Sports: 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang
From double gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who carried the flag in the opening ceremonies, to triple-medallist Kim Boutin, who carried the flag in the closing ceremonies, here’s a snapshot look at the athletes who made the podium
By Bev Wake
So it turns out the absence of NHL stars from the 2018 Winter Olympics may not have been a bad thing, after all. It allowed so many other athletes — from so many sports — to step into the spotlight and shine.
For the first time since 2002, it wasn’t the men’s gold-medal hockey game that brought Canada to a standstill: it was a pair of ice dancers from southern Ontario.
When Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won their second gold medal of the Olympics — in ice dance, to go along with the team title won earlier in the Games — social media exploded. Sure, a lot of the chatter had to do with their relationships status, but there was an obvious appreciation for what they were doing on the ice. They were about as perfect as they could have been, and it was easy to feel like we were sharing in their moment.
We’ve all seen the photos of a young Tessa and Scott, all youth and freckles looking sweetly at the camera, not yet knowing that one day they would become the most-decorated figure skaters in Olympic history with five medals, three of them gold. When they won their first gold medal, in Vancouver in 2010, they still had that look of youth to them. Between Vancouver and PyeongChang, we’ve watched them grow up.
Their Olympic journey, in many ways, is like Canada’s. Back in 2006, they were first alternates on the Olympic team and Canada was just starting out on its path to “Own the Podium” at our home Olympics in 2010. We won 24 medals at those Games. In Vancouver, there were 26, among them an Olympic-record 14 gold.
In PyeongChang — with the deepest team in Canadian Olympic history — Canada won a national-record 29 medals, including 10 gold, behind Norway and Germany but ahead of the mighty United States. And they did it without any medals in men’s or women’s curling, traditional strengths, and without gold in men or women’s hockey.
In all likelihood, NHL players will be back for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The lack of medals in men’s and women’s curling is probably a one-off rather than a sign of things to come, although the world is certainly catching up.
For now, though, let’s celebrate the 29 medals and all those who were able to shine in PyeongChang.
Here’s a look back at each of Canada’s medal moments:
Figure skating (team)
They finished second four years ago in Sochi and moved up a spot in PyeongChang — making it look easy, despite having missed the ISU World Team Trophy podium in 2015 and 2017. Here, it wasn’t even close. Canada finished no worse than third in any of the events to amass 73 points, well ahead of the Olympic Athletes from Russia with 66 and the United States with 62. On the podium: Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford, Patrick Chan, Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman.
Mikael Kingsbury, moguls
The world No. 1 picked up the one thing missing from his trophy cabinet — Olympic gold — after finishing second to Canadian teammate Alex Bilodeau in Sochi. In PyeongChang, he scored 86.63 points to finish ahead of Australia’s Matt Graham (82.57) and Japan’s Daichi Hara (82.19). Canadian Marc-Antoine Gagnon was fourth for the second-straight Olympics.
This face says it all! I’ve been dreaming of this moment all my life! I have no word to describe this feeling! I can’t thank enough my coaches, trainers, sponsors, fans, friends, family and my teammates @philmarquis @MAGagnon06 ?? I love you guys❤️ #2018olympicGOLDmedalist pic.twitter.com/ZUTnxvHmjw
— Mikael Kingsbury (@MikaelKingsbury) February 17, 2018
Kaitlyn Lawes/John Morris, mixed doubles curling
They headed to PyeongChang with Olympic experience — Lawes had won gold in Sochi with Jennifer Jones, and Morris gold in Vancouver with Kevin Martin — but little experience with each other, as mixed doubles made its Olympic debut. Canada has never won a world title in the sport, but Lawes and Morris did one better, securing Olympic gold with a 10-3 win over Switzerland. Norway won bronze.
— Kaitlyn Lawes (@LKLawes) February 25, 2018
Ted-Jan Bloeman, 10,000-metre speed skating
The Canadian via Netherlands covered his face with his hands, tears streaming down his face, when he realized gold was his — that Dutch legend Sven Kramer, racing in the final pairing, was not going to finish ahead of him. Bloeman finished the 10,000 in an Olympic-record time of 12:39.77, ahead of Jorrit Bergsma of Netherlands and Nicola Tumolero of Italy.
My teammates, my coach, my staff, my sponsors, my country, my family, my friends and of course my wife are all golden! It’s with all of them that I won the gold, I’m so grateful! Thank you to everyone for the beautiful messages! To explain the picture: When @usainbolt asks you to celebrate like him, you celebrate like him!
