This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games by subscribing here.
Third day’s a charm, eh? Canada hauled in four medals on Day 3 of full competition in Beijing, including its first gold of the Games and a historic bronze.
Snowboarder Max Parrot launched things off by winning gold in the men’s slopestyle. The 2018 silver medallist once again topped his more heralded Canadian teammate Mark McMorris, who took his third consecutive bronze in this event. Parrot also beat cancer, coming back from a bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma that caused him to miss the entire season following his first Olympic medal. “Three years ago, I was laying down in a hospital bed with no energy, no muscles, no cardio,” Parrot said. “Today, I’m an Olympic gold medallist and I did the biggest run of my life.”
This morning, short track speed skater Kim Boutin reached her fourth Olympic podium by repeating as the bronze medallist in the women’s 500 metres. And then a shocker: Canada won its first-ever Olympic medal in ski jumping by taking bronze in the new mixed team event. Alexandria Loutitt, Matthew Soukup, Abigail Strate and Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes are the first Canadian ski jumpers to finish better than seventh in the Olympics.
All this good news helped chase the bitterness of last night’s heartbreaking loss by Canada’s mixed doubles curling team. Needing a win over undefeated Italy in the round-robin finale to get into the playoffs, John Morris and Rachel Homan missed by literally a millimetre — the difference between Italy’s closest rock and Canada’s in relation to the pinhole after Homan came in just a touch heavy with the final throw.
For today’s viewing guide, we’ll look ahead to a good medal chance for Canada in freestyle skiing, and maybe a surprise or two in alpine skiing and speed skating. But first, let’s get ready for the renewal of perhaps the best rivalry in all of sports.
Here’s what to watch on Monday night and Tuesday morning:
Women’s hockey is heating up
After blowing out Switzerland and Finland by a combined score of 23-2 to open the tournament, Canada finally got challenged last night — in more ways than one.
The game was delayed by more than an hour because COVID-19 test results for the Russian team, which had six of its members placed in isolation last week after they tested positive, were not available in time. Eventually, the teams agreed to play with masks on. The test results finally arrived by the second intermission, but Canada’s players continued to wear their masks. The Russians did not. Canada beat them easily, 6-1.
The Canadians’ first real challenge of the tournament comes tonight when they take on the United States at 11 p.m. ET. This might be the best rivalry in all of sports. It’s both extremely heated and almost absurdly evenly matched. Their last two meetings in the Olympic gold-medal game, and their last three in the world championship final, have all been decided in either overtime or a shootout.
The stakes for tonight’s game are much lower. The winner will get the top seed for the playoff round, but Canada and the U.S. will almost surely square off again in the gold-medal game for the fourth time in a row. That’s when everyone will truly go all in.
WATCH | Canada routs ROC to continue Olympic dominance in quest for gold:
Canadian medal chances on Monday night/Tuesday morning
As we saw with today’s ski jumping bronze, anything can happen. But here are the podium opportunities we can anticipate, in chronological order:
Freestyle skiing: Women’s big air final at 9 p.m. ET
Twenty-year-old Megan Oldham built momentum for Beijing by taking silver in the big air and bronze in slopestyle at the X Games last month. She kept rolling last night in qualifying, posting the top score as women’s ski big air made its Olympic debut. Oldham has a good chance to reach her second major podium, after her bronze in slopestyle at last year’s world championships.
The other Canadian in the final is 17-year-old Olivia Asselin, who was 11th in qualifying. She took bronze (right behind Oldham) in the big air at the X Games. Unfortunately, former World Cup big air champion Elena Gaskell, who ranks third in the standings this season, is out of the Olympics after blowing out a knee in training.
Oldham and Asselin will battle with France’s Tess Ledeaux and China’s Eileen Gu, the 18-year-old American-born-and-raised star who is trying to win three gold medals in Beijing. Gu is the reigning women’s world champion in both the halfpipe and slopestyle, and she also took bronze in the big air at last year’s worlds.
