Canada was quiet on Day 5 of competition at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, with athletes kept from the podium after winning a flurry of medals over the past three days.
But there was plenty of noise on social media, with Canadian short-track speedskater Kim Boutin the subject of angry, sometimes threatening tweets after her controversial bronze-medal performance in the women’s 500-metre race.
Boutin set her social media accounts to private Wednesday after hundreds of angry messages were directed at her by irate South Koreans. Boutin finished fourth in the race, but was promoted to third when South Korea’s Minjeong Choi was disqualified for interfering with the Canadian. Angry fans tweeted animated gifs or still images from the race, claiming that Boutin had pushed Choi.
"Congratulations on a dirty medal," one message said.
"You had been teaching Kim Boutin how to cheat, Canada!!" said another on Twitter.
Boutin, from Sherbrooke, Que., closed her social media accounts and the RCMP, IOC and Speed Skating Canada began investigations.
"The health, safety and security of all our team members is our top priority and as such we are working closely with Speed Skating Canada, our security personnel and the RCMP," said a statement from the Canadian Olympic Committee. "We will not make further comment on this issue, so that Kim can focus on her upcoming events."
The subject was also raised later in the day at the International Olympic Committee’s media briefing.
"Clearly what we want is for great performances to be applauded and that’s what the Olympic Games is about," said IOC spokesperson Mark Adams. "We’re not in control, nor should we be, of social media and unfortunately these incidents do come up from time to time. It’s regrettable.
"I haven’t seen the comments but I can imagine. We’ve had it, as I say, in previous Games. All we can do is say let’s concentrate on what was a great performance and congratulations by the way to Canada for the bronze medal. I was there last night and it was pretty amazing."
Through five days of competition, Canada sat fourth in the overall medal standings with 10 (three gold, four silver, three bronze). Germany led all countries with 12 overall and seven gold medals.
The Netherlands and Norway each had 11 medals.
Canadian athletes weren’t figured to contend in Wednesday’s medal events with the exception of doubles luge. Tristan Walker of Cochrane, Alta., and Justin Snith of Calgary finished fourth in the event four years ago.
The Canadians were fourth again through Wednesday’s first run, but slipped to fifth after a slower second run dashed their medal hopes.
Walker and Snith finished in a combined time of one minute 32.369 seconds.
Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt defended their Olympic gold from 2014 with a time of 1:31.697. Austria’s Peter Penz and Georg Fischler took silver in 1:31.785, while Germans Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken finished with bronze in 1:31.987.
Canada did put themselves in position for another figure skating medal, with Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford standing third after the pairs short program.
The two-time world champions, who will retire after the Olympics, scored 76.82 points for their skate to April Meservy’s cover of U2’s hit song "With or Without You."
China’s reigning world champions, Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, scored 82.39 points for the flawless skate to Canadian k.d. lang’s version of "Hallelujah."
Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, representing Olympic Athletes from Russia, were the last team to go, bumping Duhamel and Radford to third with an 81.68-point performance.
Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot were fourth with 76.59 points.
Canada’s other pairs duos also qualified for the free skate. Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau were 12th with 67.52 points. Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro were 13th with 65.68.
The men’s curling tournament began Wednesday with Calgary’s Kevin Koe leading Canada to a pair of close wins — 5-3 win over Italy and 6-4 over Great Britain. Koe had a razor-thin one-point lead heading into the 10th end of both matches.
Canada scored a deuce in the eighth end to break a 2-2 tie against Italy but the Italians came right back with a double takeout to earn a single in the ninth. Holding hammer in the 10th, Koe earned an easy point with his final stone for the game’s decisive score.
Koe’s squad opened its match against Great Britain impressively, storming out to a 4-1 lead through three ends.
Smith’s rink countered with singles in the fifth and sixth ends before the Canadians scored one in the seventh.
Koe forced Smith to take one — and relinquish last rock– in the eighth before clinching the win when Smith’s last shot in the final end rolled out of the rings, giving Canada one for the 6-4 decision.
The top four teams in the 10-country round robin advance to the semifinals.