Samuel Girard, 1,000-metre short track
The heir apparent to short-track star Charles Hamelin, the 21-year-old picked up his first Olympic medal in the 1,000-metre race, finishing two-tenths of a second ahead of American John-Henry Krueger. Among the first to congratulate him afterwards? Hamelin.
— Samuel Girard (@SamGirardCAN) February 18, 2018
Justin Kripps, two-man bobsleigh
The favourite heading into the event — by virtue of his overall title on the World Cup circuit — Kripps didn’t disappoint. With Alexander Kopacz as his brakeman, he finished in a time of 3:16.86, tied for first with Germans Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis. Latvia was third.
— Justin Kripps (@justinkripps) February 19, 2018
Cassie Sharpe, ski halfpipe
The 25-year-old from Comox, B.C. made a statement in PyeongChang, dominating qualifying and finals, after a third-place finish at the X-Games in January. In the end, it wasn’t even close. She won gold with a score of 95.80, well ahead of silver medallist Marie Martinod of France (92.60) and bronze medallist Brita Sigourney (91.60) of the United States.
So cool to walk in closing ceremonies with my fav crew! What a wild experience this has been. Couldn’t be any more grateful! ??? pic.twitter.com/t5s5FzIhZS
— Cassie Sharpe (@CassieSharpe) February 26, 2018
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir, ice dance
With gold in ice dance, they became the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history — three gold (ice dance 2018, 2010, team 2018) and two silver (ice dance, team 2014). But it was close. They finished less than a point ahead of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France. The American brother-sister pair of Maia and Alex Shibutani took bronze.
— Scott Moir (@ScottMoir) February 20, 2018
Brady Leman, ski cross
He seemed to be cursed at the Olympics. He broke his leg before the competition even began in Vancouver and four years later finished a heartbreaking fourth in Sochi. In PyeongChang, Leman finally made it to the top of the podium. He led the final most of the way, finishing ahead of Marc Bischofberger of Switzerland and Sergey Ridzik, an Olympic athlete from Russia. “I was really trying not to think about it as redemption because I don’t think that’d be a good mindset to have,” he told CBC, “but now that it’s done, yeah.”
Kelsey Serwa, ski cross
Four years ago, she finished second behind Canadian teammate Marielle Thompson. She shared the podium with another Canadian again in PyeongChang, Brittany Phelan, but this time she was on the top step. Fanny Smith of Switzerland took bronze. “Everything today went perfect,” Serwa told reporters afterwards.
Hey, #TeamCanada fans! Kelsey Serwa and Brittany Phelan have a message for you all the way from PyeongChang ?#PyeongChang2018 | @kelseyserwa | @britt_phelan | @Alpine_Canada pic.twitter.com/vAdGw0UPWN
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) February 25, 2018
Sebastian Toutant, Big Air
Most of the talk heading into the Olympics was about Max Parrot and Mark McMorris, and whether they could finish one-two. Instead, it was another Canadian who stood alone in top spot. The two-times X-Games champion ran away with it, securing gold with a score of 174.25. American Kyle Mack (168.75) and Great Britain’s Billy Morgan (168.00) finished second and third.
— Sebastien Toutant (@SebToots) February 26, 2018
Max Parrot, snowboard slopestyle
The 2014 X-Games champion needed to land his final run to reach the podium — and he did, scoring 86.00 points to finish just behind American Redmond Gerrard (87.16) and ahead of Canadian teammate Mark McMorris (85.20).
Thank you all for the support!! I have the best fans ever!! ?? You all inspires me to accomplish great things like this bite!! ? pic.twitter.com/TWmOkm9wKh
— Max Parrot (@MaxParrot) February 12, 2018
Ted-Jan Bloeman, 5,000-metre speed skating
The world-record holder over the distance, Bloeman entered the race as one of the medal favourites and he didn’t disappoint. While Sven Kramer of the Netherlands easily won gold in a time of 6:09.76, a tiring Bloeman was somehow able to find an extra gear at the end of his race to win his pairing with Sverre Lunde Pedersen of Norway by 2/1,000ths of a second:6:11.616 to 6:11.618.
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) February 11, 2018
Justine Dufour-Lapointe, moguls
Four years ago, she stood atop the podium in Sochi with her sister Chloe beside her in second place. She channelled that inner tiger again in PyeongChang to secure a silver medal. The youngest of the three Dufour-Lapointe sisters scored 78.56 in the final, just behind Perrine Laffont of France (78.65). Yuliya Galysheva of Kazakhstan took bronze (77.40).
