March 11, 2022

Five things to watch at Beijing Winter Olympics on Sunday

Snowboarder Laurie Blouin and speedskaters Ted-Jan Bloemen and Graeme Fish lead a smaller Canadian contingent of medal threats on Sunday at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Additionally, round-robin play in mixed doubles curling and figure skating team competitions will continue.

Here are five things to watch at the Beijing Games on Sunday, Feb. 6.

Blouin looking to come up big in slopestyle snowboarding

Quebec’s Blouin is expected to qualify for Sunday’s women’s snowboard slopestyle final, where she is hoping to match or better the silver medal run she put together in Pyeongchang 2018. The 25-year-old most recently won an X Games slopestyle bronze medal in 2021. She’s also expected to be a strong contender in the women’s big air event, which won’t get going until Valentine’s Day.

Canadian men hoping for podium finish on long track

The men’s 5,000-metre speedskating event will take place Sunday with Bloemen and Fish likely vying for a podium finish. Bloemen ended an 86-year medal drought for Canada’s men when he won silver in this event four years ago at the Pyeongchang Olympics and was a gold medallist two years ago at the world single distances speedskating championships held in Salt Lake City. Fish on the other hand will be hoping to recapture some of the form that saw him win bronze in the 5,000 metres at that world single distances championship in 2020 after he dropped out of the 2020 World Cup season and spent 20 months away from competition to try to avoid contracting COVID-19.

Mixed doubles round-robin play nearing its conclusion

Canada’s mixed doubles rink of Rachel Homan and John Morris play a couple more matches in the round robin against the Czech Republic and Australia as they look to build momentum towards the start of the knockout round that will begin on Monday. Canada began the competition with a loss to Great Britain, but has looked increasingly stronger ever since in its bid to repeat as Olympic champions in this event.

Other notable Canadians in competition

Eighteen-year-old Madeline Schizas, who is making her Olympic debut, will highlight the Canadian contingent competing in the figure skating team event as it enters its final stage. Canada is in sixth place in the team event heading into the women’s short program, and she will need a good enough skate to bump her team up to fifth in order to advance to the long programs. Moguls skiers Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, who famously went gold-silver at Sochi in 2014, will be competing again on Sunday. At 27 and 30 years old, respectively, the pair aren’t expected to be quite as strong a threat as they had been in the past, but as former Olympic medallists, they shouldn’t de discounted.

Key Group B clash of women’s hockey

While most attention is being paid to Group A of the women’s hockey tournament, there really isn’t much drama to be had there. All five teams in the group, one that includes Canada and the United States, will advance to the quarterfinals, so only seeding is on the line there. In Group B, however, only three of the five teams will make it out, meaning every game has added importance. On Sunday, Japan, the top-ranked nation in Group B, will face host nation China in a match that could go a long way to determining how things will shake out in the group.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2022.

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