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.
Canada did not reach the podium on Day 2 of medal events in Beijing. Snowboarder Laurie Blouin came close, placing fourth in the women’s slopestyle. Speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen did not, finishing 10th in the men’s 5,000 metres. With both athletes falling short after taking silver in these events four years ago, Canada remains at two medals and is still looking for its first gold.
But it was far from a boring day. The mixed doubles curling event went bonkers, with Canada’s team at the centre of the chaos. The mayhem (both on and off the ice) set up a dramatic conclusion to the round robin tonight, followed by the semifinals on Monday morning.
We’ll start our daily viewing guide there, then look at what could be a big medal day for Canada in snowboarding and short track speed skating. Plus, a Canadian teenage figure skater delivers under pressure and the Dufour-Lapointe sisters share a tearful farewell.
Here’s what to watch on Sunday night and Monday morning:
What the hell just happened in mixed doubles curling?
Today looked like it would be a get-right day for Canada’s Rachel Homan and John Morris. A tough schedule to start the tournament left the Canadians clinging to the fourth and final playoff spot with three games remaining. But Sunday’s matchups vs. the Czech Republic and Australia — the two worst teams in the standings entering the day — offered a great chance for Canada to solidify its status for the medal round. The road seemed to get even easier when one of Australia’s players tested positive for COVID-19, apparently disqualifying them from the rest of the event and removing the danger of Canada suffering an upset.
Until, that is, Chinese health officials reinstated the Australian duo in time for them to upset 2018 silver medallist Switzerland for their first win. Then the rejuvenated Aussies pulled off an even bigger shocker, racing out to a 7-0 lead over Canada before blowing it but ultimately pulling out a 10-8 win when Homan whiffed with her team’s final rock.
That brutal defeat forces Canada (5-3) into the most pressure-packed scenario imaginable for tonight’s final round-robin draw. A win puts them in the playoffs. A loss sends them home. And their opponent is the top team in the table: 8-0 Italy. The surprising Italians have already locked up the top seed for the semifinals, but they’d surely love to knock out the country that won gold in 2018, when Morris dominated this event with Kaitlyn Lawes. The round-robin finale is at 8:05 p.m. ET.
If Morris and Homan survive, they’ll play in the semifinals at 7:05 a.m. ET. Great Britain and Norway (both 5-3) have joined Italy in clinching spots, based on their tiebreaker advantages. If Canada doesn’t get the final berth, it will go to Sweden (5-4).
Read more about today’s mixed doubles drama and watch highlights here. Get primed for tonight’s game by watching That Curling Show with hosts Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones at 7 p.m. ET on the CBC Sports YouTube channel.
WATCH | Homan, Morris suffer shocking loss to Australia:
Canadian medal chances on Sunday night/Monday morning
While the curling semifinals aren’t technically medal games, they also kind of are, in the sense that a victory guarantees you at least a silver. But if we’re talking opportunities for Canadians to win actual, defined spots on the podium, here are the strong possibilities in chronological order:
Snowboarding: Men’s slopestyle final at 11 p.m. ET
Canada’s big 3 of Mark McMorris, Max Parrot and Seb Toutant all qualified today for the 12-man final. Each guy is capable of reaching the podium in this event, which involves riders tricking off ramps and urban-style features like railings and a makeshift roof. McMorris did it at the last two Winter Olympics, taking bronze both times. Parrot topped him in 2018, winning silver. Parrot took silver at last year’s world championships, and is the reigning Olympic champ in big air, an event that demands a similar skill set (McMorris and Parrot are also very good at it).
McMorris, though, seems like the man for Canada right now. He won the prestigious X Games men’s slopestyle title for the sixth time two weeks ago, and last night he put up the second-best score in qualifying. Toutant, who skipped the X Games, was eighth in qualifying. Parrot, who finished seventh at the X Games, was 10th. The top qualifier was 17-year-old Chinese rider Su Yiming. He’s now the slight betting favourite to win gold, just ahead of McMorris.
Short track speed skating
Canada has two strong contenders on Monday morning with Kim Boutin in the women’s 500 metres and Pascal Dion in the men’s 1,000m. First, they’ll have to survive the quarter-final and semifinal rounds. Racing starts at 6:30 a.m. ET.
Boutin got bronze in the 500 in 2018 after a South Korean skater was disqualified for interfering with her in the final. This led to Boutin being harassed by online trolls. But she battled through it, ended up with three medals and was named Canada’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremony. She’s currently ranked second in the world in this event and is the No. 2 favourite in the betting odds, which imply a toss-up between three athletes. The women’s 500m final is at 7:46 a.m. ET.