Tiger Spirit ????? pic.twitter.com/vNf2Z6dsmC
— Soeurs | Dufour-Lapointe Sisters (@3_SDL) February 15, 2018
Laurie Blouin, snowboard slopestyle
It’s hard to remember that at one point, we didn’t know if Blouin would be able to compete in the final, following a brutal crash in training. Her face bruised, her eye-blackened, the reigning world champion pushed the pain aside to finish second with a score of 76.33. American Jamie Anderson (83.00) won gold, while Enni Rukajarvi took bronze (75.38).
Can’t believe this just happened ??. Thanks for the love y’all!! Much appreciated. pic.twitter.com/QryvJyhFV8
— Laurie Blouin (@LaurieBlouin) February 12, 2018
Luge team relay
There were few medals that meant more than this one. Four years ago in Sochi, the Canadian luge team finished fourth three times: in the team relay, women’s singles and men’s doubles. Worse, the relay team was bumped to bronze late last year due to the Russian doping scandal — then learned in late January the Court of Arbitration for Sport had reversed that decision, pushing them back to fourth. In PyeongChang, they made sure to secure their own fate. Alex Gough, Sam Edney, Justin Snith and Tristan Walker finished in a time of 2:24.872, just behind the powerhouse Germans and ahead of Austria.
Don’t think I’ll ever forget this feeling. pic.twitter.com/bpyjUbvVuT
— Tristan Walker (@TristanLuge) February 19, 2018
Kim Boutin, 1,000-metre short track
Just as Samuel Girard seems to be following the path of Charles Hamelin, Boutin has picked up the torch from Marianne St-Gelais. One of three medals won in individual events in PyeongChang — the most by anyone on the Canadian team — she finished just behind Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands and ahead of Italy’s Arianna Fontana. She was named Canada’s flagbearer for the closing ceremonies.
Le sourire quand on vient de gagner une médaille d'argent! So happy!
Merci à tous pour votre soutien! Thanks for your support! ???
— Kim Boutin (@kimbtin) February 22, 2018
It had to happen sometime … but why, oh why, did it have to happen in a shootout? The Canadian women were trying to become the first hockey team in history to win five-straight Olympic gold medals. The four-time world champion Americans were trying to end the streak. The Americans eventually prevailed, 3-2, following overtime and a shootout.
Thank you Canada for allowing me to represent our great Country. I couldn’t be more proud. Thank you for the outpouring support of our girls pic.twitter.com/hEDB3qQHyZ
— Shannon Szabados (@ShannonSzabados) February 22, 2018
Brittany Phelan, ski cross
The former alpine skier headed to the Olympics ranked No. 7 in the world and had the run of her life when it mattered most. She finished right behind Canadian teammate Kelsey Serwa to give Canada its second-straight 1-2 finish in Olympic ski cross. Fanny Smith of Switzerland took bronze.
That feeling when you finish 1-2 in #skicross with your best friend.?♀️
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) February 23, 2018
Mark McMorris, snowboard slopestyle
It was the second-straight bronze medal for Mark McMorris in arguably the most entertaining event of the Olympics, but odds are this one meant a little bit more. Less than a year ago, he was fighting for his life after a devastating backcountry crash near Whistler left him with a fractured jaw, fractured left arm, ruptured spleen, pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung. In PyeongChang, he finished with 85.20 points, behind American Redmond Gerrard (87.16) and Canadian teammate Max Parrot (86.00).
Thank You Life??❤️ pic.twitter.com/TdHcIdWzqJ
— Mark McMorris (@markmcmorris) February 12, 2018
Kim Boutin, 500-metre short track
Boutin got her Olympics off to a fine start, winning the first of her three medals in short track’s shortest event. She finished in a time of 43.881, behind gold medallist Arianna Fontana of Italy (42.569) and silver medallist Yara van Kerkhof of Netherlands (43.256). The aftermath wasn’t so fun for Boutin, who was bumped to bronze after South Korea’s Min-jeong Choi was disqualified for interference. Boutin received hundreds of nasty messages on social media, including death threats.
C'est un grand honneur d'être nommée porte-drapeau pour la cérémonie de clôture. It's a great honor to be named Canada's flag-bearer for the closing ceremony. ?????
