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How Canada's athletes are training for what could be the hottest Olympics –



Of all the extraordinary circumstances faced by those competing at this year’s Olympics, the one that could have the most direct impact on athletic performance is the weather. 

In the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics, much of the public’s attention has been on the pandemic that has pushed the Games back by a year and resulted in spectators being barred from events. However, extreme summer temperatures are among the top concerns for Olympic athletes and their trainers, who have had to find some creative ways to prepare.

The summer months in Tokyo can be so hot that the 1964 Summer Games there were held in October. With this year’s events forging ahead this month, forecasters have predicted these could be the hottest Olympics to date, with temperatures reaching as high as the mid-30s Celsius.

For the Canadian women’s eight rowing team, training to compete in that kind of heat has meant moving indoors, into a sweltering sports dome at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific in Victoria, B.C. On an otherwise cool summer day, team pathologist Wendy Pethick cranked up a huge heater, helping push the dome’s indoor temperature up to around 35 C.

In order to prepare for the extreme heat expected in Tokyo, the Canadian women’s eight rowing team has been training in an ‘erg dome’ in Victoria, B.C., that’s heated to 35 C. (Dan Batchelor)

“The whole goal for heat acclimation is to try to impose a thermal stress for a given period of time,” said Pethick, with the intent of pushing up the athletes’ baseline core temperatures by about a degree, to a maximum of 38.5 C.

“Because we don’t have the temperatures here in Canada,” Pethick said, doing this kind of training ahead of the games can help the athletes’ bodies learn to deal with that kind of heat and “gives them a little bit of an advantage.”

The results look deeply uncomfortable. As the rowers grind out a gruelling 90-minute workout on rowing machines and stationary bikes, sweat slides off their bodies and splashes into pools on the floor beneath them. Pop music is pumped loudly on speakers to keep morale up. 

Team member Madison Mailey said she and her teammates generally drink “around three to four litres” of water during a session. They’re all weighed before and after, so they know how much fluid they lose.

“It’s quite gross to think about your body sweating out three to four litres of water. But it’s real,” she said.

Members of Canada’s women’s eight rowing team lose about three to four litres of sweat during a 90-minute heat training session. (Dan Batchelor)

Since individuals deal slightly differently with heat, Pethick and her colleagues move around the room, checking in with each athlete to gauge their condition.

One of the tools they employ is a tiny thermometer in the form of a pill. The athletes are asked to swallow it a few hours in advance of their training session, and it transmits data about their internal body temperature.

“As soon as the athletes get to 38.5 [Celsius], we just try to maintain that for as much of the session as we possibly can. And we know from the literature and from the research that by applying that amount of thermal stress, we’re going to get full adaptation,” Pethick said.

High-level athletes like the women’s eight rowing team have “very well-developed sweat mechanisms,” she said. “And heat acclimation augments that process.”

The pill also helps ensure each athlete’s safety during training. 

“If we have an athlete that heats up really quickly, then we know that we can back off on the work that they’re doing so that we don’t overcook them,” she said.

Olympic rower Madison Mailey holds up a heat-monitoring pill that she ingests in order to help trainers track her internal body temperature during training. (Courtesy Wendy Pethick)


While the actual rowing competitions themselves only last around six minutes, Pethick says, the athletes are working at maximum capacity. That means that while dehydration is less of a concern during a race, they can still overheat.

“The real difficulty is going to be the humidity,” Pethick said. “What that does is it effectively shuts down our most effective heat loss avenue, which is evaporation of sweat.”

When the body can’t thermo-regulate, she says, “you get into things like heat stroke and heat exhaustion, which can be very serious.” 

Racing in a Laser Radial dinghy means Sailor Sarah Douglas not only has to contend with the heat in the air, but also from splashing water, which she says could reach as high as 28 C in Tokyo.

Twice a week for around 20 to 40 minutes, she has been training on an exercise bike in a heat chamber at the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario in Toronto. Occasionally, she has posted videos of the sweaty outcome to social media.

“It’s feeling like an oven,” she said in a selfie video taken inside the chamber, where the temperature gauge read 33.6 C, with 65 per cent humidity.

WATCH | Canadian sailor Sarah Douglas shows what an Olympic training session in a heat chamber is like:

Canadian Olympic sailor Sarah Douglas has been exercising in a heat chamber in Toronto, with temperatures in the mid-30s Celsius, in order to prepare herself to compete in the extreme heat expected in Tokyo. (Video courtesy Sarah Douglas) 0:17

Afterward, she wrings out her soaking wet shirt over a sink. “OK, this is how hot it is,” she said, as sweat pours out.

