Olympic viewing guide: Weidemann skates for another medal

Here's what to watch on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, including Isabelle Weidemann going for her second speed skating podium and a good chance for another Canadian medal in snowboard cross.

Canadian speed skater goes for her second long-distance podium

Canadian speed skater Isabelle Weidemann is a strong contender to win her second medal of the Games on Thursday. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

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Surprise, surprise. Canada won a pair of unexpected medals today.

Meryeta O'Dine took bronze in the women's snowboard cross in her first Olympic competition. She made the 2018 team but was knocked out by a concussion just days before the Games, then endured her brother's death from a brain tumour in 2020. This morning, short track speed skater Steven Dubois came back from apparent elimination to grab silver in the men's 1,500 metres. Dubois finished last in his semifinal but was awarded a spot in the unusually large 10-man final due to a foul by another skater. 

Through five days of full competition in Beijing, the Canadian team has won eight medals — a gold, two silver and five bronze.

Canada has two very good chances to add to its total on Day 6. Three, if you count the possibility of an upgrade in the team figure skating event, where a mysterious "legal" issue has cast doubt on the medals. More on that below.

Here's what to watch on Wednesday night and Thursday morning:

Canada has strong medal chances in snowboarding and speed skating

In chronological order:

Men's snowboard cross

Twenty-year-old Éliot Grondin is among the world's best in this event. He took bronze at the world championships last season, won gold at the world junior championships, and was the runner-up in the World Cup chase. He's currently ranked fourth in the World Cup standings. Strange as it sounds for someone so young, this is already Grodin's second Olympics. He finished 36th as a 16-year-old in 2018.

As we saw with Meryeta O'Dine's surprising bronze in the women's event today, snowboard cross is very tough to predict. The men's event has no clear favourite. In the betting markets, Grondin is part of a cluster of five riders whose odds of winning are a cut above the rest of the field. The other Canadians competing are Liam Moffatt and Kevin Hill.

The seeding runs start at 10:15 p.m. ET, but the competition doesn't really get started until the elimination rounds begin with the 1/8 finals at 1 a.m. ET. The final goes a bit after 2:15 a.m. ET, immediately following the "small final."

Speed skating: Women's 5,000m at 7 a.m. ET

Isabelle Weidemann has an excellent chance to win her second medal of the Games after taking bronze in the 3,000m on Saturday. The winner of that event, Irene Schouten of the Netherlands, is the clear favourite to take the 5,000 too. But Weidemann is neck-and-neck with Czech Martina Sablíkova for No. 2 in the betting odds.

Weidemann is No. 1 in the World Cup women's long distances standings, which include 5,000m and 3,000m races. But Schouten would likely be ahead of her if the Dutchwoman hadn't skipped the last event. The reigning 5,000m world champion has won all three of her long-distance races this season, including the lone 5,000m that was held. Weidemann placed second in that one.

WATCH | Beijing Olympics Profile: Éliot Grondin:

Beijing Olympics Profile: Eliot Grondin

5 months ago
Duration 2:04
Eliot Grondin from Sainte-Marie, Que., was just 16 years old when he made his Olympic debut at Pyeongchang 2018.

Canada's men's hockey team hits the ice Thursday morning

The decision by the NHL and its players to back out over COVID-19 concerns sapped the Canadian squad — and the tournament as a whole — of nearly all its star power. But you might still recognize a couple of names on Canada's team, which is made up largely of guys who play for European clubs.

Captain Eric Staal is the most experienced and accomplished of the 17 Canadian players who have appeared in the NHL. The 37-year-old has 441 NHL regular-season goals, and he won the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, when he led the playoffs in scoring. Staal had been without a team since helping Montreal reach the Cup final last year. Now he's hoping to capture a second Olympic gold medal after being part of the team of NHL stars that won in Vancouver in 2010.

Owen Power is the most interesting player on the Canadian team. The 19-year-old, 6-foot-6 defenceman was picked first overall in last year's NHL draft by Buffalo, but opted to return to the University of Michigan for another season. At the world juniors in December, before the event was aborted, he became the first Canadian defenceman in the history of the tournament to score a hat trick. Power also handled himself well against grown men at last year's world championship, helping Canada win gold.

Other names on the roster that might ring a bell include forwards Daniel Winnik, David Desharnais, Adam Cracknell and Josh Ho-Sang; and defencemen Jason Demers and Maxim Noreau. The latter was Canada's scoring co-leader at the 2018 Olympics, where Canada won bronze.

