Canadian athletes serve notice with big weekend

Canada owned the podium over the past four days in venues from B.C. to Bulgaria, France and Norway, raising expectations for next year's Winter Olympics.
John Kucera was golden on the slopes at Val D'Isere, France on Saturday. ((Alessandro Trovati/Associated Press))

Canada owned the podium over the past four days in venues from B.C. to Bulgaria, France and Norway, raising expectations for next year's Winter Olympics.

By the time the weekend finished, Canadians had collected 28 medals, more than half of them gold.

Can we fast forward a year?

The Own the Podium initiative developed by the Canadian Olympic Committee and its partners has targeted the No. 1 overall medal position for Canada at the Vancouver Games.

While it's true that not every competition over the weekend featured all of the international elite, it's also true that the notion of Canada in the top spot doesn't seem so far-fetched.

At the very least, Canadians can confidently expect the upward trajectory of the country's medal haul over the past 20 years to continue in Vancouver-Whistler. Canada won seven gold and 24 medals overall at the 2006 Torino Olympics.

Canada's athletes excelled at both world championship and World Cup events over the last few days. Calgary's John Kucera provided the biggest surprise, the first-ever world championship downhill gold medal by a Canadian male, in Val D'Isère, France.

Closer to home, international competitions at planned Olympic venues led to encouraging results for Canadian athletes.

Here's a recap of Canada's big winners since Thursday:


  • Alexandre Bilodeau, Rosemere, Que., moguls
  • Patrick Chan, Toronto, figure skating
  • Aleisha Cline, Squamish, B.C., ski cross
  • Chris Del Bosco, Sudbury, Ont., ski cross
  • Jessica Gregg, Edmonton, short track speedskating, 500 metres
  • Kristina Groves, Ottawa, speedskating, 1,500 m
  • Jennifer Heil, Spruce Grove, Alta., moguls
  • John Kucera, Calgary, downhill skiing
  • Jon Montgomery, Russell, Man., skeleton
  • Denny Morrison, Fort St. John, B.C., speedskating, 500 m
  • Christine Nesbitt, London, Ont., speedskating, 500 m
  • Steve Omischl, Kelowna, B.C., aerials
  • Francois-Louis Tremblay, Montreal, short track, 500 m
  • Men's short-track relay team
  • Women's short-track relay team


  • Jessica Dube, Drummondville, Que., and Bryce Davison, Cambridge, Ont., pairs figure skating
  • Stanley Hayer, Edmonton, ski cross
  • Kaillie Humphries, Calgary, and Heather Moyse, Summerside, P.E.I., bobsleigh
  • Ashleigh McIvor, Whistler, B.C., ski cross
  • Christine Nesbitt, speedskating, 1,500 m
  • Joannie Rochette, Ile-Dupas, Que., figure skating
  • Tessa Virtue, London, Ont., and Scott Moir, Ilderton, Ont., ice dance


  • Davey Barr, Vancouver, ski cross
  • Charles Hamelin, Ste-Julie, Que., short track, 1,500 m
  • Pierre Lueders, Edmonton, and David Bissett, Lethbridge, Alta., bobsleigh
  • Jeff Pain, Calgary, skeleton
  • Katrina Roberge, St-Étienne-de-Lauzon, Que., short track, 1,000 m
  • François-Louis Tremblay, short track, 1,000 m