Alpine skiing: Men’s super-G at 10 p.m. ET
Jack Crawford came thisclose to winning Canada’s first Olympic downhill medal in 28 years last night when he finished fourth — just 0.07 of a second off the podium — in the men’s event. The 24-year-old has never won a medal in a top-level international race, but his result in the downhill — a similar discipline to the super-G — means he has to be taken seriously tonight. Also, Crawford ranks ninth in the World Cup men’s super-G standings, and he placed fifth last month on the famous Lauberhorn mountain in Wengen, Switzerland.
The other Canadians competing tonight are Brodie Seger, who’s 29th in the World Cup super-G standings but placed fourth in last year’s race at the world championships in Italy; Broderick Thompson, who’s 20th in the super-G rankings after winning a World Cup bronze in December in the U.S.; and Trevor Philp, who’s more of a giant slalom and slalom guy.
Speed skating: Connor Howe in the men’s 1,500 at 5:30 a.m. ET
The 21-year-old ranks third in the World Cup standings for this distance. However, some of the best skaters skipped the last event, so the betting odds probably give us a better picture of Howe’s medal chances. He’s tied for the No. 6 favourite there, with a big gap separating him from the top four.
WATCH | Oldham qualifies with top run in women’s freeski big air event:
Some other interesting stuff you should know about
Nathan Chen takes centre stage tonight. All eyes will be on the American figure skating star when the men’s event opens at 8:15 p.m. ET. With his unmatched jumping ability, the 22-year-old has dominated his foes throughout this Olympic cycle. Chen captured the last three world titles, the last three Grand Prix Finals and won an incredible 14 consecutive competitions before the streak finally ended back in the fall. There’s one big hole in his resumé, though. Chen’s Olympic debut in 2018 turned nightmarish when he stumbled to a shocking 17th-place showing in the short program before rebounding with a brilliant free skate to finish fifth. Now he’s a massive favourite to win gold in Beijing. But Chen needs to prove he can deliver on the sport’s ultimate stage in order to take the title away from back-to-back champ Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. Canadian men’s champion Keegan Messing will compete, along with Roman Sadovsky, after producing the necessary negative COVID-19 tests just in time to fly to Beijing. Without Messing, Canada placed fourth in the team event, thanks largely thanks to strong performances by 18-year-old Madeline Schizas. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) won gold as 15-year-old Kamila Valieva became the first woman to land a quad at the Olympics.
The mixed doubles curling medals will be decided. If you can still bear to watch after that devastating Canadian loss, the gold-medal game should be interesting. Italy’s surprising duo of Stefania Constantini and Amos Mosaner, who were wonderful last night vs. Canada, look to complete a perfect tournament when they face 2018 bronze medallist Norway at 7:05 a.m. ET. Reigning world champion Great Britain plays Sweden for bronze at 1:05 a.m. ET.
Ireen Wust is going out on top. The 35-year-old Dutch speed skating icon broke the Olympic record in the women’s 1,500 metres this morning and became the first athlete to win individual gold medals at five different Olympics. She now owns six Olympic golds and 12 medals — all but two of them in solo events. Despite her continued excellence, Wust insists she’s sticking to her plan to retire after this season. “I really want to have children. So at one point you have to quit,” said Wust, who will also race in the 1,000m in Beijing. “I’m happy that I can quit on my highest level.”
How to watch live events
They’re being broadcast on TV on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. Or choose exactly what you want to watch by live streaming on CBC Gem, the CBC Sports app and CBC Sports’ Beijing 2022 website. Check out the full streaming schedule (with links to live events) here and read more about how to watch the Games here.
If you’re located outside Canada, you unfortunately won’t be able to access CBC Sports’ coverage of the Games on the app or the website. That’s due to the way the Olympics’ media rights deals work. But if you’re in the northern United States or other international regions, such as Bermuda, that regularly offer the CBC TV network, you can watch the Games there.