AP Photo/Lee Jin-Man - Zhe Ji/International Skating Union via Getty Images - Elsa/International Skating Union via Getty Images
AP Photo/Lee Jin-Man - Zhe Ji/International Skating Union via Getty Images - Elsa/International Skating Union via Getty Images

Weekend Roundup: Lots of gold on ice and snow while Olympic qualification is pursued in the water

There were some big wins this weekend, both at home and abroad, by Team Canada athletes in winter and summer sports.

Gold medals by Ted-Jan Bloemen and the figure skating duos of Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier and Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps set them up well for their upcoming world championships. Meanwhile, Canadians dominated the ski cross and snowboard cross scene and Mikaël Kingsbury added one more historic achievement to his resumé.

The artistic swimming and water polo teams launched into their last shot at securing Olympic spots at Paris 2024 and Dylan Bibic showed why he’s a fast-rising star in track cycling.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you may have missed.

Long Track Speed Skating: Four medals at home to cap off World Cup circuit

Canadian speed skaters enjoyed themselves on home ice in Quebec City at the last stop of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating circuit for the season.

Two-time Olympic medallist Ted-Jan Bloemen gave an early jolt to the weekend when he set a track record at the Centre de glaces in the men’s 5000m with his winning time of 6:13.87. That helped him end the World Cup campaign ranked second overall in the long distances classification.

READ: Bloemen’s track record highlights four Canadian medals on home ice

Valérie Maltais had gotten the party started a little earlier with her second bronze medal is as many weeks in the women’s 3000m. That led to her finishing third in the women’s long distance classification — her first career overall World Cup podium. Maltais went on to finish fourth in Sunday’s 1500m.

Saturday saw two more medals. Laurent Dubreuil won a silver in the men’s 500m and Connor Howe added a bronze in the men’s 1500m. Dubreuil placed fifth in the second 500m race on Sunday and ended up ranked second in the overall World Cup standings for the distance. For Howe, it was his first podium finish of the season.

Though there were no medals on Sunday, Maltais and teammate Ivanie Blondin secured the top two spots in the overall women’s mass start standings.

The Canadian team will now head west to the Olympic Oval in Calgary where the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships will take place February 15-18.

Figure Skating: Golden performances in pairs and ice dance

Team Canada is coming home with three medals from the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Shanghai, China.

READ: Gilles and Poirier, Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps take gold at Four Continents Championships

On Saturday, Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps won their first Four Continents gold medal in the pairs event. They defeated the reigning world champions Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara by eight points. The Japanese pair hadn’t competed since September due to injury. Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud placed fifth in the event.

The next day, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier won their first career Four Continents title. They took the ice dance gold medal by a margin of nearly seven points over Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen. The third Canadian duo, Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac, placed third behind their compatriots in the free dance to end up fifth overall.

Madeline Schizas placed sixth in the women’s event while Wesley Chiu finished seventh in the men’s event.

Moguls: Another history-making moment for Kingsbury

Mikaël Kingsbury skied to his 87th career FIS World Cup victory on Thursday night in Deer Valley, Utah. He set the record for the most World Cup wins by a man in any FIS Olympic skiing or snowboard discipline.

Kingsbury’s history-making moment came in the single moguls event. He scored 82.17 in the super final to finish ahead of Japan’s Ikuma Horishima (79.15) and Sweden’s Filip Gravenfors (78.80). Kingsbury has now surpassed legendary Swedish alpine skier Ingemar Stenmark in the all-time wins column.

READ: Kingsbury back atop moguls podium for another historic-making World Cup victory

He couldn’t replicate that success in Saturday’s dual moguls as he was eliminated in the quarterfinals by France’s Benjamin Cavet and finished sixth. In the women’s dual moguls, Maia Schwinghammer finished fifth.

Aerials: Breakout victory for Alexandre Duchaine

Alexandre Duchaine made his first FIS World Cup podium one to remember as it was also his first career World Cup win. On Friday night in Deer Valley, the 19-year-old’s score of 102.57 was enough to edge out American Connor Curran on his home snow by just 0.35. The closest he had previously come to the podium was a pair of fourth-place finishes during the 2022-23 season.

READ: Tweaked format leads to Duchaine’s first World Cup victory

In her return to World Cup competition for the first time since a bad training crash in early December, Marion Thénault reached the final of the women’s event and finished 12th.

Ski Cross: Canadians take victory in three of four races

India Sherret earned her first career World Cup victory at the FIS Ski Cross World Cup in Alleghe, Italy on Friday. The 27-year-old had last stood on a World Cup podium four years earlier in December 2019.

In the big final, Sherret took the lead at the top of the track and built it up to be able to resist a charge from Switzerland’s Saskja Lack at the bottom. Sherret finished 0.16 of a second ahead of the Swiss skier, with another Swiss racer, Talina Gantenbein, coming in for third place.

READ: Canadians cap dominant weekend with three more medals

On Saturday, there was a 1-2 Canadian finish in the women’s race. Marielle Thompson got her 27th career World Cup win by beating out teammate Brittany Phelan. The big final was an almost all-Canadian affair as Hannah Schmidt placed fourth. Schmidt and Thompson sit 1-2 in the overall World Cup standings.

Also on Saturday, Reece Howden earned his second victory of the season to hold onto top spot in the men’s overall standings.