Discomfort is something athletes are used to and train for, but high heat can be especially dangerous for those competing outdoors for long periods of time. That’s why the International Olympic Committee (IOC) moved distance races, such as the marathons, to Sapporo, around 800 km north of Tokyo. Temperatures there are expected to be a few degrees cooler, but still hot.

Before heading there, Canadian marathon runner Malindi Elmore has been training outside in the midday heat in her hometown of Kelowna, B.C. The goal is to acclimatize, but she says the challenge for runners can be as much about training the mind as it is physical.

“It’s in our minds as athletes [that] we want to always do things at our very best,” she said. “But the heat is legitimately a factor, and we need to back off 10 or 15 seconds a kilometre to adjust for the pace.”

Elmore says the overall pace of a race will “naturally adjust” when it’s hot. She says those runners who don’t will “pay a really heavy price.”

Brent Lakatos, a Canadian wheelchair racer, will also be competing outdoors in Japan in the Paralympics. He normally lives with his wife in the United Kingdom, which doesn’t have the kind of heat he needs in order to prepare to compete in the sunshine in Japan. So he has been training in Spain in order to acclimatize. 

Upon his return to the U.K. before heading to the Games, he said, he’ll continue his training inside a do-it-yourself heat chamber in his garage. 

“I’m going to be getting a humidifier that grocery stores use — so, a fairly strong one — and setting that up inside my garage along with a heater,” he said.

Canadian Brent Lakatos, a seven-time Paralympic medalist, plans to train for Tokyo in a do-it-yourself heat chamber in his garage. (John Sibley/Pool/Getty Images)

Wendy Pethick says Paralympians sometimes require highly individualized training plans for heat mitigation. For instance, athletes with spinal cord injuries may have a diminished capacity to sweat, she says.

“And so for those athletes, we’ve looked at a number of different ways for cooling.” 

They include vests filled with ice that can be worn before or after a competition, as well as ice slushies that can be ingested to help lower the body’s core temperature.

Pethick says she was “a little bit” surprised by the choice of Tokyo in mid-summer for these Games. But she added that, “for any Summer Olympics on any given day, it could be temperature extremes. And so I think athletes and coaches need to be prepared for that.”

It’s a lesson summer athletes will likely need to heed into the future, as rising temperatures mean Summer Games could be increasingly hot in many parts of the world. Tokyo, in so many ways, is a testing ground pushing athletes to adapt.

Watch full episodes of The National on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.

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How Colorado’s patience, intangibles challenged a Tampa offence with no answer –



Over the years of their recent post-season success, which has included a pair of Stanley Cups and appearances in five of the last six Conference Finals, the Tampa Bay Lightning morphed from Team Speed & Skill, to Team Intangibles. They’ve gone from the high-flying offensive team that put others on their heels, to the positionally-sound defensive juggernaut that basically said to their opponents: “See if you can beat us, because we sure as hell won’t beat ourselves.”

And yet again, beat themselves they did not.

Beleaguered as a team can be, Tampa Bay laid back and stayed patient, even when it seemed like their opponent was taking it to them. They’ve had the ultimate trust in Andrei Vasilevskiy, as they should, and it forced opponents to get frustrated, open up, and give them just that extra chance or two that has allowed the Lightning to score and prevail. Like Tiger Woods in his prime, sometimes the size of their well-earned reputation forced others to beat themselves.

Still, at some point you have to be able to create some offence to win games, and as they got more injured, that became a bigger challenge. They didn’t have Brayden Point as they did in Round 1, where a Bolts team on the ropes saw him go directly to the Maple Leafs crease and finish a rebound goal to keep their Cup hopes alive. That obviously hurt them.

Beyond that, though, they didn’t have the depth scoring come through as it has in past years, and they simply couldn’t dial it up on offence and remain as defensively stout as they knew they needed to be against an offensively-gifted Colorado Avalanche team. This time, that was the Avs’ reputation coming into play. Each of Alex Killorn (19:16 TOI per game), Anthony Cirelli (also 19:16), and Brandon Hagel (14:21) played in all 23 playoff games for the Lightning, and they combined for just five goals. Killorn, who scored 25 in the regular season (and had eight in 19 playoff games last year), was blanked with zero. So many players had to turn their attention solely to the little details of defending and positional play, and they excelled at it. But it came at a cost.

