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Olympic viewing guide: Andre De Grasse goes for gold, Penny's last shot – CBC.ca

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This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening at the Tokyo Olympics by subscribing here.

Canada won its fifth swimming medal on Day 8, with Kylie Masse taking silver in the women’s 200-metre backstroke to add to her silver in the 100m back earlier this week. That makes 12 medals overall for the Canadian team in Tokyo — three gold, four silver, five bronze. All by women. See the full medal standings and a detailed breakdown of Canada’s hardware here.

A mouth-watering Day 9 is coming up as the last night of swimming competition leads into track and field’s marquee event: the men’s 100 metres. Canada’s two biggest Summer Olympic stars, Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse, can add to their already-impressive medal collections.

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Our daily Olympic viewing guide will focus on them. Plus, strong Canadian medal chances in diving and gymnastics, a key women’s basketball game, and crunch time in beach volleyball and men’s golf. Here’s what to watch on this super Saturday night/Sunday morning:

De Grasse has real shot to become World’s Fastest Man

The title is truly up for grabs at the Olympics for the first time since Usain Bolt blew away the field (and blew our minds) with his then world-record 9.69 in 2008 in Beijing. The GOAT added two more 100m gold medals before retiring in 2017. Christian Coleman then emerged as the clear favourite to take the first Olympic gold of the post-Bolt era when he won the world title in 2019, but the young American got himself suspended for Tokyo by missing several doping tests.

Since then, track fans have debated who might fill the vacuum in Tokyo. 2016 Olympic silver medallist Justin Gatlin seemed like a natural choice. He beat Bolt in his farewell race at the 2017 worlds, then took silver behind Coleman in 2019. But the 39-year-old finally ran out of gas at the U.S. Olympic trials, blowing a tire in the final and failing to qualify.

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As Tokyo approached, opinion coalesced around 26-year-old American Trayvon Bromell as the consensus favourite. He posted the two fastest times of the year in June — a 9.77 and a 9.80 that won him the U.S. trials final. Bromell also won the final Diamond League 100m race before the Olympics — on July 13 in England. De Grasse finished fourth there but was clearly saving something for a 4×100 relay race an hour later.

The Canadian was also fourth in an Olympic-calibre 100m field at the Diamond League meet in Monaco four days earlier. The top-five betting favourites for Tokyo (at the time) all lined up, and American Ronnie Baker won it in 9.91. South Africa’s Akani Simbine placed second in 9.98, and Italy’s Marcell Jacobs rounded out the podium in 9.99. De Grasse ran a 10 flat, while Bromell stumbled early and finished one spot behind him in 10.01. De Grasse arrived in Tokyo this week having run under 10 seconds with a legal wind just once this year — and that was back in April.

But here’s something we need to remember about De Grasse: He saves his best for the biggest stages. In his career, the 26-year-old has started five individual events at the Olympics or world championships. He’s reached the podium in every single one — bronze in the 100m at the 2016 Olympics and the 2015 and 2019 world championships, silver in the 200 at the ’16 Olympics and ’19 worlds. Big Race ‘Dre, indeed.

Now it looks like De Grasse is peaking at the right time once again. He placed first overall in the opening-round heats on Saturday with a personal season-best time of 9.91. Bromell, meanwhile, did not look like an Olympic favourite. The top three in each heat automatically advance, and he finished fourth in his — scraping into the semifinals as one of the three wild cards. Suddenly, this event looks even more wide open than we thought.

The semifinals begin Sunday at 6:15 a.m. ET, and De Grasse is running in the first of the three heats. The top two in each advance, plus the next two fastest runners. Assuming all goes well, De Grasse will try to become the first Canadian since Donovan Bailey in 1996 to win Olympic 100m gold when the final goes Sunday at 8:50 a.m. ET. Watch it live on the CBC TV network or stream it live on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports’ Tokyo 2020 website. Read Bailey’s takes on De Grasse, Bromell and the rest of the men’s 100m contenders here. Watch a CBC Sports Explains video on the history (and possible future) of the race here.

One other Canadian is competing in a track and field final on Day 9: Django Lovett in the men’s high jump, which starts at 6:10 a.m. ET. He’s not expected to win a medal.

The top event in this morning’s finals was the women’s 100 metres. Elaine Thompson-Herah repeated as champion and led a Jamaican sweep of the podium with an Olympic-record 10.61. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a gold medallist in 2008 and 2012, took silver at age 34, while Shericka Jackson got the bronze. Read more about the race and watch it here.

Penny Oleksiak may finish the night as the most decorated Canadian in Olympic history. (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s Oleksiak’s last chance to break Canadian Olympic medal record (for now)

The 21-year-old star heads into the final night of swimming competition with two medals in Tokyo and six in her career. That’s tied with speed skater Cindy Klassen and speed skater/cyclist Clara Hughes for the most ever by a Canadian Olympian.

