2015 Year in Review Part I: Canada’s success at world championships
Winter sports. Summer sports. Take your pick. Canadian athletes were competing at their various world championships from January to November and many brought home some hardware.
There were 18 medals (3 gold, 5 silver, 10 bronze) won in summer Olympic events and 21 medals (3 gold, 11 silver, 7 bronze) won in winter Olympic events this calendar year. Here are the highlights from 2015, the Year of Sport:
FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships
With just one World Cup podium on his resume, Kevin Hill struck snowboard cross silver in Kreischberg, Austria. Darcy Sharpe added a silver in the big air event which will make its Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018.
Canadians captured three medals in Olympic freestyle skiing events, but the overall haul was much larger. Justine Dufour-Lapointe backed up her Sochi 2014 victory with her first world title in moguls and added a silver in the non-Olympic dual moguls event. Mikaël Kingsbury won silver in moguls but led a Canadian podium sweep in the dual moguls, finishing ahead of teammates Philippe Marquis and Marc-Antoine Gagnon.
After capping the season with his fourth straight Crystal Globe (overall World Cup title), Kingsbury started the 2015-16 season with his 29th career World Cup victory, setting a new all-time mark. And it was a doubly celebratory competition for the Sharpe family as Darcy’s sister Cassie added a silver in ski halfpipe.
FIS Alpine Ski World Championships
Dustin Cook joined the ranks of the Canadian Cowboys with his super-G silver in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It was quite a breakthrough for a skier who had never cracked the top-10 in a World Cup race. He went on to stand on two World Cup podiums in March, including a victory in the Meribel super-G. The quartet of Erin Mielzynski, Candace Crawford, Trevor Philp and Phil Brown added a silver in the team event, which will be contested on the Olympic program for the first time in PyeongChang.
ISU World Single Distances Championships
It was a four-medal event for Canada in Heerenveen, Netherlands where Denny Morrison was a double medallist, winning silver in the 1500m and in the team pursuit alongside Jordan Belchos and Ted-Jan Bloeman. That wasn’t the last of the success in 2015 for the latter pair, as Belchos won Canada’s first ever Pan Am Games medal in roller speed skating and Bloeman broke the 10,000m world record. Laurent Dubreuil won bronze in the 500m while Ivanie Blondin captured silver in the mass start, another event which will be new to the Winter Games in 2018.
FIL World Luge Championships
FIS Nordic World Ski Championships
It was a truly historic competition for Alex Harvey who won silver in the sprint and bronze in the skiathlon to become Canada’s first ever double medallist at a single cross-country world championship. He also brought his career medal total to four.
UCI Track Cycling World Championships
Canada maintained a podium streak in the women’s team pursuit dating back to 2012 with the bronze by Allison Beveridge, Jasmin Glaesser, Kirsti Lay, and Steph Roorda. Beveridge also won bronze in the non-Olympic scratch race, one of the events included in the omnium, in which she earned a World Cup victory in New Zealand in December.
IBU Biathlon World Championships
Nathan Smith enjoyed an eventful month, first becoming the first Canadian male biathlete to win a world championship medal when he took silver in the 10km sprint and then few weeks later earning his first career World Cup victory, just the second Canadian man to ever do so.
FIBT Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships
It had already been an impressive debut World Cup season for skeleton racer Elisabeth Vathje with four podiums, including one victory. But she put the icing on the cake with a bronze medal at the world championships in Winterberg, Germany.
ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships
Charles Hamelin is now the proud owner of 28 career world championship medals after winning silver in the 1000m and bronze in the 1500m in Moscow.
World Women’s Curling Championship
ISU World Figure Skating Championships
Pair Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford along with ice dance teammates Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje all went to the world championships undefeated, including two Grand Prix victories each along with the Grand Prix Final and Four Continents Championships. Duhamel and Radford capped their perfect season with Canada’s first pairs gold medal since 2001 while Weaver and Poje claimed bronze for their second straight world podium. The dancers are unbeaten once again this fall while Duhamel and Radford saw their string of nine straight international victories snapped by a silver at the Grand Prix Final in December.
IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship
Canada dropped a 7-5 decision to the archrival United States in the gold medal game to bring home silver.
World Men’s Curling Championship
John Morris was the original skip of the first Team Canada to compete at the Brier. But after five games, the rink (including front end Nolan Thiessen and Carter Rycroft) made a switch and Pat Simmons took over the skipping duties. They squeaked into the playoffs with a 7-4 record before successfully defending their title. That got them to the world championships where they won bronze.
IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship
Canada ran the table in Prague, posting a 10-0 record, including a 6-1 victory over Russia in the final to win its first men’s hockey world title since 2007. Captain Sidney Crosby became the 26th member of the Triple Gold Club, adding the world championship gold to his Olympic and Stanley Cup victories.
FIFA Women’s World Cup
With Canada hosting the global soccer tournament for the first time, the national team’s youngest member, Kadeisha Buchanan, made herself a household name by winning the Young Player Award after playing every minute of the tournament. The 19-year-old went on to be one of 10 candidates for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
Canada was knocked out of the tournament in the quarterfinals, losing to England 2-1 at Vancouver’s BC Place.
The next goal for this squad, with Buchanan emerging as a leading player on the global stage, will be to secure an Olympic spot for Rio 2016.