THE BUZZER

Olympic viewing guide: Beefing Canadian snowboarders fight for gold tonight

Here's what to watch tonight and tomorrow morning, including Canada's Mark McMorris and Max Parrot renewing their spicy rivalry in the men's big air final.

McMorris, Parrot square off again in the men's big air final

Rival Canadian snowboarders Mark McMorris, right, and Max Parrot get another crack at each other in tonight's big air final. (Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images)

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports' daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what's happening at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games by subscribing here.

Another day, another bronze. For the third day in a row, Canada's medal output consisted of just a single third-place finish. This one was historic, at least: Christine de Bruin's bronze came in the first-ever Olympic monobob competition. Kaillie Humphries, a three-time bobsleigh medallist for Canada, won gold in her first Olympic event since switching to the U.S. team

Ten of Canada's 15 medals at these Games are bronze, and the country has been stuck on one gold for a week now. But that could change on Day 11 as Canada has some (literal) golden opportunities among its handful of medal chances. Also, the Canadian men's hockey team plays its first playoff game, and another Canada-U.S. showdown for women's hockey gold is officially booked. We'll cover all that in our daily viewing guide, then explain the controversial decision to allow Russian figure skating star Kamila Valieva to compete in the women's event after she failed a doping test.

Here's what to watch on Monday night and Tuesday morning:

It could be a big medal day for Canada

The country has a chance to match its highest single-day medal total of these Games, which is four, and multiple gold medals are even in play. Here are the key events, in chronological order:

Snowboarding: Women's and men's big air finals

Canada has three strong medal contenders spread across the two events. Up first is the women's final at 8:30 p.m. ET, with Laurie Blouin in the hunt for gold. The 25-year-old is the reigning world champion in big air, and she won an Olympic silver in slopestyle in 2018. 

Blouin's toughest opponent is Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, the 20-year-old of New Zealand who has already captured slopestyle gold in Beijing and was the runner-up to Blouin in the big air at last year's worlds. Sadowski-Synnott is favoured to win after posting the best score in qualifying. Blouin was fourth. Canada's Jasmine Baird also advanced to the final by placing 10th.

The so-called Maple Beef will be settled once and for all in the men's final at midnight ET. Canadian rivals Max Parrot and Mark McMorris are both back in the mix for gold after McMorris complained that he, not Parrot, deserved to win the slopestyle event because the judges missed a mistake by the gold medallist. McMorris later apologized, and Parrot says they're cool, but you just know that, deep down, these guys want to beat each other.

McMorris came out on top at last year's world championships, where he won the big air gold and Parrot took silver. But Parrot has gotten the better of him at the last two Olympics, winning a gold and a silver in slopestyle while McMorris took bronze both times. Parrot finished ninth in the 2018 Olympic debut of big air — one spot ahead of McMorris.

Parrot also had the upper hand in qualifying last night, placing first while McMorris was eighth. Canada's defending Olympic champion Seb Toutant, who's having a tough season, was eliminated after falling on his final two attempts. Darcy Sharpe made it three Canadians in the final by grabbing the 12th and final spot.

Speed skating: Women's team pursuit

Canada's Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais are into the final four and aiming for gold after taking silver at last year's world championships and then completing a perfect 2021-22 World Cup season that saw them win all three races. Weidemann has a great shot at adding her third medal of these Olympics after taking individual silver and bronze in the 5,000m and 3,000m.

But the Canadians drew a tough opponent for the semifinals at 1:30 a.m. ET. They'll go head-to-head vs. the reigning world champion Netherlands, featuring the great Ireen Wust, Irene Schouten and Antoinette de Jong. Wust just captured her sixth Olympic gold medal (in the 1,500), Schouten has already won the 3,000 and 5,000 in Beijing, and de Jong is a three-time Olympic medallist. In the team pursuit, you're only as strong as your weakest skater, and the Dutch do not have a weak link.

The medal races start at 3:22 a.m. ET, with the two semifinal losers squaring off for bronze before the two winners skate for gold.

WATCH | Canadian women find their way through to team pursuit semis:

Canadian women advance to team pursuit semis

8 months ago
Duration 4:07
Speed skaters Ivanie Blondin, Valerie Maltais and Isabelle Weidemann defeated Belarus in the quarter-finals at Beijing 2022.

