February 12, 2014 9:12 pm
Updated: February 12, 2014 9:25 pm

Beyond the Podium: What you need to know about Sochi today

WATCH: A silver medal for Canada – and two remarkable displays of Olympic and Canadian spirit. Allison Vuchnich reports

Wednesday

Wednesday saw some Canadian triumphs, some close calls and some disappointing results.

Only one Canadian was able to capture a medal on the fifth official day of competition.

Denny Morrison landed on the podium with a great performance in the men’s long track speed skating 1000-metre event in an especially inspiring Olympic story.

Morrison was extremely disappointed when he fell during the 1000-metre Olympic qualifying event. So were his teammates: The 1000-metre is Morrison’s best distance and he was Canada’s best hope for an individual men’s long track speed skating medal.

Teammate Gilmore Junio did qualify for the race and announced Wednesday he would give up his spot so Morrison could compete. Morrison accepted the offer and his silver medal made Junio’s sacrifice worth it.

Other Canadians in the 1000-metre were Vincent De Haitre, William Dutton and Muncef Ouardi. They finished 20th, 26th and 32nd, respectively.

Canada’s Meghan Agosta-Marciano (L) scores a goal past US goalkeeper Jessie Vetter during the Women’s Ice Hockey Group A match between Canada and USA at the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 12, 2014 at the Shayba Arena.

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images

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Other Canadian highlights

Canada’s women’s hockey team was victorious in the battle for supremacy with the United States. After going into the third period down 1-0 Canada came out flying, drawing a penalty early in the second and capitalizing, tying the game. They added another goal a couple minutes later to make it 2-1.

Meghan Agosta-Marciano scored her second goal of the game on a breakaway later in the period and Canada was able to survive a late U.S. surge to hold on 3-2 in what was likely a preview of the gold-medal game.

Both the Canadian men’s and women’s curling teams were victorious on Wednesday.

The women improved to 3-0 on the tournament with a 9-6 win over a strong team from Great Britain, while the men got back on track after two losses to Switzerland and Sweden with a 7-4 win over Russia. They now have two wins and two losses in the round robin so far.

Canada came extremely close to its second medal of the day in the doubles luge event.

The team of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith finished in fourth place, a mere 0.05 seconds off a podium finish, which would’ve made them the first Canadians to ever reach the Olympic podium in luge.

The pairs’ free skate program event had three Canadian teams participating. The event saw some successes as well as disappointments for the Canadians.

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch were the top Canadians with a fifth-place finish – higher than expected for the duo.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford had a couple of slips in their program and as a result the projected medal contenders were bumped down to seventh place in a disappointing Olympic debut.

Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers came out in 14th after the free skate. All three pairs are very young.

In a personal victory, Larisa Yurkiw, Canada’s only competitor in Wednesday’s women’s downhill event, finished 20th.

That may not seem like a great result but just five years ago, during a 2009 training run, Yurkiw tore her ACL, MCL, patellar tendon as well as the lateral and medial meniscus in her left knee. She had three surgeries and took two years to recover before she was back competing. To be able to come back from such a traumatic injury and compete against the world’s best is itself an accomplishment.

Disappointments 

The women’s snowboarding halfpipe event was the only big disappointment for Canada’s athletes on Wednesday.

Medals weren’t necessarily expected but hopes were relatively high for Canadians Mercedes Nicoll, Alexandra Duckworth and Katie Tsuyuki.

Duckworth and Tsuyuki went through to the semi-final, finishing seventh and ninth, respectively, in their heats. Nicoll failed to qualify, finishing 12th. The top six semi-final competitors moved on to the final. Tsuyuki just missed out, finishing seventh, while Duckworth was 11th. That made the overall rankings 13th for Tsuyuki, 17th for Duckworth and 25th for Nicoll.

Canadian Jennifer Jones reacts as she throws the stone during the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics women’s curling round robin session 4 match against Great Britain at the Ice Cube curling centre in Sochi on February 12, 2014. Jones and Canada’s undefeated women’s team plays twice on Thursday, taking on Denmark and Switzerland.

YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

Thursday

Thursday is a busy day, with many events but not necessarily many medal prospects for Canada.

The much-awaited puck drops on Canada’s men’s hockey tournament on Thursday.

  • Men’s Hockey preliminary matchup vs. Norway – 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT.
  • Sidney Crosby plays his first game as the captain of Team Canada. Carey Price starts in net.

Medal hopefuls to watch:

The luge team relay event likely provides Canada’s best shot at a Thursday medal.

  • Luge Team Relay – 11:15 a.m. ET / 8:15 a.m. PT.
  • The team relay is a new Olympic event that features a women’s single sled, a men’s single sled and a doubles sled. Canada’s team is made up of Alex Gough, Samuel Edney and the pair of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith.

Three Canadians look to make a splash in the women’s short track speed skating 500-metre event.

  • Quarterfinals – 5 a.m. ET / 2 a.m. PT.
  • Semi-Finals – 6:10 a.m. ET / 3:10 a.m. PT.
  • Finals – 7:05 a.m. ET / 4:05 a.m. PT.
  • Canadians to watch: Marianne St. Gelais, Jessica Hewitt, Valérie Maltais.

Christine Nesbitt gets back on the ice Thursday in one of her preferred long track speed skating distances, the 1000-metre.

  • Women’s 1000-metre long track speed skating – 9 a.m. ET / 6 a.m. PT.
  • Nesbitt will be Canada’s best medal hope. She’s joined by teammates Brittany Schussler, Kali Christ and Kaylin Irvine.

The men’s ski slopestyle, where Canada is not nearly as strong as on the women’s side, gets under way Thursday.

  • Qualification Round – 1:15 a.m. ET / 10:15 p.m. Wednesday PT.
  • Final – 4:30 a.m. ET / 1:30 a.m. PT.
  • Alex Beaulieu-Marchand is the only Canadian competing in the event.

The women’s cross country 10 km Classic takes place with four Canadian athletes in the mix.

  • Women’s 10 km Classic – 5 a.m. ET / 2 a.m. PT.
  • Canadians to watch: Amanda Ammar, Daria Gaiazova, Heidi Widmer, Brittany Webster.

The third men’s biathlon takes place, with the 20 km race.

  • Men’s 20 km individual biathlon – 9 a.m. ET / 6 a.m. PT.
  • Canadians to watch: Nathan Smith, Brendan Green, Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, Scott Perras.

Other Events

Both curling teams play Thursday, the men once and the women twice.

  • Women’s curling vs. Denmark – 12 a.m. ET / 9 p.m. Wednesday PT.
  • Men’s curling vs. Denmark – 5 a.m. ET / 2 a.m. PT.
  • Women’s curling vs. Switzerland – 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT.
  • Skip Jennifer Jones looks to keep the women’s team undefeated, while the men’s team led by Brad Jacobs looks to improve to 3-2.

One of Canada’s gold medal favourites, figure skater Patrick Chan, has his individual event.

  • Figure Skating – Men’s Short Program – 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT.
  • Chan is joined by fellow Canadians Kevin Reynolds and Liam Firus.

Another of Canada’s most-talked-about athletes is in action: Charles Hamelin will compete in the 1000-metre short track speed skating event.

  • Men’s 1000-metre qualification heats – 5:25 a.m. ET / 2:25 a.m. PT.
  • Hamelin will be looking to get one step closer to becoming Canada’s most decorated Olympian ever. He’s joined by fellow Canadians Olivier Jean and Charle Cournoyer.

Hamelin is also competing with the Canadian team in the men’s 5000-metre relay semi-finals.

  • Men’s short track 5000-metre relay semi-finals – 6:30 a.m. ET / 3:30 a.m. PT.
  • The Canadian team is made up of Charles Hamelin, Francois Hamelin, Olivier Jean and Michael Gilday.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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