Oleksiak has an excellent chance to get the record all to herself in the women’s 4×100-metre medley final tonight at 10:15 p.m. ET. In this race, each swimmer performs a different stroke. And Canada happens to have an Olympic medallist in almost all of them. There’s 100m butterfly champion Maggie Mac Neil, 100m and 200m backstroke silver medallist Kylie Masse and, of course, Penny. She won gold in the 100 freestyle in 2016, took bronze in the 200 free a few days ago and also swam a blistering anchor leg in the 4×100 freestyle relay to win silver for Canada last weekend. The other member of the team is no slouch, either. Sydney Pickrem took bronze in the 200 breaststroke at the 2019 world championships. This lineup won bronze in the 4×100 medley at that meet.

Canada also qualified for the men’s 4×100 medley final at 10:36 p.m. ET — the very last swimming race of the Games. But the team would need a miracle to medal.

Watch the final five swimming medal races starting at 9:30 p.m. ET on the CBC TV network, or stream them live on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports’ Tokyo 2020 website.

Other Canadian medal chances on Saturday night/Sunday morning

There are two strong ones. In chronological order:

Diving

Jennifer Abel is a podium threat in the women’s 3m springboard final at 2 a.m. ET. The 29-year-old placed fourth in this event at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She was also fourth at the most recent world championships, in 2019, and took bronze at the worlds in 2017 and 2011.

Abel has never won an individual medal at the Olympics, but she took silver in the 3m synchronized with Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu last week and bronze in that event in 2012 with former partner Émilie Heymans.

Gymnastics

Simone Biles announced yesterday she won’t defend her Olympic title in the vault or compete in the uneven bars final on Sunday. The American superstar is still dealing with a mental block known in gymnastics as “the twisties” — a loss of orientation while performing moves in the air. It’s this sport’s version of “the yips,” which you might recognize from golf or the new season of Ted Lasso — except way more dangerous. The yips may cause you to miss a putt or a penalty kick, but the twisties can result in a catastrophic injury. They forced Biles to walk away from the team final and decline to defend her individual all-around title earlier this week. She’s still hoping to compete in the floor exercise and balance beam finals on Monday and Tuesday.

Biles’s absence from the vault final, which goes at 4:52 a.m. ET, gives Canada’s Shallon Olsen a better chance at the podium. She took silver in this event at the 2018 world championships and finished fourth in 2019.

Some other interesting stuff you should know about

The Canadian women’s basketball team can make its path easier. After losing their opener to Serbia and rebounding with a win over South Korea, the fourth-ranked Canadians play their final group-stage game at 9 p.m. ET vs. Spain (2-0). Barring a blowout loss and an unfavourable result in one of the other groups, Canada will likely advance to the quarter-finals. But winning their group would be big because it means avoiding the unbeatable U.S. team until at least the semis. Read more about the scenarios and a full preview of tonight’s game vs. Spain here.

It’s crunch time in beach volleyball. The group stage is over. It’s all single-elimination from here on out. Both the women’s and men’s rounds of 16 open tonight, and Canada has two women’s teams alive. Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson, who are ranked 16th in the world, play at 8 p.m. ET vs. No. 3-ranked Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil. Canada’s top duo, reigning world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, play tomorrow night. They breezed through their three group-stage games without losing a set.

A dramatic final round is shaping up in men’s golf. With 18 holes to go, world No. 5 Xander Schauffele of the United States holds a one-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama. They were the final pairing at this year’s Masters, where Matsuyama became the first Japanese player to win a men’s golf major, and Schauffele let a chance to grab his first major title slip as he tied for third. They’ll once again play together in the last grouping, along with Great Britain’s Paul Casey, who’s two shots behind Schauffele. Matsuyama is already a national hero for winning the green jacket, and a gold-medal victory on home turf would elevate him to another level in Japanese sports lore. Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who’s representing Ireland here, is also in the hunt — tied for fifth and only three shots off the lead. Canadians Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes are tied for 17th — seven shots off the lead and five behind the current bronze-medal position. The final round starts at 6:30 p.m. ET. Hughes tees off at 8:47 p.m. ET, Conners at 9:03 p.m. ET, and the final group at 10:09 p.m. ET.

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 Olympics app and CBC Sports’ Tokyo 2020 website. Check out the full streaming schedule here.

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Canucks keep surprising with ‘inexplicable’ comeback vs. Canadiens

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VANCOUVER – Two weeks into his Calder Trophy season four years ago, Elias Pettersson was thrown violently to the ice in Florida by defenceman Mike Matheson, who had been embarrassed by the rookie Vancouver Canuck earlier in the shift.