I reference Tampa didn’t have that same depth offence as they had in the past, because we all remember the Cup-winning Bolts teams getting huge goals from their third line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, but it’s worth noting the crucial difference: Colorado wasn’t Dallas and they damn sure weren’t Montreal, not even close. The depth guys on the Lightning this year were faced with a much different chore than Coleman-Gourde-Goodrow. The Avalanche were extremely well-coached throughout this playoff run, and they recognized Tampa Bay’s weakness: they didn’t have another offensive gear to kick it into, so they leaned harder on that struggle.

The Colorado Avalanche all but stole the game plan from Tampa, which was to play smart and positional and choke the life out their opponent, all while saying “The burden of creating offence is on YOU, and you’re going to have to go through every last one of us.”

“Offensively-gifted” or not, the Avs’ scoring was stunted down the stretch of the series, but it was a concession they were willing to make knowing Tampa Bay’s inability to create. Here’s the most telling stat of the series and why I leave the Final fixated on positional patience. If the Bolts were sitting back and waiting for the Avs to get desperate, open up and make mistakes in this series, here’s what they got off the rush:

A hot bowl of nothing.

Over six Stanley Cup Final games the Avalanche had more rush chances than the Bolts by an average of six per game (per Sportlogiq). Six extra rush chances, which in the end was the difference, wasn’t it?

The Stanley Cup game winner comes off a rush where Artturi Lehkonen makes an unbelievable off-hand one-time shot that finds the top corner, which maybe you’d call a bit “lucky” because who knows how many times out of 10 he could place that puck there again. But in very hockey fashion, it’s not luck, because they created enough chances to “get lucky” like that. As it always goes in hockey’s big picture, making your own luck is a reason to love teams like the Avs who create chances in volume.

There’s been much said about the Lightning’s injuries and their inability to be at their best in this Final, but let’s not pretend the Avs were at max capacity. Andre Burakovsky was hurt, Valeri Nichushkin was hurt, and hell, Nazem Kadri had his trainer tie his skates and played in an oven mitt (and scored an OT winner). Sammy Girard was too hurt to get in a game in the Final.

Even with their injuries, the Avalanche played with a maturity the Lightning’s other opponents could not. Colorado got the better of the Bolts to open the series, then Tampa went into full lockdown mode, playing for low scores and hoping to lean on their experience and again, patience. In Games 3, 4, 5, and 6 the Avs scored just 2, 3 (with overtime), 2, and 2 goals. But instead of starting to cheat and stretch and open up to generate more against a goalie that could’ve frustrated the heck out of them, they recognized that for Tampa to win, they’d have to score too.

The Lightning are getting deserved love as “Team Intangibles” this year, and they certainly played great and blocked shots and proved themselves to be warriors. But don’t let the Avs’ demonstration of those same things get lost.

That’s coaching, that’s leadership, that’s playing (and sometimes losing) enough big games to see that forcing plays and taking chances can bury you in the post-season. You have to trust that it will come, you have to trust the plan, and when offensively talented teams get to that point, they’re almost impossible to beat.

This Final was two teams that were “almost impossible to beat,” and as a result, the series was delightful to watch. The Avalanche used all their tough experiences of the years past to give their opponent jack squat in the biggest moments of the season, and they finished the playoffs losing only four times the whole way through.

The Lightning were worthy foes, for sure, but the Avalanche are deserving champions.

What a Stanley Cup Final.

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Makar gets love from Orr after winning 2022 Norris, Conn Smythe Trophies –



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Canuck icons Henrik, Daniel Sedin, Sens star Alfredsson lead 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame class – CBC Sports



Henrik and Daniel Sedin entered the NHL together.

The superstar twins then tormented a generation of opponents with the Vancouver Canucks throughout dominant careers that included mesmerizing displays of skill, individual accolades and unprecedented team success.

It’s only fitting the talented brothers will walk into the Hockey Hall of Fame side-by-side.

The Sedins headline the class of 2022 elected Monday, one with a decidedly West Coast and Swedish feel that includes former Canucks teammate Roberto Luongo, fellow countryman and former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, Finnish women’s player Riikka Sallinen and builder Herb Carnegie.

“It’s not what you think about when you when you play the game,” said Henrik Sedin, who along with his brother and Luongo were in their first years of hall eligibility. “We’ve always just put our head down and tried to put in our work.

“What we were most proud of is that we got the most out of our talent.”

“Truly an amazing feeling,” Luongo added on a media conference call. “It feels surreal.”

WATCH | Daniel and Henrik Sedin have numbers retired in Vancouver:

Daniel and Henrik Sedin have numbers retired in Vancouver

2 years ago

Duration 1:42

The Swedish superstars were honoured on Wednesday in an hour-long pregame ceremony.

