Weekend Roundup: Speed skating records broken in Calgary, successful ski cross comebacks
The countdown to Beijing 2022 continues to tick on. With less than two months before the Games begin, Team Canada continues to rack up medals every weekend and give fans plenty of reasons to get excited for the Olympic Winter Games.
Here’s a recap of a weekend that saw a lot of Canadian flags on international podiums:
Record-breaking weekend in Calgary
Laurent Dubreuil’s reign of the 500m continued on home ice. He hasn’t missed a single podium in the eight World Cup races in the distance so far this season. The big highlight of the weekend was his gold medal on Friday when he broke the national record that had stood since 2007, becoming the first Canadian to break the 34-second mark. He added a bronze on Sunday.
On Saturday, Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann, Valérie Maltais won their third straight gold in the women’s team pursuit and set a national record in the process, breaking the mark they had only set last weekend in Salt Lake City. The trio of Ted-Jan Bloemen, Jordan Belchos and Connor Howe added a bronze in the men’s team pursuit on Sunday.
Blondin also won her third straight medal in the mass start, taking silver on Sunday to sit atop the World Cup standings. Weidemann holds onto first place in the women’s long distance World Cup standings following her 3000m silver on Friday. Bloemen also earned his third individual medal of the season with his bronze in the 5000m. Howe enjoyed a breakthrough moment on Saturday when he won 1500m silver for his first career individual World Cup medal.
Can’t keep the king down for long
After a surprising eighth-place finish in moguls on Saturday, Mikaël Kingsbury bounced back in a big way with a gold in dual moguls at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup in Idre Fjäll, Sweden. It’s Kingsbury’s second World Cup gold of the season and 67th of his career.
Bronzes in Winterberg for bobsleigh and skeleton athletes
Cynthia Appiah also claimed a bronze in the women’s monobob event, as she stood on a World Cup podium for the second straight weekend.
In the skeleton, Mirela Rahneva captured a bronze on Friday for her first World Cup medal since January 2020. She missed all of last season due to injury.
Women’s ski cross highlighted by comeback kids
Phelan claimed ski cross silver on Saturday in her second weekend of racing in nearly two years, while Marielle Thompson won bronze on Sunday in her first World Cup competition since sustaining an ACL injury in March.
SILVER for Canada's Brittany Phelan at the women's ski cross World Cup stop in Val Thorens 🥈🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/eDlaZLFPNh— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) December 11, 2021
Overall, Canadian skiers combined for eight top-10 finishes in the women’s ski cross event in Val Thorens.
Karker and Mackay win ski halfpipe medals at Copper Mountain
There were two Canadian medals won on Friday as Rachael Karker claimed a silver medal in the women’s ski halfpipe event after putting up a score of 90.00.
On the men’s side, Brendan Mackay won a bronze medal after scoring 91.50 points.
Rachael Karker has got SILVER 🇨🇦🥈— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) December 10, 2021
The Guelph, Ont., native is on the podium in the women's freestyle skiing World Cup halfpipe competition at Copper Mountain 👏 pic.twitter.com/ZjrIHBh2ot
Messing golden in Zagreb
Keegan Messing won gold on Saturday in the men’s event at the ISU Challenger Series event, Golden Spin of Zagreb.
Messing finished with 255.07 points overall. After placing first in Thursday’s short program, Messing held on to top spot despite finishing fifth in the free skate.
Hosking and O’Dine narrowly miss out on podium
20-year-old Elizabeth Hosking finished less than five points shy of Spain’s Queralt Castellet for bronze in the women’s halfpipe at the World Cup in Copper Mountain. Her fourth-place finish is a career best result.
Meanwhile, Meryeta O’Dine finished fourth at the women’s snowboard cross World Cup in Montafon, Austria. That is her best World Cup result since 2017.
Thénault with two top five finishes in Ruka
Marion Thénault inched closer to the podium in aerials with two top-five finishes over the weekend at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup. In a competitive field, her Saturday score of 94.82 was the fifth-highest of the weekend overall.
Team Canada takes two from PWHPA all-star team
As part of a PWHPA (Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association) showcase tournament versus the women’s national hockey team, some of the world’s best hockey players took the ice over the weekend.
In the Thursday matchup, Emily Clark scored the late game-winner for the Canadian women’s hockey team in a 3-2 win. On Saturday, Canada was in control beating the all-stars 5-1.
The Canadian women’s hockey team is centralized in Calgary to prepare for February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Damian Warner is Canada’s Athlete of the Year
After a record-setting Olympic Summer Games, 2021 was filled with worthy candidates for Canada’s Athlete of the Year.
But it was Damian Warner’s record setting performance that stood above the rest. He set an Olympic record with 9018 points in the decathlon en route to winning gold – Canada’s first gold in the event. He became just the fourth person to break the elusive 9000-point barrier in the 10-discipline event.