Pettersson suffered a concussion, Matheson a two-game suspension and the incident set off an inferno of debate about the culture of both the Canucks and the National Hockey League.

But even then, as a 19-year-old with the physique of a 2-iron, Pettersson was tougher than he seemed. Tougher mentally and physically. Four years later for Pettersson and two teams later for Matheson, the Canucks’ elite two-way centre victimized the Montreal Canadiens’ defenceman in overtime to give Vancouver an inexplicable 7-6 victory in front of fans who have rarely been so entertained.

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Pettersson may or may not have caused Matheson to blow a tire and lose the puck by touching the defenceman’s leg with his stick, but there was little doubt about the significance of the goal it caused – for the Canucks and Pettersson.

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Stronger in every sense than he was four years ago, Pettersson skated the puck to the net from a sharp angle as Matheson retreated and tucked a forehand deke through the pads of Montreal goalie Sam Montembeault.

Asked after the game if he realized in the moment whom he had just pilfered and embarrassed, Pettersson looked a long time at the questioner before deadpanning: “I’m going to say, ‘No comment.’” He knew.

This was Pettersson’s revenge.

At least that’s the storyline we’re going with in a game that could have spawned an alternate universe. For the first time since 1973, the Canucks rallied from a four-goal deficit to win. After the Canadiens scored four times in the first period, the Canucks eventually blew a 5-4 lead late in the third, trailed 6-5, then tied it on Andrei Kuzmenko’s power-play goal with Vancouver relief netminder Collin Delia on the bench for an extra attacker.

And then Pettersson won it 13 seconds into overtime.

“If they had called a penalty there, I would have been upset,” he said. “I didn’t touch his skates. I saw that I had an open lane (to the net). And I saw their goalie had one knee down at the post and it looked like if I made a long move, I might be able to get it through.”

Later, in his press scrum, Pettersson told reporters: “I don’t know if it was relief to score a goal or whatever, but just, overall, the emotion all game, to be down four and come back, be down one again and then tie it at the end, it was a game that had a lot of emotions and I’m glad we came up on top tonight.”

Canucks’ Pettersson hoping team can build off come from behind win over Canadiens

A game with 13 goals deserves that many clauses in one sentence.

“Man, we got the two points; that’s all I can say,” Canuck captain Bo Horvat said. “At the end of the day, I don’t care how we did it, we got it done. Obviously, it was not pretty. We made it pretty hard on ourselves but we showed a lot of resilience tonight. And Dells stepping in (for starting goalie Spencer Martin) and playing as well as he did … it was a fun one. It was a Monday Night Football game.”

Maybe the Canucks would be good at football. They appear to have some flaws as a hockey team.

Unable to figure how to defend leads and win, now they don’t even know how to lose properly. Canuck teams don’t come back from 4-0 late in the second period. They don’t score seven goals in the final 23½ minutes.

They don’t finish a four-game homestand at 2-2 when they led for less than seven minutes in more than four hours of hockey.

“That’s just the rollercoaster of emotions — kind of how you do not want to play the game, really,” Canuck veteran J.T. Miller said. “You want to play even-keel. But when you give up four that quickly, it was kind of a shell shock because … we had been absolutely dominant. Shots were 9-0 (at the start). A couple breakdowns and we’ve just got to get out of that habit of giving them up bang, bang, bang, bang. You’re not going to come back from 4-0 every day. But we talked about getting two in the second (period). But we had so many guys step up. Petey’s line was awesome; Petey was dominant.”

After Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win against Arizona, when the Canucks chased the mighty Coyotes all game, Pettersson’s line was reconfigured by desperate coach Bruce Boudreau. Brock Boeser, who went from being a healthy scratch to outed on the trade block to goal-scoring hero in one eventful Saturday, was deployed Monday alongside Pettersson and winger Ilya Mikheyev.

Mikheyev scored twice on perfect passes from Pettersson, who finished with three points, giving him 32 in 26 games this season.

Canucks’ Pettersson slips game winner five-hole to cap OT thriller vs. Canadiens

Horvat, Conor Garland and Jack Studnicka, with the Canucks’ first go-ahead goal at 8:49 of the third period, also scored for Vancouver.

It was impossible to foresee when the score was 4-0 that Studnicka and Delia would become key figures in a Canuck victory. But most of their season has been a surprise. The Canucks are Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates.

“It’s funny, I feel like every game, it’s so live or die,” Miller said. “It’s 82 games. We’ve won a lot of games in the last 15 or 20 (but), it’s a process. It’s not going to be pretty every night. I’m just proud of the group. We had a lot of different guys step up tonight, which is awesome.”