The Canadians open Thursday at 8:10 a.m. ET vs. Germany, the surprising silver medallist in 2018 after taking Russia to overtime in the final. Canada's other group-stage contests are Friday at 11:10 p.m. ET vs. the United States and Sunday at 8:10 a.m. ET vs. China.

No one is eliminated after the group stage, but these games are still important because the top team in each of the three groups, plus the best second-place team, advance directly to the quarter-finals. Read more about the Canadian team's blend of youth and experience here.

WATCH | Getting to know Canada's Olympic men's ice hockey team:

Getting to know Canada's Men's Olympic hockey team

5 months ago
Duration 3:19
Rob Pizzo breaks down the roster that will wear the maple leaf in Beijing.

Jennifer Jones begins her quest for a second Olympic curling gold

Like Brad Gushue, who won his opener in the men's event today, Jones is trying to reverse Canada's recent struggles in a sport it once dominated. When the mixed doubles duo of John Morris and Rachel Homan missed the playoffs earlier this week, it left Canada without a reigning Olympic medallist in any of the three curling events. In 2018, Homan's women's team missed the playoffs while Kevin Koe's men's rink lost in the semifinals and the bronze-medal game.

Canada is in good hands with Jones. She's curling royalty — the winner of a record-tying six Scotties, plus two world titles and Olympic gold in 2014. Her third, Kaitlyn Lawes, was also part of that 2014 team and won mixed doubles gold with Morris in 2018. The only concern with Jones is that, at 47, she could be past her prime. Some Canadian fans would have preferred to see Kerri Einarson, who just won her third straight Scotties title, win the Olympic trials. But, as she's done so many times, Jones came through when the chips were down, beating the undefeated favourite in an extra end in the final.

Jones may have to summon more magic like that in this deep Olympic tournament, which features several skips capable of winning gold. They include Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni, winner of the last two world titles; former world champ and 2014 Olympic bronze winner Eve Muirhead of Great Britain; and all three medallists from 2018: defending champ Anna Hasselborg of Sweden, South Korea's Kim Eun-jung and Japan's Satsuki Fujisawa.

Canada's first game is at 7:05 a.m. ET vs. South Korea. Read a full preview of the women's event here. For the latest chatter around the women's and men's tournaments, watch That Curling Show with hosts Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones tonight at 7 p.m. ET on the CBC Sports YouTube channel.

Some other interesting stuff you should know about

Something strange is going on in figure skating. After last night's medal ceremony for the figure skating team event was abruptly postponed, with no reason given, a spokesman for the sport's world governing body told reporters the delay was due to "legal implications." The Russian Olympic Committee team won gold in the team event, the United States silver and Japan bronze. Canada finished fourth. If a medallist were to be disqualified, it could result in the Canadian team being upgraded to bronze. At our publish time, there was still no official word on the status of the medals. As this situation plays out, the men's event is set to conclude tonight with the free skate. Three-time world champion Nathan Chen of the U.S. has the lead as he looks to nail down his first Olympic title. Canada's Keegan Messing is in ninth place. The 24-skater program begins at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Two young Canadians will take on Chloe Kim in the women's snowboard halfpipe final. Four years after she broke out by winning gold as a 17-year-old in Pyeongchang, the American superstar will try to add another Olympic title to the pair of world championships she captured in between. Canada's Elizabeth Hosking and Brooke D'Hondt are long shots for the podium, but they're an interesting pair. D'Hondt, 16, is the youngest Canadian athlete at these Games. In 2018, that honour belonged to Hosking, who was also 16 when she placed 19th. Tonight's final starts at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Jack Crawford takes another crack at an alpine podium. The 24-year-old Canadian is still searching for his first medal in a top-level international event, but boy has he come close. Crawford missed a bronze in the Olympic men's downhill a few days ago by an agonizing one spot  — and just 0.07 of a second — and also placed fourth in the combined event at the world championships last year in Italy. In the Olympic men's super-G this week, he was sixth. Crawford will take another shot tonight in the men's combined, which also features Canadians Brodie Seger (fourth in the super-G at last year's worlds), Trevor Philp (eighth in the Olympic super-G this week) and Broderick Thompson. The event consists of a downhill leg, which starts at 9:30 p.m. ET, and a slalom leg, which goes at 1:15 a.m. ET.

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.

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