Some other interesting stuff you should know about

Another Canada-U.S. showdown for women's hockey gold is booked. The Canadians advanced to the final by thrashing Switzerland 10-3 last night. The defending-champion Americans did their part by beating Finland 4-1 this morning. Now they'll face off for gold for the sixth time in the seven Olympic women's hockey tournaments. The must-see game goes Wednesday at 11:10 p.m. ET. Read about how Canada's defenders sparked the semifinal win over Switzerland here

Canada's men's hockey team plays its first playoff game tomorrow morning. The matchup vs. China at 8:10 a.m. ET shouldn't be much of a contest. Canada dominated their group-stage meeting 5-0, and China doesn't really belong in this tournament — it only got in because it's the host team. Assuming the Canadians take care of business, they'll face Sweden in the quarter-finals on Wednesday morning. Like Canada, the Swedes finished second in their group. They got a bye to the quarters, along with the three group winners, as the top second-place team.

Canada's curlers have turned things around. After losing three consecutive games to fall to 1-3, Jennifer Jones' women's team clawed back to .500 with wins over the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Great Britain last night and this morning. The top four teams make the playoffs, and Canada (3-3) sits in fifth place with some time to rest before Tuesday night's game vs. the fourth-place United States. On the men's side, Brad Gushue's rink has rebounded from two consecutive losses to win two in a row, including this morning's victory over Italy. Canada (4-2) faces China (2-4) tonight at 8:05 p.m. ET, then the ROC (3-3) at 7:05 a.m. ET.

China's Eileen Gu goes for her second of possibly three gold medals tonight. The American-born-and-raised freestyle skier cemented her celebrity status in her adopted country by winning the women's big air event last week. Now Gu goes for gold No. 2 in the women's slopestyle final at 8:30 p.m. ET. The 18-year-old is the reigning world champion in this event and in the halfpipe, which she's favoured to win later this week. The lone Canadian in the slopestyle final is 17-year-old Olivia Asselin, who placed 11th in qualifying.

And also…

Russian favourite Kamila Valieva was cleared to compete in the women's figure skating event — but she's not in the clear.

Even by figure skating standards, this is one hell of a controversy. Quick refresher: the 15-year-old Valieva was instrumental to the ROC's victory in the team event, where she became the first woman to land a quad in the Olympics. But the medal ceremony was delayed after a doping test taken by Valieva on Christmas Day in Russia came back positive for a banned heart medication. It's unclear why the results took so long, and whether Valieva, who is a minor, should be held responsible for the drug being in her body. But the upshot was that the Court of Arbitration for Sport had to decide whether Valieva would be allowed to compete in the upcoming women's event, which she's favoured to win. The court finally ruled last night to let her skate, so she'll be on the ice Tuesday for the women's short program starting at 5 a.m. ET.

However, it's important to understand that the court did not clear Valieva of violating anti-doping rules. It simply confirmed her eligibility for the women's event. A full investigation into the positive doping test will follow sometime after the Olympics. That will determine whether Valieva and her Russian teammates can keep their team-event gold, and whether Valieva can keep any medal she might win in the women's event. For this reason, the decision was made to not hold a medal ceremony for the team event, and same for the women's event if Valieva finishes in the top three.

Hold on, there's one more twist: the investigation into Valieva's apparent doping violation will be led by — you can't make this up — the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. Yes, the same Russian Anti-Doping Agency that was found to have helped doped Russian athletes evade detection as part of that massive, state-sponsored doping scheme uncovered a few years ago. The World Anti-Doping Agency will likely appeal RUSADA's ruling if it's favourable to Valieva, but c'mon. How is this the actual system?

In the meantime, Valieva is heavily favoured to lead a potential sweep of the women's medals by Russian teenagers, along with reigning world champion Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova. Canadian Madeline Schizas is not expected to approach the podium, but she performed well in the team event to help Canada place fourth. That could turn into a bronze medal if the Russian team ends up getting disqualified.

How to watch live events

They're being broadcast on TV on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. Or choose exactly what you want to watch by live streaming on CBC Gem, the CBC Sports app and CBC Sports' Beijing 2022 website. Check out the full streaming schedule (with links to live events) here and read more about how to watch the Games here.

If you're located outside Canada, you unfortunately won't be able to access CBC Sports' coverage of the Games on the app or the website. That's due to the way the Olympics' media rights deals work. But if you're in the northern United States or other international regions, such as Bermuda, that regularly offer the CBC TV network, you can watch the Games there.

Something else to check out

The 4% Rising newsletter: A study done a few years back found that only four per cent of traditional media coverage was devoted to women's sports. Hence the name of this newsletter focused on helping you find live women's sports on TV and online. Sample the latest edition here.

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