Olympics Today: Canada continues to rack up the medals

Third placed silver medalist Alex Gough of Canada waves a Canadian flag after the Women's Luge Singles competition at the Olympic Sliding Centre during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games, South Korea, 13 February 2018. EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

During each day of the Games, Olympics Today will keep you up to date on the biggest news and happenings, on and off the field of play.

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While you were sleeping…

In only their 22nd game ever played together, Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris won Olympic mixed doubles curling gold with a dominant victory over Switzerland, 10-3.

With the teams tied in the third end, Lawes threw a picture-perfect stone to score four, breaking the game wide open and giving Canada a commanding lead it would never surrender.

Lawes and Morris were nearly perfect in PyeongChang, winning eight straight after a tough loss to Norway in their opening game as they outscored opponents 64-24. That’s an impressive feat considering the pair were matched up moments before the Olympic trials began last month, practicing together for only half an hour before playing their first game.

It was a particularly special moment for Lawes, who is the first Canadian curler to win gold in consecutive Olympics after finishing first at Sochi in 2014 as a member of Jennifer Jones’ rink. Of course, Morris also has a gold on his resume, from the 2010 games in Vancouver when he was Kevin Martin’s third.

That wasn’t the end of the hardware given out to Canadians overnight. Calgary’s Alex Gough put in stellar efforts during the third and fourth runs of the women’s single luge to claim a bronze medal.

It was a long time coming for Canada, which had never won an Olympic medal in luge before, and Gough, who is competing in her fourth Olympics. Fellow Canadian Kimberley McRae finished fifth, less than a second off the podium, while 18-year-old Calgarian Brooke Apshkrum came in 13th.

And the Canadian medals continue, although this probably isn’t how Kim Boutin imagined reaching the podium. First, she crossed the finish line during her 500m quarterfinal heat on her rear end — in second place, thankfully — after a late collision.

Then, in the semifinal, a referee determined another skater impeded Boutin and sent her through. And finally, in the final, after Boutin finished a heartbreaking fourth, a photo finish for first place revealed one of the skaters had impeded another. That skater was disqualified, which bumped Boutin up to third, giving her a bronze medal and prompting this joyous reaction.

Not exactly how you draw it up. But, in this case, it’s about the destination rather than the journey. And if you were uncertain how razor thin the margin for error is in short track speed skating, take a look at the following moment from Marianne St-Gelais’ quarter final in the 500m.

A right hand just touching the back of the Italian skater in front of her; a left elbow grazing under the torso and forearm of the Dutch skater behind her. That was all it took for St-Gelais — a medal favourite — to be disqualified, as the Dutch skater wiped out on the very first corner.

St-Gelais was certainly displeased with the decision, arguing that she was in better position and had rights to the space she was operating in. But Speed Skating Canada chose not to appeal, and St-Gelais’ podium hopes in the 500m were over.

That’s a rough pill to swallow. But St-Gelais has other events upcoming in PyeongChang, and now tries to put this bitter result behind her.

Meanwhile, on the short track men’s side, the Canadian men’s 5,000m relay team put in a strong shift and advanced to the final later this week. And Charles Hamelin, who has a chance to become Canada’s most decorated winter Olympian, set an Olympic record in the 1,000m as he advanced to the quarter-final. Hamelin’s teammate, Samuel Girard, also advanced.

And, finally, Canada’s women’s hockey team moved to 2-0 with a commanding 4-1 victory over Finland. Meghan Agosta and Melodie Daoust had a goal and an assist each, while Shannon Szabados stopped 22 of the 23 shots she faced.

The Finns were game, but the real test comes next as Canada meets the United States Wednesday at 10:10 pm ET. A win would lock up first place in Pool A for Canada.

Prominent Canadians in action on Day 5 (all times Eastern):

Men’s curling, Canada vs. Italy — Feb. 13, 7:05 p.m. ET
Canada vs. Great Britain — Feb. 14, 6:05 a.m. ET

Kevin Koe and, uh, Co. begin their quest to win men’s curling gold for Canada at a fourth-consecutive games Tuesday night when they take on the Italians before a quick turnaround to play Great Britain less than 12 hours later. Brad Gushue and friends began his country’s streak in 2006, Kevin Martin’s rink stood atop the podium in 2010, and Brad Jacobs’ team brought home gold in 2014, as Canada has absolutely dominated men’s curling for more than a decade. Koe is a two-time world champion (2010, 2016) and three-time Canadian champion, but has never led a team to the Olympics until now, which says a lot about the tremendous depth of curling talent in this country.

Figure skating, pairs short program — Feb. 13, 8:00 p.m. ET

Fresh off their stellar performance as part of Canada’s gold medal-winning effort in the team figure skating competition, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford will take the ice Tuesday evening for the pairs short program. Duhamel and Radford are favoured to challenge for the podium, but they won’t be the only Canadians skating at Gangneung Ice Arena, as Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, and Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau are also slated to compete.

Speed skating, women’s 1,000m — Feb. 14, 5:00 a.m. ET

Canadian fans will get their first glimpse at Heather McLean Wednesday, as the 25-year-old Winnipegger makes her Olympic debut in the 1,000m sprint. The four-time World Cup medallist is more known for her prowess in the 500m, but qualified for the 1,000m as well by finishing first in the event at the Olympic trials in Calgary last month. Joining McLean in the field is 27-year-old Kaylin Irvine, who finished 18th in this event at the 2014 games in Sochi.

Doubles luge — Feb. 14, 6:20 a.m. ET

If you find the act of hurling yourself down a 1.3-kilometre sheet of ice at 140km/h while laying supine on a fiberglass sled that you control solely with your calf muscles a little blasé, perhaps you’d like to attempt it with another human lying on top of you? Or maybe just watch those much braver than you compete in doubles luge, such as Canada’s Tristan Walker and Justin Snith, who will go for the podium Wednesday in this borderline insane sport. The Germans own this event, but Walker and Snith did pick up a bronze medal on the world cup circuit this season.

Sportsnet dispatches from Korea:

Kristina Rutherford has the goods on Canada’s women’s hockey victory, in which the Canadians solved Finland’s stellar goaltender, Noora Raty.

Before setting his Olympic record, Hamelin made time for Kristina, opening up about his decision to continue competing at 33.

Shi Davidi’s also on the ground in PyeongChang, and goes in depth on Mikael Kingsbury, who won Canada’s second medal of the games Sunday.

Shi also has a revealing Q&A with the figure skating duo Duhamel and Radford, who shook things up considerably as these Games approached.

Around the web…

The New York Times has a cool retrospective of a moment of national pride for Norway, asking, “Hvor var du da Oddvar Bra brakk staven?” or “Where were you when Oddvar Bra broke his pole?”

An American teenager is redefining women’s halfpipe — Sports Illustrated answers all your questions about 17-year-old gold-medalist Chloe Kim.

And over at Yahoo Sports, Jeff Passan goes in on the dubious decision-making that led to Monday’s women’s slopestyle competition being held despite exceedingly dangerous conditions.

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