live at 9 a.m.ET on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem. Find out what makes Kingsbury tick in this profile from CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux.
Canada’s long track speed skaters are (almost) home.
After a very successful start to the season in Europe, the team approach the North American leg of the World Cup circuit (which begins today in Salt Lake City) with a lot of momentum. The most prominent Canadian is the reigning world champion in the men’s 500 meters Laurent Dubreuil. He won a bronze medal today, his fifth medal in as many 500m races this season. Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Ted-Jan Bloemen (the reigning Olympic champion in the men’s 10,000m) are also having good years, while Canada is ranked first in the women’s team pursuit and second in the men’s. .
Next weekend’s World Cup competition will be held in Calgary, which should give Canadian skaters another boost. They have been on the rise in recent years after a few calmer Olympic cycles, and they are expected to be a big source of medals in Beijing this winter. Data company Nielsen Gracenote predicts that Canadian long track speed skaters will reach six podiums in Beijing, more than a quarter of the country’s expected total.
If you read this in time, you can watch the rest of today’s action in Salt Lake City until around 6 p.m. ET here. Watch the races live Saturday and Sunday at 2:20 p.m. ET on CBC Sports’ streaming platforms.
Canadian bobsledders will try to keep the medals ahead.
Christine De Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski won bronze in the two-man bobsleigh event in each of the first two World Cup matches (both contested on the same track in Austria). They also finished third in the Olympic test event in Beijing in October. Reigning Olympic two-man champion Justin Kripps won bronze in that event and in the four-man race last week.
Canada also has several contenders in the new discipline of women’s monobob, which is making its Olympic debut in Beijing. De Bruin, Cynthia Appiah and Melissa Lotholz are ranked fifth, sixth and seventh in the World Cup standings, and Appiah placed third in the Olympic test event.
Meanwhile, the most accomplished bobsledder Canada has ever produced has had a big day off the track. Kaillie Humphries, who won two Olympic titles and two world titles before a bitter split with the Canadian team, obtained his American citizenship on Thursday, ensuring that the star driver will be able to compete for the American team in Beijing. Humphries won the 2020 and ’21 two-woman world titles and the ’21 monobob world title for the United States, but the Olympics have stricter eligibility rules.
This week’s World Cup meeting takes place in Germany. The women’s monobob and two-man bob races will take place on Saturday, and the two-man and four-man bobsleigh races on Sunday. CBC Sports broadcasts them all live. See the schedule here for schedules.
Canada’s big air snowboard and ski stars are wrapping up their World Cup season.
It’s short – this weekend’s stop in Colorado is the second and final in the program, although many of those athletes will be competing at the Winter X Games in January ahead of the Olympics.
In October in Switzerland, a Canadian reached the podium in three of the four big air events. Elena Gaskell took bronze in women’s skiing, Teal Harle took silver in men’s skiing and Jasmine Baird took bronze in women’s snowboarding. Ironically, it’s men’s snowboarding that could be the strongest event in Canada. Seb Toutant is the reigning Olympic champion, Mark McMorris is the reigning world champion and Max Parrot won silver at the 2021 worlds. Parrot and McMorris also won several big air titles at the X Games. Canada also has the reigning women’s big air world champion Laurie Blouin.
Toutant failed to advance to the men’s final in Colorado, although McMorris and Parrot did qualify. Baird was the only Canadian to reach the women’s final. Blouin did not compete. Watch the Snowboard Finals live Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET and the Ski Finals live at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBC Sports’ streaming platforms.
The world’s best alpine skiers compete in Canada.
Lake Louise, Alta., Hosts World Cup downhill races today and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET, and a women’s super-G on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Watch them all live on CBC Sports’ streaming platforms.
Canada’s alpine program is going through a fallow period, so it will be a surprise if a Canadian steps onto the podium at Lake Louise. But you never know: yesterday in Colorado, 27-year-old Canadian Broderick Thompson won bronze in a men’s super-G for his first career World Cup medal.
The Toronto Argonauts nearly eliminated their own quarterback from the CFL East Division final. According to a TSN’s Dave Naylor report, the Argos and their group of owners encouraged McLeod Bethel-Thompson to attend last night’s Raptors game to spark interest in Sunday’s showdown against Hamilton. It’s being played in Toronto, and the Argos and Raptors are owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, who would like to sell more tickets. Sadly, attending the Raptors game was a violation of CFL COVID-19 rules, which state that Bethel-Thompson should now be quarantined for four days. He missed training today before the league decided to give him leeway. He will have to skip practices and meetings again tomorrow, but he is cleared to play on Sunday as long as he continues to test negative.
Tre Ford of Waterloo became the first black quarterback to win the Hec Crighton Award. The double-threat quarterback was named the best player in Canadian college football after finishing seventh in passing yards and fifth in rushing yards this season. His average of 10.7 yards per carry was the best in the country. Ford, who is also the first Waterloo player to win the Hec Crighton, was in his final year of college eligibility. The Niagara Falls, Ont. Native is ranked ninth on the list of prospects for the upcoming CFL Draft. The Ford Warriors went 3-4 this season and lost in the first round of the Ontario playoffs to Western, who went on to win a Vanier Cup berth on Saturday against Saskatchewan. Read a preview of that game here and watch it live at 1 p.m. ET on the CBC TV network, CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.
The Canadians were on both ends of the worst blowout in NBA history. The Memphis Grizzlies’ 152-79 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night (that’s 73 points!) Shattered the league’s 30-year record by five points. Canadians Brandon Clarke and Dillon Brooks each scored 11 for Memphis, while Lu Dort had 15 for OKC. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada’s star point guard for the Thunder, was absent with a possible concussion. Read the gory details of the game here.
This weekend on CBC Sports
In addition to the sports covered above, you can live stream track cycling, rugby sevens, luge, figure skating, swimming and floorball events on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem. . For more details, check out the full program here. Saturdays On the way to the Olympic Games aired on the CBC television network and these streaming platforms showcases the descent action of the women of Lake Louise. Watch it from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Sunday’s show includes big air, bobsleigh and skeleton. Watch it on CBC TV from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. local time
Something else to check
The 4% Rising newsletter: A study carried out a few years ago found that only four percent of traditional media coverage was devoted to women’s sports. Hence the name of this newsletter focused on growing audiences by telling you when and where to watch women’s sports on TV and online. Try the latest edition and subscribe here.
You are aware. Have a nice week end.