Dion is ranked No. 1 in the men’s 1,000 after reaching the podium three times this season. He captured a bronze at the 2018 Olympics as part of the Canadian men’s relay team but is still looking for his first individual Olympic medal. Dion is the No. 2 favourite in the betting odds, which show no clear favourite. The men’s 1,000m final is at 7:58 a.m. ET.
WATCH | McMorris leads trio of Canadians into slopestyle final:
Some other interesting stuff you should know about
Madeline Schizas came through. But will it matter? The 18-year-old figure skater delivered under pressure last night, placing third with a personal best in the women’s short segment of the team event to lift Canada from sixth place into the five-team final round. Unfortunately, Roman Sadovsky promptly finished last in the men’s free skate, leaving Canada a distant fourth in the overall standings. It would take a miracle to catch Japan for bronze as the event closes tonight with the pairs (8:15 p.m. ET), dance (9:30 p.m. ET) and women’s (10:35 p.m. ET) free skates. The team from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) leads and will try to hold off the United States for gold.
The Canadian women’s hockey team plays its last game before facing the United States. Coming off blowouts of Switzerland and Finland by a combined score of 23-2, Canada faces the ROC tonight at 11:10 p.m. ET. This will be a mere appetizer for Monday night’s round-robin finale vs. the U.S., which will itself be a mere appetizer for the archrivals’ near-certain showdown in the gold-medal game.
There’s a double dose of alpine skiing tonight. The postponement of last night’s men’s downhill due to high winds means two races are on tap for tonight. The women’s giant slalom is up first, with the first leg at 8:30 p.m. ET. The men’s downhill, which takes place on a different slope about a half-mile away, goes at 11 p.m. ET. Then the second and final leg of the women’s giant slalom at 1:30 a.m. ET. Canada doesn’t have a strong contender in either race. Valérie Grenier is 13th in the World Cup women’s GS standings. Jack Crawford is 21st in the men’s downhill. Neither has reached an international podium at the highest level. But you never know in alpine — and especially in the downhill, which is the sport’s most volatile event.
The Dufour-Lapointe sisters bid a tearful farewell to the Olympics. Justine and Chloe were big stars at the 2014 Games in Sochi, where they shared the women’s moguls podium after Justine won gold and her older sister took silver. The Canadians also both competed in the 2018 final, where Justine landed a silver of her own. Now in the twilight of their careers, Justine, 27, and Chloé, 30, made it to today’s final at what is likely their last Olympic Games. It didn’t end well, with Justine crashing out in the first run and Chloé failing to advance past the second. Both sisters were in tears afterward as they shared a (probably) final Olympic embrace. Certainly not the ending these two great athletes deserved. But at least they had each other.
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.
Defiant Serena Williams takes aim at Wimbledon title – The Globe and Mail
Since she hasn’t done this for a while, Serena Williams was not in top press-conference form this weekend.
At her best, Williams may be the most electric speaker in sport. She bops between playfulness and simmering rage, often in the space of a single question. The way she stares through questioners puts most of them on the stammering defensive before they’ve said anything.
But now back at Wimbledon after what was essentially a sabbatical year, she lacked that mojo. Short answers. Less cheek. Zero flashes of annoyance.
Then a German reporter tossed her a softball: “What would be a good outcome for you?”
Williams is 40. She hasn’t played a meaningful singles match since blowing her hamstring at this tournament last year. She’s only here because Wimbledon gave her a free pass.
“Oh yes,” Williams said, like she’d been waiting for this one. She closed her eyes and lowered her voice to a purr. “You know the answer to that. Come on now.”
Laughter in the room. An amused eyeroll from the star.
Then someone else followed with the same question asked a slightly different way and Williams iced him with the same answer: “You guys know the answer to that.”
The tone made it very clear no one should try for a third.
Other questioners tried to draw her on Roe v. Wade and the Russia ban. Williams passed both times. It was a lesson to her colleagues throughout sport – there’s no law that says you must have a public opinion on everything.
Finally, here was the imperious Williams that we have missed. Now let’s see if that dominance can be transferred a few hundred feet onto the court.
Many sports stars dominate their little patch of the field, but few have controlled their whole environments the way Williams has. In the latter half of her career, it often seemed that she could beat opponents by Vulcan mind-melding them from distance. The match would be going their way. Williams would fix them with her thousand-yard stare. And then – whoop! – it’d be going Williams’s way.
