5 Team Canada things to watch this weekend: March 24-26
Spring officially arrived a few days ago, so it is fitting that some winter sport athletes will finish off their seasons this weekend while some summer sport athletes start to kick into high gear.
Don’t want to miss any performances of Team Canada athletes who will be competing around the world this weekend? Here are five key things to keep an eye on in the coming days.
Canada’s top figure skaters are competing in the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, which started on Wednesday in Saitama, Japan.
It’s the last hurrah for Keegan Messing, who has been enjoying his farewell tour this season before retiring. The 31-year-old father of two is in fourth place after the men’s short program. The podium is within reach when he takes to the ice for the free skate, which will be in the early morning hours on Saturday here in Canada.
In ice dance, all Canadian eyes will be on Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, as well as Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen. The rhythm dance will take place on Friday, followed by the free dance on Saturday. Gilles and Poirier haven’t competed since the ISU Grand Prix Final in December after Gilles had to undergo an appendectomy. How will they measure up against their top rivals for the world title? We will learn that answer this weekend.
Madeline Schizas sits in 16th after the women’s short program. Canada’s only entry in the women’s event will skate her free program on Friday.
The pairs event finished up on Thursday. Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps were the top Canadians in fourth place. First year partners Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud stunned in their worlds debut, placing sixth. Last year’s world junior bronze medallists Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar finished 11th. Those results retain three spots for Canada in the pairs event for the 2024 Worlds to be held in Montreal.
Team Einarson — composed of skip Kerri Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, and lead Briane Harris — have their eyes on the playoffs at the World Women’s Curling Championship in Sandviken, Sweden. The Canadians have posted a 6-4 record as of Thursday. They’ll finish up the round robin on Friday with games against Turkey and Denmark.
The top two teams after the preliminary round advance directly to the semifinals. The teams ranked third to sixth will play in qualification games on Saturday, with the winners of those two games moving onto the semis later in the day. The gold and bronze medal games are scheduled for Sunday.
Eliot Grondin will look to end the 2022-23 season on a high note in front of his home fans at the final snowboard cross stop of the FIS World Cup circuit. That takes place in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec. The 21-year-old Olympic medallist has stood on just one World Cup podium this season, after he finished third in Les Deux Alpes, France back in December.
After finishing just shy of the medals two weeks ago in Sierra Nevada, Spain, the time could be just right for Audrey McManiman to claim the second World Cup podium of her young career.
Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle
This weekend will also drop the curtain on the slopestyle season for freestyle skiing and snowboard. The final events will take place in Silvaplana, Switzerland.
Megan Oldham hopes to get on the podium for a second straight World Cup after winning bronze last weekend in Tignes, France. She topped Thursday’s qualification round in women’s ski slopestyle. Canadians Evan McEachran and Mark Hendrickson both qualified for the men’s ski slopestyle final. Those finals will be on Saturday.
Laurie Blouin was fourth in qualifying for the women’s snowboard slopestyle event, while Jasmine Baird snuck through in 10th place. The men’s qualification round will take place on Friday with finals for both snowboard events on Sunday.
The still new-ish duos of Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson and Sarah Pavan & Sophie Bukovec are in action at the Elite16 Beach Pro Tour tournament in Tepic, Mexico. Both teams are in their first season together after a partner swap in the fall.
Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson are coming off winning the AVP Pro Tour Miami Beach Open title last weekend. Both Canadian teams kicked off their round robin play on Thursday. The playoff rounds begin on Saturday with the medal matches on Sunday.