The Canucks have lost seven games this season after leading by two or three goals. But now they’ve won one when they trailed by four.

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Darnell Nurse sounds off on Edmonton Oilers slow starts after Stuart Skinner faces 50 shots

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Another slow start for the Edmonton Oilers wasn’t their undoing against the Washington Capitals in Monday’s 3-2 loss, but it certainly didn’t help either.

The Oilers were outshot 22-12 in the opening frame, with Stuart Skinner turning aside all 22 in his eventual 47-save performance in the loss.

“We come in here and we talk about it every day,” Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse said of his team’s starts. “We sit here after the game, talk about it over and over and over. … We want to have good starts each and every night but, you know, we’re sitting here and it’s a part of our game. We’re almost a quarter of the way through the season.

“The more we just talk away and pester at it, we need to just show up and play. Relax, pin our ears back and come out on the on the attack.”

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The Oilers were outshot 50-30 on Monday, including 19-7 in the second period, when Skinner allowed two goals.

“We weren’t as quick and physical as we wanted to be in the defensive zone,” Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said. “Our goalie stood tall. We’re 2-2 going into the third period. We made a critical error, and it ended up in the back of our net.”

Skinner Unfazed as Oilers Allow 50 Shots

Skinner, who has moved into the starting role ahead of Jack Campbell over the past month, saw his record drop to 7-6 on the season, with a .916 save percentage and a 2.93 goals-against average.

The 50 shots faced against the Capitals were a season high for Skinner, who said the early barrage helped put him the zone.

“I think if you get a few [early] chances on you and make all the saves, it’s a little bit of a confidence booster,” Skinner said. “They got on the power play and I got a few shots on the power play, so after that I was ready to go.”

The loss dropped the Oilers to 14-12-0 on the season as the team currently sits in the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

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Recap: Brazil vs South Korea – World Cup 2022

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Neymar has returned from injury to help Brazil thump South Korea 4-1, setting up a World Cup quarter-final clash against Croatia.

Four unanswered Brazilian goals in the first half at Stadium 974 on Monday set an imperious tone for a team with their sights firmly on a sixth World Cup title.

And while the game settled in the second period, it was never sluggish or scrappy, and a spirited South Korea fought hard to score a consolation goal in the 76th minute.

It took just seven minutes for Brazil to get off the mark, with Raphinha picking up the ball just outside the box and rushing in on the right side, sending in a pass to Neymar. The Paris Saint-Germain number 10 was brought down by his marker and the ball ended up at the feet of Vinicius Jr, in acres of space.

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The Real Madrid star steadied himself before placing it to the right of Kim Seung-gyu in the South Korean goal.

Brazil celebrating their third goal, with goalscorer Richarlison in the centre [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Just three minutes later, Richarlison was brought down by Jung Woo-young inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar, who had reportedly flown his barber out to Qatar to dye his hair blonde following previous victories over South Korea with bleached hair, wasted no time in slotting it into the bottom-right of the net. Brazil was up two-nil with less than 15 minutes on the clock.

South Korea had their share of chances, with Hwang Hee-chan, fresh off scoring the winner against Portugal, having a go from a distance but sending the ball comfortably over the bar. Moments later, Allison was forced to make a diving save to his left, his first save of the tournament.

But Paolo Bento’s men were simply outclassed in every part of the pitch.

A remarkable piece of skill in the 26th minute saw Richarlison juggling the ball, heading it to himself three times while evading defenders on the edge of the South Korean box. He then passed the ball before running through on goal to receive the return, firing the ball in for Brazil’s third.

Just 10 minutes later, Vinicius Jr set up Lucas Paqueta with a cheeky chip, and the midfielder shot low and right. Kim Seung-gyu could do little but look at the ball nestling in the back of the net.

With four goals before half-time, Brazil was putting down a marker for any teams who think they might have a chance of lifting the trophy on December 18.

Son Heung-min nearly clawed one back for South Korea straight after the restart, but Alisson — who must, through this game alone, be in contention for the Golden Glove — got enough of his arm onto the shot to tip it wide.

Faced with the intensity of Brazil’s onslaught, South Korea tried to slow the game, but more chances for Raphinha and Vinicius Jr followed despite the best efforts of the men in red.

Then came the 77th minute, and out of nowhere, Paik Seung-ho scored from outside the box. A free kick for South Korea was bundled clear by the Brazilian defence, falling to Paik, who belted it past Alisson’s dive to find the top-right corner. Finally, the South Korean fans had something to cheer about.

South Korea continued to work hard in defence and create chances in attack, but that goal was to be their only score, and they head home having been soundly beaten by one of the best teams in the world.

Brazil will face Croatia in the quarter-finals at Education City on Friday.

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