Charles Hamelin, short track legend, needs one more medal to go down in history
Canada has officially named its Olympic team
Canada has today announced its complete list of 215 competitors to the Winter Olympics, with the opening ceremony just one week away. Some of Canada’s athletes are already in Beijing. Although it is slightly smaller than Canada’s previous two Winter Games teams, it is still the third largest ever. The Canadian Olympic Committee claims that this team is the most balanced ever sent to the Winter Games. It has 109 men and106 women.
These are just a few fun facts about the team.
*Curlers are equal in age. Jennifer Jones (47) is aiming for her second gold in the women’s event. John Morris (43), aims to win his third consecutive title as mixed doubles champion.
Brooke D’Hondt, a 16-year old halfpipe snowboarder, is the youngest athlete. When her Olympic debuts were made in 2006, she was just shy her first birthday. She was with Mark Nichols, Brad Gushue, and Charles Hamelin, short track speed skaters. Gushue, Nichols and Hamelin are returning for the first time in a decade. Hamelin will be competing in his fifth consecutive Winter Games.
*Hamelin can make Beijing history. The 37-year old needs another Olympic medal to match Cindy Klassen, long track speed skater, for the Canadian Winter Olympic record. Hamelin and Andre De Grasse would be Canada’s most decorated male Olympian if he won a sixth medal. He would be able to join Penny Oleksiak as the most decorated Canadian Olympian.
*Five sets are represented on the team. Justine Dufour–Lapointe and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe shared the Sochi women’s moguls podium eight years ago. They will be competing against each other once again. Christian and Scott Gow (biathlon), and Hannah and Jared Schmidt, (ski cross), will also compete in the same sport. Darcy Sharpe (snowboard big air and slopestyle) and Cassie Sharpe, (ski halfpipe), are competing in two different sports. Marielle Thompson, a 2014 ski cross gold medallist, and Broderick Thompson (an alpine skier), are the same.
The COC also announced today that five Canadian members were placed in COVID-19 protocols on arrival in Beijing. The COC did not reveal the names of the “delegation”, which includes athletes, coaches, and support staff.
Reminder: Two young stars are part of the Canadian men’s soccer team
Jonathan David, Canada’s 2-0 victory in the crucial World Cup qualifier in Honduras, delivered this message in stunning fashion. Canada remained unbeaten in the final round and was the only country to remain at the top of the standings. There were five matches remaining. The Canadian men’s team finishes in the top three and is invited to its first World Cup since 1986.
There was much anxiety ahead of the game about Canada possibly falling down the table. Alphonso Davies, the legendary midfielder, is out with a heart problem for the qualifying window. Canada also had a terrible track record in Honduras . Stephen Eustaquio, a key midfielder, was also absent last night after being reportedly positive for COVID-19. Canada proved once again that it has the strength to weather these storms. With some clever moves, Tajon Buchanan created an early own goal. Milan Borjan, the goalkeeper made some important saves. David won the game with his outstanding effort in the 73rd minute. This was set up by a laser-like 40 yard pass from Liam Fraser.
David is only 10 months younger than Davies, and he is the heartbeat of the team. He is second in scoring in Ligue 1 this season, which is Europe’s top league and includes global stars Kylian Mbappe (Neymar) and Neymar (12 goals). David has 19 goals in 25 matches for Canada’s men’s national soccer team — three shy of the all-time record.
Canadian soccer fans were still watching David’s stunning goal last night, and then more good news came: fourth-place Panama lost against Costa Rica. This increased Canada’s cushion to stay in the top three to five spots. With only five matches remaining, a win is worth three points and a draw one.
Next up is a big one — a showdown against the second-place United States Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET in Hamilton (Ont. Canada was one point behind the Americans last night as El Salvador beat the Americans 1-0 at home. Mexico is in third place, two points behind Canada. They won 2-1 on the road in Jamaica.
Canada’s third match in this window will be at El Salvador on Wednesday night. El Salvador ranks seventh among the eight-team standings, ahead of Honduras. In the final window, Canada will visit Panama, fifth-place Costa Rica, and host sixth place Jamaica in late March. Canada has good chances of reaching the World Cup in Qatar in November, barring any catastrophes. John Molinaro , a soccer expert, has written a piece about how the team managed to survive without Eustaquio and Davies last night.
Evander Kane was awarded a (second?) by the Oilers (third?) (fourth?) (fifth?) Chance. It is impossible to quantify the number of times Kane (allegedly) has crossed the line. The tilting Oilers agreed to gamble, even though an NHL-commissioned investigation revealed that Kane had misrepresented his COVID-19 vaccination status or failed to submit test results regarding his holiday travel. Yesterday’s announcement was followed by Edmonton signing Kane for the remainder of the season. The San Jose Sharks cancelled Kane’s remaining seven-year US contract worth $49 million earlier this month for violating COVID-19 protocol. Kane was fined close to $23million. After Kane was suspended by the NHL in October for submitting fake vaccine cards, the Sharks placed him on waivers and sent him to the minors. Kane hopes to give a shot in Kane’s direction to an inept team that has won only nine of the first ten games of this season, lost 13 out of 15, and now has won three consecutive.
Novak Djokovic could be back in the running for the world No. 1. refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the Australian Open, which led to him being kicked out of the country. Djokovic is now one match away (temporarily at least) from being erased from the record books. Rafael Nadal will win the men’s final against No. Daniil Medvedev, who is 2nd in the ranking, will break Djokovic’s tie with Roger Federer for the all time record for singles Grand Slam men’s titles. It could also be historic for the women, with No. Ash Barty, who is ranked 1 in the world, could become the first woman from Australia to win her home Slam since 1978. Barty holds two major titles. American Danielle Collins, a 28 year-old, will be her opponent. Collins has never been in a Slam final. The women’s final will take place Saturday morning at 3:30 AM. ET. The men’s final is Sunday at the exact same time
Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup will be determined. After last week’s thrilling win over Buffalo (or heartbreaking, if your Bills fan is a Bills-fan), Kansas City will host Cincinnati in the AFC championship at 3 p.m. ET. At 6:30 p.m., the NFC championship game will be played. ET: The San Francisco 49ers will be attempting to win their third consecutive road victory against the Los Angeles Rams. After knocking off Dallas, the Niners sent Aaron Rodgers (top-seeded Green Bay Packers) to an early exit last week.
Tonight’s start is a half-hearted* Scotties. The Canadian women’s championship is a jewel in the crown of curling season. This year, however, it seems a little out of place. The Olympics saw the Scotties move out of their traditional February timeslot and lose some of its most prominent stars. Jennifer Jones, six-time champion, is participating in the Beijing women’s event. Rachel Homan, three-time winner, is competing in mixed doubles. The contest will be held in Canadian time zones on Wednesday morning. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no fans will be allowed to Thunder Bay, Ont. until the playoff rounds. This will make it a quiet atmosphere. Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada team is the clear favourites for the title. They are trying to win it for the 3rd consecutive year. Tracy Fleury’s Manitoba-based Team Wild Card 1 is also in contention. Jones lost the final of the Canadian Olympic trials.