Olympics Today: Canada’s podium assault just beginning

Canada's Mark McMorris and Max Parrot win the bronze and silver respectively to put Canada on the medal standings in Pyeongchng.

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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It was all North Americans on the podium in the men’s snowboarding slopestyle final in Pyeongchang.

In very windy conditions the men’s final came down to the third run for all three riders. American teenager Redmond Gerard took home gold, followed by Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris.

In his second run McMorris saved a front side triple followed by a backside triple cork for a score of 85.20 that put him in gold-medal position. However, 17-year-old Gerard answered with an 87.16 in his final run. McMorris tried to answer with a backside 1620 but fell in his final run.

Parrot qualified in first, just like he did in 2014 in Sochi when he finished fifth, but didn’t falter this time, stamping home a silver-medal run on his third and final attempt after falling in his first two.

The boarders brought home Canada’s first two medals of the Winter Games. With the bronze, McMorris is now the first Canadian man to win multiple Olympic snowboard medals. Additionally, these medals give Canada six Olympic medals in snowboarding in the last three Games.

This also ends a roller-coaster year for McMorris. Before heading to Pyeongchang, the 24-year-old suffered a bad crash while snowboarding in the Whistler backcountry. He broke his jaw, left arm, ruptured his spleen, his left lung collapsed and fractured his pelvis and ribs in the near-death accident. Yet on Nov. 25, 2017 he battled back to win the big air competition in Beijing in his first competition back.

Although he might be slightly disappointed with the bronze just the fact that he’s riding again and able to stand on the podium is an inspiring victory.

Prominent Canadians in action on Day 3:

Here is what’s on tap events-wise for Canadian athletes (all times Eastern):

• Curling: Feb. 11, 7:05 p.m.
Mixed doubles curling semifinals – Canada vs. Norway (7:05 p.m.)

Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes can secure a spot in the first mixed doubles curling final with a win in the semifinal. The first time they’ve played together was the trials in January and now they are two wins away from Olympic gold. The Canadians earned their spot in the semis with dominating wins over Switzerland and the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

• Snowboard: Feb. 11, 8:00 p.m.
Women’s slopestyle final (8:00 p.m.)

Qualification was cancelled for this event after strong cross winds and -13 C temperatures so all 27 competitors advance directly to the final. The Canadian womens’ team consists of veteran Spencer O’Brien, and first time Olympians Laurie Blouin and Brooke Voigt. A former slopestyle world champion, O’Brien finished a disappointing 12th after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis right before the Sochi Games. Blouin burst on the scene winning slopestyle gold at the 2017 world championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain.

• Figure Skating: Feb 11, 8:00 p.m.
Team Event – Men’s free skate (8:00 p.m.)
Team Event – Women’s free skate (9:10 p.m.)
Team Event – Ice dancing free (10:20 p.m.)

On the last day of the figure skating team event Canada is in pole position. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan wasn’t at his usual best in the short program Friday but is poised to bounce back. The Canadian team boasts a combined eight world championship titles and won the silver in the team event at the Sochi Olympics.

Sportsnet dispatches from Korea:

• Kristina Rutherford details why Canadian figure skating is in good shape in the team event.

• After reading that, check out this Q&A with Chan Donnovan Bennett did back in October.

The Interview with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will get you in the mood to watch Olympic figure skating. Rutherford will be covering the skate program throughout the games and she’s quite hilarious so give her a follow on Twitter for updates from Korea.

• Shi Davidi explained how Mark McMorris’ bold approach pays off with bronze in Pyeongchang.

• Davidi also filed this column on speed skater Charles Hamelin, who in his final Olympics is looking to pass on his experience to the next generation.

Proud to be Canadian

Safe to say Ted-Jan Bloemen is proud to be Canadian as he chose to represent Canada.

The speed skater out of Calgary won Canada’s third Olympic medal with a silver in the 5K. The world-record holder in the 5,000 and 10,000 moved to Canada in June of 2014, choosing to represent Canada after he was frustrated with the program in the Netherlands.

In his first Olympics at the age of 31, Bloemen grabbed a silver medal, narrowly separating himself from Sverre Lunde Pedersen of Norway by .002 seconds.

Bloemen’s rival, Sven Kramer of the Netherlands won the event for his third straight gold, setting an Olympic record of 6:09.76 in the process. The performance gives the Dutch four of the six available speed-skating medals after just two events.

Elsewhere on the web:

This profile shows the tenacity it toook Lindsey Vonn to come back from multiple injuries.

• ESPN W with some great reporting here on why these Olympic Games are so important for female athletes and spectators.

• CNN details how Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics.

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