5 Team Canada sports to watch this weekend: February 9-11
It’s a busy weekend for Team Canada athletes and fans!
The World Aquatics Championships continue in Doha, Qatar with Paris 2024 qualification at stake for some Canadian athletes and teams. Paris is also top of mind for Canada’s women’s basketball squad as they fight for their Olympic spot at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Sopron, Hungary.
Team Canada short track speed skaters will return for the penultimate ISU World Cup of the season in Dresden, Germany. Meanwhile, numerous athletes will be in action on home snow as cross-country skiing, aerials, and snowboard World Cups are taking place in Canada this weekend.
Here’s what you don’t want to miss:
Aquatics: Diving, Swimming, Artistic Swimming, Water Polo
The World Aquatics Championships continue in Doha, Qatar. The pool swimming events begin this weekend, while diving and artistic swimming come to a close and the water polo competition continues.
Diving: Nathan Zsombor-Murray and Rylan Wiens will be back in action on Friday for the men’s 10m platform preliminaries after qualifying a spot at Paris 2024 in the men’s 10m synchro on Thursday. The semifinal and final for the individual 10m event is on Saturday. Wiens can qualify a second Olympic spot for Canada in the 10m platform after Zsombor-Murray secured one at last year’s worlds.
Swimming: The swimming events kick off on Sunday, with lots of Canadians taking to the pool. On the women’s side, Ella Jansen will race the 400m freestyle and Katerine Savard will race the 100m butterfly, while Ashley McMillan and Sydney Pickrem take on the 200m individual medley.
Team Canada will also put forth both men’s and women’s 4x100m freestyle relay teams on Sunday.
Artistic Swimming: On Friday, Canada will compete in the team free routine, the last of the three routines that will determine if they qualify for Paris 2024. Canada was fourth in the acrobatic routine and sixth in the technical routine. The top five teams not yet qualified will earn their Olympic spots.
Water Polo: Team Canada’s women’s water polo team will take on New Zealand on Saturday. Canada finished second within Group D and has moved onto the Round of 16. The World Aquatics Championships are Team Canada’s last chance to qualify for Paris 2024. There are two Olympic spots available.
Team Canada’s women’s basketball team is ready to fight for their ticket to Paris 2024 as they take part in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Sopron, Hungary. The tournament is one of four taking place February 8-11. Sixteen teams will compete across the four tournaments, including the already qualified Team USA and Team France, leaving 10 Olympic spots up for grabs.
Canada opened the tournament on Thursday with a 67-55 win over host Hungary. Ranked fifth in the world, Canada will play No. 4 Spain on Friday, followed by No. 9 Japan on Sunday. Three of those teams will secure berths to the Olympic Games.
Short Track Speed Skating
The ISU World Cup Short Track resumes this weekend after a bit of a break since the last event in mid-December. The fifth of six stops on the circuit this season takes place in Dresden, Germany where 12 Canadian athletes will be in action.
With the final World Cup stop on the horizon, some Team Canada athletes are in the thick of the battle for Crystal Globes. In the men’s overall ranking, Steven Dubois is currently in first place, just two points ahead of his South Korean rival Ji Won Park. William Dandjinou, who won his first individual World Cup medal in Montreal at the start of the season, is in third place in the overall World Cup rankings, a clear illustration of the blossoming of the 22-year-old skater in recent months.
As for the overall rankings for the various events, Jordan Pierre-Gilles is first in the 500m thanks to his three gold medals this season. Dubois is second in the 1000m while Dandjinou is second in the 1500m. In the men’s 5000m relay, the Canadians are currently in second place. This weekend, the men’s team will be completed by Pascal Dion, Félix Roussel and Philippe Daudelin.
On the women’s side, Kim Boutin is making her return to the circuit. She missed the international competitions this autumn, having taken a break to focus on her studies in special education. In Dresden, she will be joining teammates Danaé Blais, Courtney Sarault, Claudia Gagnon, Florence Brunelle and Renee Steenge. The women’s 3000m relay team is third in the overall World Cup rankings.
The qualifying rounds for all the events will take place on Friday. On Saturday, the women’s and men’s finals of the 1500m and 1000m as well as the mixed relay are on the program. On Sunday the finals of the 500m, the second 1000m and the women’s and men’s relays will be presented.
On Home Snow
Cross-Country Skiing: Canmore, Alberta is hosting a leg of the FIS Cross-Country Skiing World Cup until Tuesday.
Among the Canadians who will be in action is Antoine Cyr, who impressed at the start of January by finishing 12th overall in the prestigious Tour de Ski. Beijing 2022 Olympians Olivier Léveillé, Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt, and Katherine Stewart-Jones, as well as up-and-coming international talents Xavier McKeever, Julien Locke, and Katie Weaver will also be competing against the world’s best on Canadian snow.
The women’s and men’s 15km freestyle mass start events will take place on Friday. The freestyle sprint events are scheduled for Saturday. Sunday will see the 20km mass start in classic technique, while the competition concludes on Tuesday with the sprint events in classic.
Aerials: Lac Beauport, Quebec is hosting the latest aerials stop of the FIS Freestyle World Cup, with men’s and women’s events on Saturday and Sunday.
Alexandre Duchaine, who won gold last weekend in Deer Valley, will be looking to build on his success. Marion Thénault, who was forced to miss a World Cup in December because she was recovering from a nasty training crash, will be looking to get back on track after finishing 12th in her return to the circuit last weekend.
A number of other Canadian athletes will be hoping to make their mark on this home leg of the World Cup, including Émile Nadeau, Lewis Irving, Victor Primeau and Miha Fontaine on the men’s side and Flavie Aumond and Charlie Fontaine in the women’s events.
Snowboard: Team Canada is ready to put on a show for a hometown crowd this weekend as the Snow Rodeo FIS Halfpipe World Cup takes place at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. Liam Gill, Ryan Vo, Lucas Briggs, Elizabeth Hosking, Brooke D’Hondt, Felicity Geremia, Jenna Walker and Lily-Ann Ulmer will compete; other than Hosking, all of those athletes call Calgary home.
Qualification will take place on Friday, followed by finals on Saturday.