Alfredsson, who’s has been eligible since 2017, thought he might have to wait at least another year until the phone rang at his home in Sweden.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to play this sport for a living,” he said. “Something I would have played for fun for my whole life without a question.”

“I’m probably the second-best Daniel out of this group,” joked Daniel Sedin, who along with his brother will be 42 when the induction ceremony takes place in November.

“Couldn’t be more honoured.”

Henrik Sedin — selected No. 3 overall at the 1999 draft, one spot behind Daniel — is Vancouver’s all-time leader in assists (830), points (1,070), games played (1,330) and power-play points (369).

The centre won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP and the Art Ross Trophy as its leading scorer in 2009-10. He added 23 goals and 78 points in 105 playoff games, including the Canucks’ run to the 2011 Stanley Cup final.

If Henrik was the passer on what was one of hockey’s most dangerous lines, Daniel Sedin was the trigger man.

His 393 goals are first in team history, and the winger sits second in assists (648), points (1,041), games played (1,306) and power-play points (367).

Daniel Sedin won the Ted Lindsay Award as the league MVP as voted by NHL Players’ Association members in 2010-11 to go along with the Art Ross Trophy. He added 71 points in 102 playoff games.

“Just watching them work with each other on the ice and literally knowing where they are without even seeing each other was something that always blew my mind,” Luongo said of the Sedins. “They’re great teammates. Everybody loved them, great people.

“Not so great card players, but that’s for another day.”

The hall’s 2020 edition was finally inducted last November after a delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic after officials decided against naming a class of 2021.

The 18-member selection committee met in-person this year for the first time since 2019.

Luongo’s storied career began with Islanders

Luongo started his career with the New York Islanders and wrapped up with the Florida Panthers.

His best moments, however, were on the West Coast.

When he retired, Luongo ranked third in NHL history with 489 wins, a number that’s since been surpassed by Marc-Andre Fleury.

The 43-year-old sits second behind Martin Brodeur in three goaltending categories — games played (1,044), shots against (30,924) and saves (28,409).

Luongo twice won 40 games with the Canucks, including an eye-popping 47 victories in 2006-07, and made at least 70 appearances in four straight seasons.

“He was the difference for us to get the next level,” Henrik Sedin said. “If you’re talking about a winner, he’s the guy.

“Never took a day off.”

A finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top netminder on three occasions, Luongo sat behind only Sidney Crosby in Hart Trophy voting following his 47-win campaign.

The Montreal native won two Olympic gold medals, leading Canada to the top of the podium in Vancouver in 2010 before backing up Carey Price in Sochi four years later.

“It’s a really, truly humbling experience,” Luongo said before adding of the Sedins: “And the best part of the whole thing is that I get to go in with two of my favourite teammates of all time and two of the greatest people I know.”

Alfredsson scored 444 goals in 18 seasons

Alfredsson put up 444 goals, 713 assists and 1,157 points during his 18 NHL seasons.

The face of the Senators for a generation in the nation’s capital won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year in 1996, and added 100 points in 124 playoff contests.

“We looked up to the way he plays hockey and what kind of person he is,” Henrik Sedin said.

Alfredsson, who won Olympic gold with the Sedins in 2006 and led Ottawa to the 2007 Cup final, thanked Senators fans for helping him get over the hall hump, including a social media campaign this spring that included boosts from the organization and former teammates.

“Really special with the support I’ve had from Ottawa throughout my career from the beginning until this day,” said the 49-year-old, who owns the franchise record for goals, assists and points. “They’ve been a real big supporter of mine and trying to help me get into the Hall of Fame.

“They’re behind me all the way … it goes both ways.”

Sallinen played 16 seasons with the Finnish women’s national team, winning Olympic bronze in both 1998 and 2018.

She added a silver at the 2019 world championships to go along with six third-place finishes. In all, the 48-year-old scored 63 goals and added 59 assists in 81 games for her country.

Hall of Fame selection committee chair Mike Gartner, who was inducted in 2012, said on the media call that Sallinen had yet to be informed of the honour, but quipped she should pick up the phone and dial in if she was listening.

Carnegie, who died in March 2012 at age 92, has often been mentioned as the best Black hockey player to never play in the NHL.

Following a long career in senior hockey where he faced racism that kept him from achieving his ultimate dream, Carnegie founded Future Aces, one of Canada’s first hockey schools, in 1955.

He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, and was also named to the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.

“This is so important to so many people out there who believed in my father,” said Herb Carnegie’s daughter, Bernice. “Whether he was golfing or whether he was in business or whether he was working with thousands upon thousands of young people, it always came back to hockey and how his how he learned so much from the game.

“I am so proud.”

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