What to watch for in the final week of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games

With one week remaining at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, plenty remains unsettled. 

Canada looks to add to gold-medal total; Snowboarding showdown in big air

Marie-Philip Poulin and the women's hockey team are one of Canada's best remaining hopes for a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With one week remaining at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, plenty remains unsettled. 

Canada has 14 medals as of Sunday — but only one gold, courtesy of snowboarder Max Parrot in the men's slopestyle event.

By contrast, Canadians won 11 gold medals at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang.

It seems doubtful that total will be matched in China, but a strong close to these Games could still leave things close.

Here's everything you should watch for in the final seven days of competition:

Golden opportunities in team sports

There are four obvious candidates for Canadian gold medals, each of whom fell short four years ago. That would be both hockey teams, and both curling teams.

Right now, the women's hockey team seems like the best bet of the group. Led by veterans Natalie Spooner and Marie-Philip Poulin, along with younger players in Sarah Fillier and goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens, Canada has rolled through the Olympic tournament to the tune of a 44-5 scoring margin.

Included in that is a 4-2 win over rival U.S. The Americans controlled play in that game, way outshooting Canada, but Desbiens stood tall in net. The two are likely to meet again in the gold-medal game, where Canada will hope to lean less on its goalie and more on its offensive firepower.

WATCH | Canada scores 11 in quarter-final win over Sweden:

Watch all of Canada's 11 goals in blowout win over Sweden

10 months ago
Duration 3:33
Brianne Jenner and Sarah Fillier both collected hat-tricks in the Canadian women's 11-0 quarter-final win.

The men's team lost to the U.S. by the same score, but took care of business in games against Germany and China. Canada ended group play as the fifth seed and will need to play their way past China again in the qualifying round. The Russians remain favoured, but you can never count out Canada in a hockey tournament – especially if its goaltending improves.

Meanwhile, both Jennifer Jones and Brad Gushue endured shaky starts in their attempts to put Canada back on the curling podium. 

But while Gushue sits 3-2 after taking care of the reigning champion Americans, Jones is 1-3 and facing an uphill battle just to make the semifinals. She likely needs to win out in her round robin to turn that possibility into reality, though her toughest matches are now behind her.

Some adversity early, but both Jones and Gushue have won Olympic gold medals before and can beat any team when at their best.

A bronze on ice could be won in court

Canada placed fourth in the team figure skating event, thanks in part to a pair of career-best performances by teenager Madeline Schizas.

The event ended way back on Feb. 7. Nearly a week later, no medals have been awarded after it was revealed that Russian skater Kamila Valieva, 15, tested positive for a banned substance in the lead-up to these Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to come to a decision on Monday about Valieva.

However, the medal standings are a separate issue which has yet to be determined. If the Russians are indeed stripped of gold, Canada would be upgraded to bronze.

Schizas, 18, may represent Canada's best hope for an additional figure skating podium appearance after ice-dance duo Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier struggled slightly in their rhythm dance.

WATCH | Schizas boosts Canada to 4th with personal best in free program:

Madeline Schizas impresses as Canada earns 4th place overall in figure skating team event

10 months ago
Duration 7:25
Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., finished in third place in the women's free program portion of the Olympic figure skating team event, as Team Canada finished fourth overall.

Snowboarding showdown

Parrot's gold medal didn't come without controversy.

The cancer survivor won by just over two points ahead of silver medallist Su Yiming of China and fellow Canadian Mark McMorris, who took bronze.

The snowboarding community noticed soon after that Parrot missed a grab on his medal-winning run, but wasn't scored down for it by the judges. The head judge later admitted the mistake and said Parrot's score would have been "different" had they seen it.

McMorris then told CBC Sports that he had "the run of the day," and perhaps should have won gold over Parrot. Parrot pushed back, saying his run was worthy of an Olympic title even with the missed grab.

McMorris later apologized to Parrot for questioning his victory.

All three medallists will square off again in the big air competition, with qualifiers on Monday and the final on Tuesday.

Canada's Sébastien Toutant is the reigning Olympic champion in an event which now carries some extra juice.

WATCH | McMorris' and Parrot's runs, side by side:

Did the wrong Canadian win gold? A closer look at Parrot, McMorris slopestyle runs

10 months ago
Duration 2:07
A side-by-side view of the two Canadians in the men's snowboard slopestyle event, where Max Parrot won gold, and Mark McMorris won bronze.

Sliding intrigue

Canada entered Beijing with two strong medal hopes in the debuting event of monobob.

Only one seriously remains, as Christine de Bruin sits second through two of four heats while Cynthia Appiah is 10th.

To win gold, de Bruin will have to make up more than a second on current leader Kaillie Humphries, who represented Canada at three Olympics but now slides for the U.S.

WATCH | Humphries takes early monobob lead:

Competing for the U.S., Kaillie Humphries opens up big lead in 1st Olympic monobob event

10 months ago
Duration 4:55
Competing for the first time in the Olympics as an American citizen, double-Olympic women's bobsleigh champion and reigning monobob world champion Kaillie Humphries has a 1.04 second lead over Canada's Christine de Bruin, after two of four runs in the inaugural Olympic monobob competition.

Both de Bruin and Appiah will have another shot at the podium in the two-woman event which starts on Feb. 18, where they'll battle Humphries once again.

Meanwhile, Canada's Justin Kripps faces a tall task to defend the Olympic gold medal he shared with Germany's Francesco Friedrich four years ago.

Kripps is ranked second behind Friedrich in both the two-man and four-man, but the German is as dominant as any athlete in the world, having won seven of eight races across both events on the World Cup tour this season and claiming victories in each of the last four world championships.

Still, plenty of chances to reach the bobsleigh podium remain for Canada.

Speed skating redemption

Things haven't gone all that smoothly for Canada at the Ice Ribbon in Beijing.

Isabelle Weidemann delivered a pair of medals, in the 3,000 metres and 5,000m. But Ted-Jan Bloemen, a double medallist in Pyeongchang, barely reached the top 10 in either of his podium defences and Laurent Dubreuil, who placed top three in all eight 500m races on this season's World Cup tour, finished fourth.

WATCH | Weidemann skates to 5,000m silver:

Canadian Isabelle Weidemann claims speed skating silver in 5,000m

10 months ago
Duration 8:26
Weidemann added to her bronze in the 3,000m after posting a time of 6:48.18 in the 5,000m.

They'll all be back on the Olympic ice in China.

Weidemann is part of a team pursuit squad favoured to win gold on Feb. 15. She, along with Ivanie Blondin – in search of her first Olympic medal — and Valerie Maltais, is already into the semifinals.

Dubreuil will skate in the 1,000m on Friday.

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