5 Team Canada sports to watch this weekend: August 11-13
Canadian athletes are in action at some big competitions this weekend, with the UCI Cycling World Championships ongoing in Scotland and the Sailing World Championships set to begin in the Netherlands. Plus, a Canadian skateboarding star will compete at the SLS tour stop in Tokyo, Japan.
The Cycling World Championships brought together for the first time all disciplines under the umbrella of the International Cycling Union. Competition has been underway since August 3 and the final weekend of competition features finals in BMX racing, road cycling and mountain biking.
The Sailing World Championships, which bring together all of the Olympic classes, happen only every four years and are a primary Olympic qualifier.
Here are five sports to follow this weekend:
Team Canada is setting sail for The Hague, Netherlands to compete at the 2023 Sailing World Championships from August 11 to 20. These worlds featuring all Olympic boat classes are only held once every four years and represent the first opportunity for sailors to secure spots for their country at Paris 2024. Each country can only have one athlete/team per class compete at the Olympics.
Canada is sending a team of 24 sailors to The Hague to compete in various classes, including the 49er (men’s skiff), 49erFX (women’s skiff), men’s and women’s kiteboarding, women’s iQFoil (windsurfing), as well as ILCA 6 (women’s dinghy) and ILCA 7 (men’s dinghy). Kiteboarding will be new to the Olympic program at Paris 2024. Sail Canada has the full list of Canadian crews and what they need to achieve to earn Olympic quota spots.
Sarah Douglas, who finished sixth in ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial) at Tokyo 2020, is one of the sailors representing Team Canada: “These Worlds will be the first opportunity to qualify for Paris 2024 and I’m looking to qualify Canada and potentially myself. Everyone is peaking for this event so I’m expecting a high level of competition with a lot on the line. This venue has a strong tidal current, which will play a major factor in the racing and something I’ll be keeping a close eye on.”
The medal races at Worlds will be streamed on CBC Sports.
The second stop on the 2023 Street League Skateboarding Championship Tour will take place on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.
The one-day competition format is new this year and includes a knockout stage for the men. The athletes are divided into four groups of five. The highest scorer from each group plus the single next highest scorer advance to the final, which already includes the winner from the last tour stop.
Canadian Ryan Decenzo will compete in group three against Americans Nyjah Huston, Alex Midler and Torey Pudwill, as well as Vincent Milou of France.
At the last SLS stop in Chicago, Decenzo placed second behind Olympic medallist Kelvin Hoefler, narrowly missed the finals auto-qualification. Decenzo recently took bronze in the men’s skateboard street at the X Games in late July.
The women’s and men’s BMX races at the Cycling World Championships will take place over the weekend. The first rounds will be contested on Saturday. Competition concludes on Sunday with quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.
Molly Simpson is one to watch in the women’s event. The 20-year-old has placed in the top five at all four BMX World Cup rounds so far this season, with two fourth-place finishes in Sakarya, Turkey in early June, followed by two fifth-place finishes in Papendal, Netherlands, at the end of June. She is currently fifth in the 2023 World Cup standings, with four rounds remaining on the calendar.
Riley Meyer-Clément and Ryan Tougas will be in action in the men’s event.
After the men’s road race last Sunday, the women’s race takes place this Sunday at the Cycling World Championships. Canadians Alison Jackson, Olivia Baril, Simone Boilard, Sara Poidevin, Maggie Coles-Lyster and Sarah Van Dam will be on the start line. Jackson achieved her greatest career performance last April when she won the Paris-Roubaix one-day race, while Olivia Baril did well at the Tour de France Femmes, finishing 29th overall after eight stages and was seventh on the final stage.
The women’s individual time trial took place on Thursday. Baril was the top Canadian in 19th place. Paula Findlay, who competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games in triathlon and has won the women’s time trial at the Canadian Championships two years running, took 25th place.
On Friday, another athlete with credentials in multiple disciplines will be in action in the men’s time trial. Derek Gee, a Tokyo 2020 Olympian in track cycling, won the time trial at nationals in 2022 and 2023. He gained tons of new fans in May when he was the runner-up in four stages of the Giro d’Italia. Gee has been busy in Glasgow, not only starting the road race last Sunday, but also contributing to the Canada’s sixth place finish in the men’s team pursuit at the velodrome. Nickolas Zukowsky will be the other Canadian to take part in the time trial.
Both the men’s and women’s cross-country mountain bike events take place on Saturday at the Cycling World Championships.
On the women’s side, Canada will be represented by Laurie Arseneault, Jenn Jackson and Sandra Walter. Léandre Bouchard, Peter Disera, Sean Fincham and Gunnar Holmgren will start the men’s race. Bouchard finished 15th in the men’s cross-country short track race on Thursday. Jackson was the top Canadian in the women’s short track race, placing 21st. Holmgren’s younger sister Isabella won gold in the junior women’s cross-country race on Thursday.