THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck - Andrey Kulagin - Volleyball World
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck - Andrey Kulagin - Volleyball World

Weekend Roundup: Kingsbury clinches two Crystal Globes; Gushue wins sixth Brier title

As winter World Cup seasons wind down, Team Canada athletes are leaving a trail of thrilling victories and outstanding performances on snow and ice. Meanwhile, summer athletes are busy gearing up for their own success!

Brad Gushue and his team made some history at the Brier, while Mikaël Kingsbury scooped up two more Crystal Globes for his unparalleled collection, and Eliot Grondin continued his podium streak in snowboard cross. In beach volleyball, Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson got their season off to a sterling start.

Here’s a recap of the highlights you might have missed:

Curling: Record-tying sixth Brier title for Team Gushue

Brad Gushue‘s spot in the Canadian curling history books has been cemented. On Sunday night in Regina, he became the first man to skip teams to six Brier titles with a 9-5 win over Saskatchewan, skipped by Mike McEwen.

Gushue’s longtime vice-skip, Mark Nichols, and the team’s lead, Geoff Walker, also won the sixth national titles of their career as they became Brier champions for the third straight year. Both of those accomplishments match records held by Randy Ferbey. It is a third national title for second E.J. Harnden, who joined the team last season.

“This moment is awesome, this is what it’s all about. This is why I play the game and I love this moment,” said Gushue. “It isn’t about how many,” added Gushue, “it’s about this moment right here.” 

Gushue shot 97 per cent in the final and was named MVP of the Brier playoffs. His team will once again be Team Canada at the World Men’s Curling Championship that will take place March 30-April 7 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Gushue and his team won gold at the 2017 World Championship before taking silver in their last three appearances in 2018, 2022, and 2023.

Moguls: Kingsbury takes two Crystal Globes

Mikaël Kingsbury secured two Crystal Globes with his triumphs in the moguls and dual moguls events at the FIS Freestyle World Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

READ: Mikaël Kingsbury wins final dual moguls event of the season

On Friday, Kingsbury won the last single moguls World Cup of the season, but was left 10 points shy of winning that overall World Cup title. The next day, in his 150th World Cup start (the most ever by moguls skier), he won the penultimate dual moguls event of the season for his 89th career World Cup victory. That locked up the Crystal Globe for dual moguls as well as for moguls/dual moguls combined. The 31-year-old Canadian now has 26 career overall World Cup titles.

Aerials: Thénault soars to victory in season finale

Also in Almaty was the last stop of the FIS Freestyle World Cup season for aerials. Marion Thénault secured the win in women’s aerials on Sunday.

READ: Marion Thénault ends aerials World Cup season with gold

Unfavourable weather conditions of dense cloud cover over the aerials jumps made the finals impossible to proceed, so the standings from qualification were declared the final results. With the victory, Thénault moved up to third place in World Cup standings. This is the fourth career World Cup victory for the 23-year-old Canadian and her third podium of the season.

Snowboard Cross: Victorious Grondin maintains podium perfection

Eliot Grondin earned his fifth FIS World Cup victory of the season on Saturday night in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. He has not missed the podium in any of the eight men’s snowboard cross races this season.

READ: Eliot Grondin takes gold in Cortina d’Ampezzo, extends medal streak to eight

The 22-year-old was first out of the gates and opened a nice lead on Jake Vedder before the American came back to make it a photo finish. Along with his five wins, Grondin has two second- and one third-place finishes this season. In search of his first Crystal Globe, he has a 372-point lead in the World Cup standings. As a sign of his dominance, only two men have the slimmest mathematical chance of catching him with four races remaining.

“I haven’t seen the numbers and I don’t even care, to be fair,” Grondin said. “Yes, for sure I want the Globe but right now I’m not racing for it, I’m racing for me and I’m racing to have fun. Having fun is the part people forget and for me this year it was important to go back to the ‘Why?’ It seems to be working so far so we’ll just keep having fun and see where we can go from there.”

Beach Volleyball: Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson finish second in Doha

Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson started off their season with a silver medal in the opener of the Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 circuit in Doha, Qatar. The Canadian duo fell to Brazilians Bárbara Seixas and Carol Salgado in the final, 21-18, 21-18.

READ: Humana-Paredes, Wilkerson finish with silver at Elite16 season-opener in Doha

Ranked fourth in the world, Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson had produced a huge upset on Friday when they defeated world number ones Ana Patricia Silva Ramos and Eduarda Santos Lisboa of Brazil in straight sets in the quarterfinals. It was the first time in their partnership that Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson had defeated the duo known as Ana Patricia and Duda.

“It was a hard-fought week of great competition. It feels great to be back on tour playing against the best,” said Humana-Paredes. “We had a tough pre-season preparing for this, so we’re happy to see the things we worked on in action. A big team effort! We would have loved a better showing in the finals but the positive is we have a lot of good to take back home and work on.”

In just their second season together, this was the second time that the Canadians had reached the final of an Elite 16 tournament after winning it all in Montreal last July.

Sailing: Lewin-LaFrance sisters secure Paris 2024 spots

Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance earned the right to be nominated as Team Canada’s 49erFX crew for Paris 2024 with their eighth-place finish at the 2024 49er and 49erFX World Championships in Lanzarote, Spain.

In 16th place after Friday’s races, they moved up to crack the top-10 on Saturday, qualifying them for Sunday’s Medal Race. With their second place finish in the Medal Race, they climbed two more spots in the overall standings.

Because of the top-eight performance and the fact that no other Canadian boat was within 10 places of them, the Lewin-LaFrance sisters are all set to make their Olympic debuts this summer.

Long Track Speed Skating: Dubreuil wins bronze at sprint worlds

Laurent Dubreuil earned his second career medal at the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships, taking bronze on Friday.

READ: Laurent Dubreuil skates to bronze at World Sprint Speed Skating Championships

Dubreuil sat in first place after the first 500m and first 1000m on Thursday. He continued to be strong with the second-fastest second 500m time on Friday, before finishing in third place after the second 1000m. Only three other Canadian men — Jeremy Wotherspoon, Gaetan Boucher, and Mike Ireland — had previously won multiple medals at the World Sprint Championships.

Ski jumping: Alexandria Loutitt finishes just off podium in Oslo

Alexandria Loutitt finished fourth at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Oslo, Norway on Saturday, missing out on the podium by 1.5 points. She returned to the large hill on Sunday and finished fifth. She has placed in the top five in 11 World Cup events this season, which includes six podiums. Loutitt sits fourth in the overall World Cup standings.

Saturday’s event was shortened to just one round due to high wins. Loutitt’s score of 103.5 left her 5.8 points back of the winner, Norway’s Silje Opseth. The 20-year-old Canadian posted a two-jump total of 224.6 on Sunday, putting her 6.8 points back of a podium position.

Loutitt is now sixth in the Raw Air standings, which counts the results in Oslo as well as those upcoming this week in Trondheim, Norway. The top 15 women will get to compete on the flying hill in Vikersund, Norway on Saturday and Sunday.

“I do feel like I have an advantage in this event where it is six events across 12 days. It is not an easy tournament especially because you have a competition almost every single day. Even the travel days are hard in a bus or airplane. They are long days and it is tough to keep motivated when things are hard, and it is hard to wait when things are good,” added Loutitt.