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The winter Olympic sports season shifts gears this weekend
Following last week’s Canadian Olympic trials, there are no big curling events until after Christmas. Figure skating is also on an extended (and unwanted) break after next week’s Grand Prix Final in Japan was cancelled due to new travel restrictions related to the omicron variant.
But even without those marquee attractions, this weekend’s winter Olympic sports calendar is plenty full. Here are the biggest things to follow:
Canada’s most dominant Olympic athlete is back.
Moguls skiing may look like an impossible, death-defying sport to you and me. But for Mikaël Kingsbury, victory has become about as routine as buckling up his helmet. The 29-year-old Quebecer is indisputably the GOAT, and has been for some time. He’s piled up 65 World Cup victories in either moguls or dual moguls (the latter is a non-Olympic event) and has won nine consecutive moguls season titles. He owns three world titles in each discipline and is the reigning Olympic men’s moguls gold medallist. He’s as close to a sure thing as there is in sports.
Kingsbury’s quest for a 10th straight World Cup moguls title begins Saturday at the season opener 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. Read about what makes Kingsbury tick in this profile by CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux.
Canada’s resurgent long track speed skaters are (almost) home.
After a very successful start to the season in Europe, the team rolls into the North American leg of the World Cup circuit (starting today in Salt Lake City) with a lot of momentum. The hottest Canadian is reigning men’s 500-metre world champion Laurent Dubreuil. He won a bronze today — his fifth medal in as many 500m races this season. Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Ted-Jan Bloemen (the reigning Olympic men’s 10,000m champ) are also having good years, while Canada is ranked No. 1 in the women’s team pursuit and No. 2 in the men’s.
Next weekend’s World Cup meet is in Calgary, which should give Canada’s skaters another boost. They’ve been on the upswing over the last few years after a couple of quieter Olympic cycles, and they should be a big source of medals in Beijing this winter. The data company Nielsen Gracenote projects Canadian long track speed skaters will reach six podiums in Beijing — more than a quarter of the country’s expected total.
If you’re reading this in time, you can catch the rest of today’s action in Salt Lake City until about 6 p.m. ET here. Watch live races Saturday and Sunday at 2:20 p.m. ET on CBC Sports’ streaming platforms.
Canadian bobsledders will try to keep the medals coming.
Christine De Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski took bronze in the two-woman event at each of the first two World Cup meets (both held on the same track in Austria). They also finished third at the Olympic test event in Beijing in October. Reigning Olympic two-man champion pilot Justin Kripps won bronze in both that event and the four-man last week.
Canada also has multiple 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 at the Olympic test event.
Meanwhile, the most accomplished bobsledder Canada has ever produced had a big day off the track. Kaillie Humphries, who won two Olympic and two world titles before a bitter split from the Canadian team, got her U.S. citizenship on Thursday, all but ensuring the star pilot 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 U.S., but the Olympics have more stringent eligibility rules.
This week’s World Cup meet is in Germany. The women’s monobob and two-man races go Saturday, and the two-woman and four-man are on Sunday. CBC Sports is streaming them all live. See the schedule here for times.
Canada’s big air snowboard and ski stars wrap up their World Cup season.
It’s a short one — this weekend’s stop in Colorado is the second and final one on the schedule, though many of these athletes will compete at the Winter X Games in January before the Olympics.
In October in Switzerland, a Canadian reached the podium in three of the four big air events. Elena Gaskell took bronze in the women’s ski, Teal Harle scored silver in the men’s ski, and Jasmine Baird got bronze in the women’s snowboard. Ironically, it’s the men’s snowboard that might be Canada’s strongest event. Seb Toutant is the reigning Olympic champion, Mark McMorris is the reigning world champ, and Max Parrot took silver at the 2021 worlds. Parrot and McMorris have both won multiple X Games big air titles too. Canada also has the reigning women’s big air world champion in Laurie Blouin.
Toutant failed to qualify for the men’s final in Colorado, though McMorris and Parrot made it through. Baird was the only Canadian to reach the women’s final. Blouin didn’t compete. Watch the snowboard final live Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET and the ski final live at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBC Sports’ streaming platforms.
The world’s best women’s alpine skiers are competing in Canada.
Alberta’s Lake Louise is hosting World Cup downhills today and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET, and a women’s super-G 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 time, so it’ll be a surprise if a Canadian reaches the podium at Lake Louise. But you never know: yesterday in Colorado, 27-year-old Canadian Broderick Thompson took bronze in a men’s super-G for his first career World Cup medal.
The Toronto Argonauts nearly knocked their own quarterback out of the CFL East Division final. According to a report by TSN’s Dave Naylor, the Argos and their ownership group encouraged McLeod Bethel-Thompson to attend last night’s Raptors game as a way of drumming up interest for Sunday’s showdown vs. Hamilton. It’s being played in Toronto, and both the Argos and Raptors are owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which would like to sell some more tickets. Unfortunately, attending the Raptors game was a violation of the CFL’s COVID-19 rules, which say that Bethel-Thompson should now have to quarantine for four days. He missed today’s practice before the league decided to give him some leeway. He’ll have to skip practice and meetings again tomorrow, but he’s allowed to play Sunday as long as he keeps testing negative.
Waterloo’s Tre Ford became the first Black quarterback to win the Hec Crighton Award. The dual-threat QB was named the top player in Canadian university 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 collegiate eligibility. The Niagara Falls, Ont., native is ranked ninth on the list of prospects for the next CFL draft. Ford’s Warriors went 3-4 this season and lost in the first round of the Ontario playoffs to Western, which went on to earn a spot in Saturday’s Vanier Cup vs. Saskatchewan. Read a preview of that matchup here and watch it live at 1 p.m. ET on the CBC TV network, CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.
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 30-year-old league 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, the Thunder’s Canadian star point guard, was out with a possible concussion. Read the gory details of the game here.
This weekend on CBC Sports
Besides 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 details, see the full schedule here. Saturday’s Road to the Olympic Games show on the CBC TV network and those streaming platforms features Lake Louise women’s downhill action. Watch it from 4:30-6 p.m. ET. Sunday’s show features big air, bobsleigh and skeleton. Watch it on the CBC TV network from 1-3 p.m. in your local time
Something else to check out
The 4% Rising newsletter: A study done a few years back found that only four per cent of traditional media coverage was devoted to women’s sports. Hence the name of this newsletter focused on growing the audience by telling you when and where to watch women’s sports on TV and online. Sample the latest edition and subscribe here.
You’re up to speed. Have a good weekend.