? @gregkolz#speedskating #speedskatingcanada #teamcanada #canada #canadaflag pic.twitter.com/2O5EQLtAbp
— Kim Boutin (@kimbtin) February 24, 2018
Alex Gough, women’s luge
Alex Gough has recorded so many firsts during her legendary luge career, it was only fitting she made the podium in PyeongChang, especially after finishing fourth in Sochi. The first Canadian to win a luge World Cup event, the first Canadian woman to win a medal at the luge world championship — and now the first Canadian to win an Olympic luge medal. “Elated,” she told reporters afterwards, when asked how it felt.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, pairs figure skating
They wanted to end their brilliant pairs career knowing they’d left everything they had on the ice. The two-time world champions did just that in PyeongChang, adding a bronze in pairs to the gold won earlier in the team event. They finished the competition with 230.15 points, behind only gold medallists Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany (235.90) and Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China (235.47).
I’m still sitting here in disbelief about everything that actually happened this past week ? #olympics #dreamcometrue #livingthedream #livingmybestlife #WinterOlympics #Feb2018 #momentsillneverforget #pyeongchang2018 #teamcanada @Rad85E pic.twitter.com/dJqe8rH5ix
— Meagan Duhamel (@mhjd_85) February 16, 2018
Kim Boutin, 1,500-metre short track
Putting the death threats behind her, Boutin secured her second of three medals. Her time of 2:25.834 put her behind South Korea’s Choi Min-jeong (2:24.948) and Li Jinyu of China (2:25.703).
— Kim Boutin (@kimbtin) February 17, 2018
Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, ski slopestyle
He couldn’t have asked for a better cheer section, with the Canadian men’s freestyle moguls team — including gold medallist Mikael Kingsbury — baring their chests in the cold of the mountains to show the initials ABM. His second run ended up securing the medal with a score of 92.40, behind Oystein Braten of Norway (95.00) and American Nick Goepper (93.00).
Kaillie Humphries/Phylicia George, two-woman bobsleigh
She went into the Olympics hoping to become the first Canadian to win three-straight gold medals in the same event (hockey aside). Paired with brakeman and former track star Phylicia George rather than former partner Heather Moyse, she fell just short. Her four-run combined time of 3:22.89 left her behind Germans Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz (3:22.45) and Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs (3:22.52).
Didn’t defend the title, but still on the podium. ?and doing it with @phyliciageorge knowing how hard we worked to earn that spot, makes it a memory all its own. Sport is competitive, but we put it all out there. So happy and proud of what we accomplished ??♥️ https://t.co/fqObm000XZ
— Kaillie Humphries (@BobsledKaillie) February 21, 2018
Men’s 5,000-metre relay, short track
In what was his Olympic swan song, Charles Hamelin secured the fifth Olympic medal of his career, matching the Canadian short track record held by Marc Gagnon and Francois-Louis Tremblay. Only Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes (six) have won more Olympic medals. Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Charle Cournoyer and Pascal Dion finished in a time of 6:32.282, just behind gold medallists Hungary (6:31.971, an Olympic record) and China (6:32.035).
— Charles Hamelin (@Speedskater01) February 23, 2018
Kaetlyn Osmond, figure skating
The effervescent skater who trains at the West Edmonton Mall — and won silver at the 2017 world championships — proved to everyone she can more than hold her own against the world’s best on the biggest stage. Performing almost perfectly, she finished the event with a combined score of 231.02 — well ahead of fourth-place finisher Satoko Miyahara of Japan (222.38). Russian dynamos Alina Zagitova (239.57) and Evgenia Medvedeva (238.26) won gold and silver. Osmond earlier won gold in the team event.
— Skate Canada / Patinage Canada (@SkateCanada) February 23, 2018
We’ve grown used to seeing Canada win gold (2002, 2010, 2014), so that 4-3 loss to Germany (Germany!) that bumped the team to the bronze-medal game was a bit of a shock. Still, you have to give it to these guys. The last time Canada played for bronze was in 1998, which was also the first time NHL players competed at the Olympics. It felt like bronze didn’t matter much to them, as they fell 3-2 to Finland in a shootout to finish fourth. Bronze mattered to this group. They beat Czech Republic 6-4 to give Canada its 29th, and final, medal of the Games. The Olympic Athletes from Russia beat Germany 4-3 in overtime to win gold.
It was a great honor to represent this great country at the Olympic Games! Thank you for your love and support!??? pic.twitter.com/VQCl4J3TW5
— Linden Vey (@lindvey19) February 24, 2018
THE EX-PRESS, February 26, 2018