It’s world championships season for winter Olympic sports

It’s world championships season for winter Olympic sports

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It’s winter world championships season

Several winter Olympic sports are holding their world championships right now. Here’s what’s going on:

Speed skating

The worlds opened today at the same oval in the Netherlands where Canadians won 11 medals in the two meets that made up the pandemic-shortened World Cup season. Canada got off to a slow start — its best result today was a fifth by Isabelle Weidemann in the women’s 3,000 metres.

But tomorrow could be a huge day with strong Canadian medal contenders in three of the four events. Canada won both World Cup races in the women’s team pursuit and finished second and third in the two men’s team pursuits. Laurent Dubreuil reached the podium in three of the four men’s 500-metre races this season. Watch Friday’s races live from 9 a.m. to noon ET here.

Alpine skiing

Rough weather in northern Italy forced the start of the worlds to be delayed by three days. But they finally got going today and Canada’s Brodie Seger had the race of his life. The 25-year-old, who had never finished in the top 12 of a World Cup or world championship race, came just four hundredths of a second — shorter than a blink of an eye — from winning a medal. He finished fourth in the men’s super-G, which was won by Vincent Kriechmayr for the Austrian’s first world title.

The women’s super-G also went to a first-time world champ from Switzerland: Lara Gut-Behrami, who had previously won five medals at the worlds and another at the Olympics, but none of them gold. Defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin took bronze in her first speed race (super-G or downhill) in more than a year. Marie-Michele Gagnon was the top Canadian, finishing sixth.

The next events are the downhills. Watch the women’s Saturday at 5 a.m. ET and the men’s Sunday at 5 a.m. ET here.

Snowboard and ski cross

Canadian teenager Eliot Grondin won his first world-championship medal today by taking bronze in the men’s snowboard cross event. No Canadians advanced past the quarter-finals in the women’s competition.

The snowboard cross team event goes tomorrow. Watch it live at 6:30 a.m. ET here.

The ski cross world championships are Saturday. Canada’s Reece Howden has won three of the last four men’s World Cup races and leads the season standings. Marielle Thompson ranks second in the women’s chase and has reached the podium in five of the last six events. Watch the world championship races Saturday starting at 6:30 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app.

Bobsleigh and skeleton

They opened last week with the great German pilot Francesco Friedrich winning his seventh consecutive world title in the two-man event and Kaillie Humphries grabbing her record fourth women’s gold. Her first two (in 2012 and ’13) came while competing for Canada, but she’s won the last two women’s world titles for the U.S. after a bitter falling out with the Canadian program led to her departure.

The skeleton competitions opened today with the first two runs of the men’s and women’s events. The top Canadian was Jane Channell, who’s seventh heading into the final two legs tomorrow.

Canada will have a better shot at a medal in the four-man bobsleigh event, where pilot Justin Kripps’ sled ranks third in the World Cup standings. That race begins Saturday and finishes Sunday. Same for the women’s monobob — an event that’s being added to the Olympics next year. Watch all the bobsleigh and skeleton world championship races live here.

Sainte-Marie, Quebec’s Eliot Grondin captured a world championship bronze medal in snowboard cross Thursday in Idre Fjäll, Sweden. 4:59

Quickly…

The head of the Tokyo Olympics is reportedly stepping down. Organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori got himself in trouble last week when he complained that meetings with a lot of women in them “take so much time” and that “if their speaking time isn’t restricted to a certain extent, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying.” The 83-year-old later issued a ham-fisted apology, but calls for his resignation were still trending on Japanese Twitter today and female politicians wore white to a House of Representatives session to protest Mori’s sexist remarks. Also — and this is probably what really did Mori in — some big Olympic sponsors criticized him after being threatened with boycotts. According to several reports in Japan, Mori will resign tomorrow. Read more about the controversy here.

The Raptors are staying in Tampa for the rest of the season. They’d hoped to return to Toronto for the second half, but ongoing border restrictions and the general pandemic situation forced them to give up on that. Playing out of Tampa’s Amalie Arena, the Raptors started the season 2-8 but have improved since. At 12-13 they sit fifth in the Eastern Conference and can get to .500 with a win at Boston tonight. Maybe some of the “Champa Bay” vibes are rubbing off. Tampa is now home to the reigning Super Bowl and Stanley Cup champions and, by the looks of things, everyone there is living their best life.

Someone in Australia really dislikes Rafael Nadal. A woman was thrown out of his Australian Open match today for heckling Nadal and giving him the finger. It didn’t throw him off: the gentlemanly Spaniard seemed genuinely amused (“Maybe she took too much gin or tequila,” he said later) and cruised to a straight-sets win. Meanwhile, defending women’s champion Sofia Kenin found herself on the wrong side of a blowout, falling in just 64 minutes to 65th-ranked Kaia Kanepi. Tonight, Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime face each other in the men’s third round at 3 a.m. ET. The only other Canadian singles player remaining, Milos Raonic, plays at 1 a.m. ET. Watch video of Nadal’s strange encounter and read more about all the notable Day 4 action here.

And finally…

Remember The Rick Nash Goal? It happened in a Blue Jackets-Coyotes game in the dog days of the 2007-08 season, so there’s no real historical significance to it. But, for pure aesthetics, it’s tough to top Nash’s video-game-like moves to undress a pair of Coyotes defencemen before beating goalie Mikael Tellqvist. For a fresh perspective on one of the prettiest goals ever scored, check out the latest episode of Rob Pizzo’s terrific I was in net for… series. Tellqvist explains how the “sick” play unfolded from his point of view, and how he almost foiled it at the last second. Watch the video here:

In episode 12, Rob Pizzo speaks to goalie Mikael Tellqvist about the time the Blue Jackets star turned the Coyotes inside out. 5:55

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Published at Thu, 11 Feb 2021 22:01:28 +0000