Then the injuries started up. And the disappointments in major tournament finals. And the rock in her shoe that is Margaret Court’s 24 grand slam titles (Williams is stuck on 23).
Williams is the most dominating women’s player ever. You don’t need to understand tennis to understand that. All you need are eyes. But until the numbers fall her way, some dingdong is always going to say, “Yeah, sure, but …”
She has steadily denied it, but that appeared to get in Williams’s head. Her mien was still total control, but opponents no longer feared her. Broadcasters stopped mooning about her the whole way through matches. When they did tell Williams stories, they started having a “back in my day” feel. It must feel bizarre to have your professional obit written in real time while you’re still working. Here, she felt compelled to start off her presser with, “I didn’t retire.”
A year away won’t have helped any of that. Nor will the new job title. Everyone else she plays in her two weeks here – come on now – will be a tennis professional. Grinding it out on the tour 10 months a year, racking up the AmEx points.
Williams had been a tennis part-timer for a while, but now she’s more of an occasional worker. A dabbler, even. Her steady gig is as a venture capitalist.
“I’m currently out of the office for the next few weeks,” Williams said.
Her company raised more than US$100-million in seed money in the spring. It’s a good fit. I mean, are you going to say no to Serena Williams? And if you do, how do you plan on getting out of the room? She is a lot faster than you.
So now Williams is not only fighting younger, presumably fitter players, her age and a lack of practice. She’s taking on the whole idea of doing sports for a living. Though she will make money here, Williams has become an amateur. Because one way of defining that word is “someone who does something for fun.”
Williams is currently ranked 411th in the world. She’s not about to start climbing that ladder again. She’s doing this because she can and why not?
If she makes it through a couple of rounds, nobody’s going to feel weird about that. She’s Serena Williams. She can still win matches with The Look.
But if she puts a real dent in this tournament, the modern game is going to look slightly ridiculous. Everyone in it never shuts up about their up-when-it’s-still-dark workout routine and their strength coach and the sports psychologist who sleeps in a cot beside their bed. If the louche star of yesteryear who practises when he feels like it and enjoys a boozy night out were to time warp into the present day, he’d be shunned.
(Not that such players don’t still exist. Just that they’ve figured out they shouldn’t talk about it.)
So what would it say if Williams – her life full of other responsibilities, coming off a bad injury and only having swung a racket in anger as a doubles player about a week ago – were to excel here? It would put the lie to sport’s productivity cult.
When someone tried to put her on the spot about being spared a first-round match against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Williams’s expression flattened: “Every match is hard … and anyone could have been drawn to me.”
There have always been a bunch of reasons to be fascinated by Williams. She divides opinion, but two things cannot be argued – her quality and her charisma. She’s an all-timer in both instances. Her place at the top of the pyramid is already assured.
But floating into London in June on a working holiday, seemingly expecting to win Wimbledon? How great would that be? You guys know the answer to that.
Stanley Cup headed for repair shop after drop by Avalanche’s Aube-Kubel – Sportsnet.ca
It didn’t take long for the Stanley Cup to suffer some damage following the 2021-22 season.
Mere minutes after the Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to claim the title on Sunday night, Avs forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel fell while skating with the Cup toward the traditional on-ice team photo.
Aube-Kubel dropped the Cup — and the result was predictable.
“I don’t even know if they even had it five minutes and there’s a dent at the bottom already,” Phil Pritchard, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s keeper of the Cup, said in an NHL Twitter post.
“Right in the middle of the team photo. It’s the third time the Avalanche have won it. I guess we have a little chat with them soon and go through the process of how we’re going to repair it and that. But the Stanley Cup tour will go on.”
Like all sports trophies, the Cup has taken its share of body blows over the years. But this one was unique.
“I guess it’s a new record today, five minutes into the presentation it has happened. It’s the first time it’s ever happened on the ice,” Pritchard said.
Alex Newhook Becomes Third Newfoundlander To Win The Cup – VOCM
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Alex Newhook is a Stanley Cup Champion.
The Colorado Avalanche finally dethroned the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night, holding on for a 2 -1 victory and taking the series 4-2.
Newhook becomes the third Newfoundland player to win the Cup, following Daniel Cleary of Harbour Grace and Bonavista’s Michael Ryder.
Newhook had four points in 12 games this post-season and, at the age of 21, becomes the youngest player from this province to ever win the Cup.
Anticipation now builds toward this summer when it’s expected Newhook and the Cup will make the trip home.
— Shawn Newhook (@shawn_newhook) June 27, 2022
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 27, 2022
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