Snowboard Cross: Grondin grabs two wins in one weekend

Eliot Grondin added two more first place finishes to his already impressive season at the FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup hosted in Gudauri, Georgia.

READ: Grondin completes the double in Gudauri

On Saturday, he beat out Australian Cameron Bolton and Austrian Olympic champion Alessandro Haemmerle to stand on the top step of the podium. The next day, Grondin once again kept Bolton in the runner-up position. The 22-year-old Canadian has won four of the five World Cup races this season and finished third in the other to lead the overall standings by almost 200 points over Haemmerle.

Grondin was not the lone Canadian in Saturday’s big final. Liam Moffatt finished just off the podium in fourth place.

Ski Halfpipe: First World Cup win for Amy Fraser

Amy Fraser earned her first career FIS World Cup victory in Mammoth Mountain, California. She had posted the top score of 85.50 in qualification on Tuesday. Those scores ended up standing as the final results when inclement weather prevented the final from being contested on Friday. Teammate Dillan Glennie finished fifth. Fraser had two prior World Cup podiums, including a third-place finish in December.

Skeleton: Return to the top for Rahneva

Mirela Rahneva slid to first place on Friday at the IBSF World Cup in Sigulda, Latvia. It was the first victory of the season for the 35-year-old who had last reached the podium at the season-opener in Yanqing, China in November. Her two-run time of 1:43.10 gave her the win by nearly a third of a second.

READ: First World Cup skeleton win of the season for Mirela Rahneva

Ski Jumping: Loutitt narrowly misses the podium

Alexandria Loutitt came ever so close to her seventh podium of the season on Saturday. She placed fourth at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Willingen, Germany. Loutitt’s score of 152.4 in the women’s large hill event left her just 0.4 back of German Katharina Schmid who was third.

Artistic Swimming: Solo silver for Simoneau

In her return to international competition after a two-year hiatus, two-time Olympian Jacqueline Simoneau earned silver in the women’s solo technical event at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar. Though it is in a non-Olympic event, the medal is Canada’s first in artistic swimming at the world championships since 2011.

As part of their quest to qualify a team for Paris 2024, Canada placed fourth in the team acrobatic routine on Sunday. Those results will be combined with those from the team technical and team free routines later this week to determine the last five countries that will qualify for the Olympic team event.

Water Polo: Canada opens worlds with big win

The Canadian women’s team opened their last shot at Olympic qualification with a 24-2 victory over South Africa at the World Aquatics Championship in Doha, Qatar on Sunday. They’ll next take on Great Britain in group play on Tuesday.

Axelle Crevier was the Player of the Game after scoring five goals. Élyse Lemay-Lavoie and Emma Wright also each put five goals on the board for Canada.

Track Cycling: Two wins for Dylan Bibic at season opener

Dylan Bibic was on fire at the first UCI Track Nations Cup of the season in Adelaide, Australia. The 20-year-old started off the weekend with a gold in the elimination race on Friday. He then won gold in the omnium on Saturday. The elimination race on its own is not part of the Olympic program, but it is one of the four races that comprise the omnium.

In the omnium, Bibic was fourth in the scratch race and he maintained the overall position through the tempo race. He took over top spot following the elimination race. Following the final event, the points race, he and Italian Elia Viviani were actually tied with 104 total points, but Bibic got the gold medal because of his higher placement in the points race.

Canada wasn’t done winning medals. On Sunday, Olympic medallist Lauriane Genest earned bronze in the women’s keirin event. Canada had just missed the podium in the women’s team pursuit. The quartet of Maggie Coles-Lyster, Sarah van Dam, Ariane Bonhomme, and Fiona Majendie came up just short in their head-to-head race against Australia for the bronze medal.

Judo: Three medals at Paris Grand Slam

Christa Deguchi and Jessica Klimkait once again shared the podium, this time at the IJF Grand Slam in Paris. Deguchi took silver in the women’s 57kg event while Klimkait ended up with a bronze. Deguchi and Klimkait continue to be ranked 1-2 in the world for their weight class.

On the men’s side, François Gauthier Drapeau won a bronze medal in the 81kg event. He is ranked fifth in the world in that weight class. Olympic qualification will be based primarily on the world rankings as they are on June 25.

Tennis: Canada advances to Davis Cup Finals

Canada is headed back to the Davis Cup Finals after winning their Qualifiers tie against South Korea in Montreal over the weekend.

On Friday, Gabriel Diallo defeated Kwon Soonwoo 6-4, 6-4 in the first singles match. That was followed by Vasek Pospisil taking down Hong Seongchan 6-4, 6-3. That meant Canada needed just one more match victory to win the tie.

Pospisil and Alexis Galarneau couldn’t close it out in the doubles that started Saturday’s action, but Diallo came through with a three-set win over Hong 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 to send Canada into the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage in September.

Meanwhile, over in Montpellier, France, Félix Auger-Aliassime reached the semifinals of the ATP 250 tournament.

Athletics: Another national record for Marco Arop

Last week, Marco Arop set a national indoor (short track) record in the 800m when he ran 1:45.51 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

This week, Arop set a national indoor (short track) record in the 1000m, running a time of 2:14.74 in the non-Olympic distance at a Grand Prix meet in Boston. He erased by more than two seconds a mark that had stood since 2014. Arop also holds the outdoor national record in both distances.