Olympic viewing guide: Why Chris Chelios' son is playing for China
Make that Jieke Kailiaosi, at least for the Olympics
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Steven Dubois surprised us again. After winning an improbable silver in the men's 1,500 metres on Wednesday, the Canadian short track speed skater added an unexpected bronze in the 500m this morning. Both times, Dubois appeared to be eliminated in the semifinals before being awarded a spot in the final due to a foul by another skater. Talk about, a la one of the performers in tonight's Super Bowl halftime show, seizing your opportunities.
Still, Canada is lagging a bit. After piling up 12 medals over the first six days of full competition, the country has added just two (both bronze) in the past three days and is still stuck on one gold.
Two of Canada's better gold-medal contenders are getting into crunch time as the women's and men's hockey events ramp up. We'll start today's viewing guide there, and talk about the strange Chinese men's hockey team that Canada is about to meet again in the men's playoffs. Plus, two Canadian medal chances coming up on Day 10 and why the Super Bowl is happening during the Olympics.
Here's what to watch on Sunday night and Monday morning:
Hockey starts to get interesting now
After a bunch of de facto warmup games for the Canadian women's and men's teams, the heat is turning up. Here's what's happening in both tournaments:
Canada can do its part to set up another gold-medal showdown with the archrival United States by beating Switzerland in their semifinal tonight at 11:10 p.m. ET. That shouldn't be a problem. Appropriately for Super Bowl Sunday, Canada is listed as a football-like 7.5-point (goal) favourite over the Swiss, who they pounded 12-1 in the group stage. Canadian rising star Sarah Fillier scored two of her tournament co-leading eight goals in that game. Read more about the 21-year-old "generational talent" here.
The defending-champion Americans have a slightly tougher task. Their semifinal opponent is Finland, which held the U.S. to a 5-2 win in the group stage despite getting outshot 52-12. Though there's a massive gap between them and the two superpowers, Finland is the third-best team in the world and they beat Canada in the semifinals of the 2019 world championship. Another shocker like that is not out of the realm of possibility when they face the U.S. at 8:10 a.m. ET.
Canada failed to secure a bye to the quarter-finals, but it did the next best thing. By earning the top seed for what's called the "qualification" playoff round, Canada gets to play the worst team in the tournament, which is China. Their game on Tuesday at 8:10 a.m. ET will be a rematch of today's group-stage finale, which the Canadians dominated 5-0 to finish the round with two wins in three games.
The United States won the group with a perfect record, including a 4-2 victory over Canada, giving them a bye to the quarter-finals along with fellow group winners the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Finland. Sweden got the other direct ticket to the quarters as the top second-place team, edging Canada for the wild card because its lone loss came in overtime.
Though the free pass to the quarter-finals would have been nice, this matchup with China is nearly the same thing. Frankly, the Chinese team does not really belong in the tournament. They only got in because they're the host team. Hockey's world governing body toyed with the idea of yanking them before China was able to convince everyone that it had pieced together a semi-competitive squad by integrating players from other countries, including Canada.
This took some creativity. The Olympic Charter states that athletes must be a "national" of the country they're representing, and it's fairly common for a country to import an athlete by giving them dual citizenship. But China doesn't recognize dual citizenship. So, as the Wall Street Journal's Laine Higgins explains, it appears China benefitted from a clause in the charter allowing the IOC to grant exceptions to its nationality rules.
That's just the half of it, though. As noted in that Wall Street Journal story, hockey's world governing body requires an athlete who changes nationalities to participate for at least two seasons in the "national competitions" of his new country before being allowed to play for that country. China does not have its own pro hockey league. But it does have a team in the KHL, the Russia-based league that's arguably the best in the world outside the NHL. So China's clever idea was to, starting in 2019, recruit North Americans to play for Kunlun Red Star, with the understanding that they could suit up for China at the Beijing Olympics.
Some of these guys, like former NHLer Brandon Yip, are of Chinese heritage. Others are not. That's how you get someone like Jake Chelios, the American son of NHL great Chris Chelios, playing for China — even though his dad describes the family as "Greek on my side and Scottish, German, and Irish on my wife's side." Also, don't bother looking for Jake Chelios on the official roster of athletes. For these Olympics, he's going by Jieke Kailiaosi.
