Beijing Olympics Day 3: Canadians hoping to medal in slopestyle, speed skating tonight

The latest Olympics news from Beijing and around the world on Saturday. Web links to longer stories if available:

6:21 p.m. Canadians are making an impact at the Beijing Olympics, and not just the athletes. Behind the scenes are Canadians vital to the smooth running of the Games. Second in a series:

Doug Charko is Team Canada’s “decision support meteorologist,” aka its chief weatherman. Wax technicians rely on him for weather projections from cloud cover to humidity so they can prepare athletes’ skis for the conditions and everyone else from alpine skiing to freestyle snowboarding wants to know about the wind.

Read the full interview from the Star’s Kerry Gillespie: Doug Charko’s forecast for the Beijing Games? Windy (with a chance of medals)

12:44 p.m. No Olympic plan survives first contact intact. The Games are just hideously complicated: a multi-layered, multi-site, multi-part ecosystem, a thousand Rube Goldberg machines intersecting at once with human error thrown in for good measure, for weeks on end. Add a pandemic and everything gets harder.

Still, when the International Olympic Committee awarded 2022 to Beijing, even after China’s poor human rights record in 2008 had continued to deteriorate, they must have known this would not be a morally defensible Games. And it’s not.

But the IOC must have also counted on Beijing to deliver a drum-tight marvel of logistics, and it turns out that it isn’t happening either, so far.

The Star’s Bruce Arthur writes from Beijing: Beijing and the IOC have created a messy Olympics so far — in more ways than one

11:37 a.m. What happens when you break, and you don’t know why? Ted-Jan Bloemen thought he could win an Olympic medal and then he deflated like a balloon, lap after lap, even as he tried harder, before it began to hurt. It was a mystery. The 35-year-old had won silver in this 5,000-meter race four years ago, barely. The pandemic rattled his sense of routine from him, leaving him unmoored, and he admitted that.

But coming in, he felt good. I have looked good.

Then came the breaking. When it was over Bloemen skated up to his coach, Bart Schouten, and neither of them had an answer. Bloemen thought he might have a 6:06 in him. I have produced at 6:19.11. I have finished 10th. He was asked how he would fix it before his defense of his 10,000-meter gold in five days.

“I don’t know yet,” Bloemen said. “I didn’t plan for this.”

Read the full column from the Star’s Bruce Arthur: Ted-Jan Bloemen was ready for the 5,000 meters. And then it all fell apart

11:14 a.m. Two of Canada’s medal hopefuls at the Beijing Olympics finished off the podium Sunday, with one coming agonizingly close and another nowhere near.

Quebec City snowboarder Laurie Blouin gave it all she had in the women’s slopestyle event but couldn’t crack the top three of a highly competitive field.

Calgary speedskater Ted-Jan Bloemen looked like he was going to press for a medal in the 5,000 meters, but instead faded fast over the second half of his race and finished well back in 10th.

11:26 a.m. Through two group-stage games, the Canadian women’s hockey team has outscored its opposition 23-2 and outshot them 118-44.

That’s not sports. That’s abomination domination.

While some people may crow about such colossal supremacy — especially those who’ve got skin in the game and immediately assume a defensive, on-guard-for-thee position — there’s really nothing here to cheer. Routs can and should be savored for their exceptionality, scorers feasting on a goalie having a really bad night, a team enjoying a really majestic season, imposing their will at will.

New column from the Star’s Rosie DiManno: Why women’s hockey doesn’t belong in the Olympics

10:30 a.m. Since arriving at the Olympic Village, athletes participating at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games have taken the excitement to social media to share an inside look at their experience.

Many have put an Olympic touch on TikTok trends such as the ‘things in my house that just make sense’ tag, where athletes provided room tours in Beijing and few perks that come with being an Olympic athlete.

The Star’s Simran Singh has the full story: Olympic athletes are jumping on TikTok trends to provide tours of their rooms at Beijing 2022

9:38 a.m. Two dramatic crashes within a half-hour of each other derailed Canada’s hopes in the women’s moguls final at the Beijing Olympics and possibly signaled the end of a freestyle skiing dynasty.

Former Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe fell hard in the first final on Sunday, losing one of her ski poles and running out of time as she gathered herself before completing her routine down the hill. Olympic rookie Sofiane Gagnon fell in the second final at almost the exact same spot in the course’s second segment.

Minutes later, Chloé Dufour-Lapointe, Justine’s older sister, was eliminated from the second final as other skiers put up better scores.

Previously: Canada narrowly misses the podium, twice; Olympic rookie Madeline Schizas moves Canada into figure skating team finals; Shaun White announces Beijing Olympics will be his last.

For full coverage of the Beijing Olympics, click here.


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