WATCH | Highlights: Canada cruises past China in men's hockey:
Canadian medal chances tonight and tomorrow morning
One Canadian woman — technically, two — is in a medal position in a new Olympic event. Another has a shot to reach her second podium of the Games. In chronological order:
Christine de Bruin in women's monobob
She's in second place after the first two runs of the inaugural Olympic competition for solo bobsleigh. De Bruin came in as a strong medal contender after finishing fourth in the season-long World Cup chase and winning a pair of races. Canada's Cynthia Appiah, who was third in the World Cup standings, appears out of the running for a medal in 10th.
It'll be tough for anyone to catch reigning world champion Kaillie Humphries of the United States, who built up a big lead in the first two runs. Humphries won a pair of Olympic gold and a bronze in the two-woman event before an ugly split with the Canadian program. Now she'll try to nail down her first Olympic medal as an American when the final two runs go at 8:30 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET.
Marion Thenault in women's aerials
The 21-year-old will try to add an individual medal to the bronze she won in the mixed team event earlier this week. Thenault placed sixth at last year's world championships and is listed as the No. 5 favourite in the betting odds for what looks like a wide-open event.
Qualifying starts at 2 a.m. ET, and the final rounds go at 6 a.m. ET and 7 a.m. ET.
WATCH | Competing for U.S., Humphries opens up big lead in 1st Olympic monobob event:
Some other interesting stuff you should know about
Jennifer Jones needs to turn it around. The Canadian skip's team fell to 1-3 with last night's loss to reigning world champion Switzerland. Only the top four teams make the playoffs, and Canada sits eighth with five games left in the round robin. The schedule has been brutal so far for the Canadians, who have also faced all three medallists from the 2018 Olympics. But they have a chance to get right tonight at 8:05 p.m. ET vs. the 0-4 Russian team. Then it's right back in the frying pan Monday at 7:05 a.m. ET vs. Great Britain (3-2), skipped by former world champ and Olympic medallist Eve Muirhead. Canada is in better shape in the men's event after beating the U.S. last night to improve to 3-2. Brad Gushue's team is tied for fourth as they prepare to face Italy (0-4) at 1:05 a.m. ET. Read more about the pressure on Canada's curlers here.
The ice dance event will be decided tonight. Four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who finished second to Canadian greats Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in 2018, are in position to win their first Olympic gold after earning a world-record score in the opening segment. With Virtue and Moir up in the broadcast booth now, it'll be tough for any of the three Canadian duos to rise into a podium spot. 2021 world championship bronze medallists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are the closest, sitting in sixth place. The free dance starts at 8:15 p.m. ET, with the top skaters going at the end of the 20 duos.
Mark McMorris and Max Parrot can settle it on the snow now. McMorris apologized for saying that he, not Parrot, deserved gold in the men's snowboard slopestyle event after the judges missed a clear mistake by the winner. Parrot said it's water under the bridge. But if there's any lingering resentment between the Canadians, they can use it as fuel for the men's big air, which starts with qualifying tonight at 12:30 a.m. ET. McMorris and Parrot won gold and silver, respectively, in this event at last year's world championships, and fellow Canadian Seb Toutant is the defending Olympic champ. Canada also has a strong contender in the women's big air competition, which begins at 8:30 p.m. ET. Laurie Blouin is the reigning world champion.
Yes, it's weird that the Super Bowl is happening during the Olympics. In fact, it's never happened before. Going head-to-head with pro sports' biggest spectacle is generally not something you want to do, which is why the Winter Olympics usually began a few days after the big NFL title game/advertising delivery system. But NBC, which holds the U.S. TV rights for both events this year, was fine with the new arrangement. In fact, it swapped places in the Super Bowl rotation with rival CBS in order to have both at the same time — presumably to sell them as a package deal to advertisers and cross-promote them to viewers. The NFL subsequently added a week to its regular season, pushing the Super Bowl back by a week. But, even at the time NBC made the trade, the Super Bowl was scheduled to happen during the first weekend of the Olympics. Seeing as how NBC accounts for a reported half of the IOC's broadcast revenue, it presumably could have asked for the Olympics to be scheduled differently. But here we are. Is picture-in-picture still a thing?
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.