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Olympic Stock Watch: Gushue Up, Hanyu Down
Call it the calm before the winter storm. We will soon be buried in Olympic sporting events as the World Cup seasons of skiing, snowboarding, speed skating and more shift into high gear ahead of the Beijing Games. But it was a relatively quiet weekend, with just two major winter events – a curling Grand Slam and a figure skating Grand Prix. Here’s which stock is going up and who is going down coming out of those:
Above: Brad Gushue
The 2006 Olympic men’s curling champion appears to be reaching his prime at the right time. He beat Scotland’s Bruce Mouat 5-2 in the final yesterday to win the National – the last Grand Slam tournament before the start of the Canadian Olympic Trials on November 20.
This is Gushue’s first Grand Slam title since 2018, and it reinforces his status as a favorite for trials, with 2014 Olympic gold medalist Brad Jacobs, 2017 trial winner and four-time Brier champion Kevin Koe , and defending Brier champion Brendan Bottcher. Gushue defeated Koe in the national semifinals. Bottcher fell in the quarterfinals against Mouat. Jacobs, who reached the final of the previous Slam (he lost to Mouat) did not qualify for the quarterfinals.
At the bottom, technically, but really still on the rise: Bruce Mouat and Tracy Fleury
You know things are going well when the mere act of reaching the final of a star-studded tournament feels like a disappointment. But that’s how Mouat ran. Before losing yesterday’s national final to Gushue, the 27-year-old Scottish captain had won three consecutive Grand Slams – two last April in the Calgary bubble, and then the season opener two weeks ago. Mouat also won silver at the men’s world championship and won the mixed doubles world title last spring. It’s a hell of a race, and the Mouat ice rink is currently No. 1 in the world according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistical ranking system. They will be serious contenders for Olympic gold in February.
Fleury may be the female equivalent of Mouat right now. Like the Scotsman, the 35-year-old Manitoban is often overshadowed by more glitzy names, but continues to deliver results. Fleury also lost her National final yesterday, against Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg. But she won the previous Slam, beating six-time Scotties champion Jennifer Jones in the final. The Fleury ice rink is up to number 2 in Pomeroy women’s rankings – behind Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni, winner of the last two world championships, and ahead of Canadian stars Rachel Homan and Kerri Einarson, who have faced each other in the last two Scotties finals. Fleury shows she’s capable of giving these two and Jones a hard time at Trials. Learn more about the women’s and men’s finals at the National and watch the highlights here.
Above: Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron
All eyes on the Italian figure skating Grand Prix were on the quadruple ice dance world champions as they returned to competition after skipping the pandemic 2020-21 season. They didn’t miss a beat, beating triple world championship medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States to claim gold. Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus, the only Canadians to participate in this stage of the Grand Prix, placed seventh in dance.
With the 2018 Olympic ice dance champions, Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir now retired, Papadakis and Cizeron (the silver medalists in Pyeongchang) appear to be the team to beat in Beijing. They will participate again in the Grand Prix stage from November 19 to 21 in their native France.
Above: Russian women
The country that won the top two steps of the Olympic women’s figure skating podium in 2018 and all three at the 2021 World Championships, continues to produce talent. Anna Shcherbakova celebrated her 17th birthday in March by winning the world title, and was joined at the medal stand by Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (24) and Alexandra Trusova (now 17). Last month, 15-year-old Maya Khromykh beat Shcherbakova at an event in Budapest.
Shcherbakova fought back at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, coming back from third place after the short program with a personal best score in the free skate that put her ahead of Khromykh for the gold medal. Learn more about the four Italian Grand Prix events and watch the highlights here. To concern This figure skating showDylan Moscovitch and Asher Hill break down Shcherbakova’s performance here and Papadakis and Cizeron’s below.
Bottom: Yuzuru Hanyu
The winner of the last two Olympic gold medals in men’s figure skating was due to make his Grand Prix season debut this week at the NHK Trophy in his native Japan. But Hanyu announced on Friday that he was stepping down due to an ankle injury. It is unclear whether he will be able to return in time for his other Grand Prix assignment, the Rostelecom Cup from November 26-28 in Sochi, Russia. If he can’t, there will be doubts about Hanyu’s quest to become the first figure skater in 86 years to win a third individual Olympic gold medal. Learn more about his injury here.
Shalane Flanagan ran his sixth major marathon in seven weeks. Normally, the majors start with the Tokyo Marathon in late February / early March, followed by Boston and London in April, then Berlin, Chicago and New York in the fall. This year, the pandemic has forced organizers to cram them into a 43-day window. Flanagan, a 40-year-old American who won silver in the 10,000-meter at the 2008 Olympics and won the New York City Marathon in 2017, decided to run them all, starting in Berlin on September 26 and finishing yesterday with New York. She rose to the unprecedented challenge in style, clocking a time of 2:33:32 – her best of the series. Canadian Lanni Marchant also had a great day in New York, finishing 11th in the women’s race with a time of 2:32:54. The 37-year-old, who ran the 10,000 and the marathon at the Rio 2016 Olympics, was running her first marathon since being ruled out with a hip injury that required multiple surgeries and caused her a lot of agony over the past five years. Read more about it here.
Only one Canadian team made the Major League Soccer playoffs. The Vancouver Whitecaps held on to a 1-1 draw at home against Seattle last night to clinch their first playoff spot since 2017. Vancouver, which was last in the Western Conference on August 8 but s’ is ranked sixth, will face the No.3 seed Kansas City in the first round of the playoffs, which begins Nov. 20. Montreal finished 10th in the Eastern Conference, two points from a playoff spot, while Toronto was 13th.
The qualifiers for the National Women’s Football League have started. The two quarter-finals of the six-team tournament were played yesterday. The Washington Spirit defeated North Carolina Courage 1-0, while the Chicago Red Stars defeated Gotham FC 1-0 to end the career of American great Carli Lloyd. Chicago’s opponent in Sunday’s semifinal is seed Portland Thorns, which features Canadian National Team captain Christine Sinclair on the field and former Canadian National Team goalie Karina LeBlanc on the front line. office after hiring her as managing director last week.
RIP Angelo Mosca. The five-time Gray Cup champion and member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, who died on Saturday at the age of 84, was one of the most loved – and also meanest – players in football history. LCF. A good example is his out of bounds (literally and figuratively) shot at Willie Fleming which knocked the BC Lions star back in the 1963 Gray Cup game, helping the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to Mosca to achieve victory. After the game, Lions QB Joe Kapp refused to shake hands with Mosca. The bitterness between them still burned nearly half a century later when the septuagenarians appeared on stage together at a Gray Cup week luncheon in 2011. Like a bit, Kapp tried to offer Mosca a handful of flowers, to which the latter replied “stick it your a–.” When Kapp stuck the sad-looking bouquet to Mosca’s face, Mosca hit him on the head with his cane before Kapp drops Mosca with a hard right hand to his jaw. You can watch this amazing moment here and learn more about Mosca’s remarkable life here.
Josh Allen> Josh Allen. Yesterday, for the third time in NFL history, two players of the same name faced each other on either side of the ball. The clear favorite to win was Josh Allen who plays Buffalo Bills quarterback. He arrived in Jacksonville as an MVP contender who had led his team to a 5-2 start. The âotherâ Josh Allen, who specializes in passer preparation for the Jaguars, lined up for a 1-6 team with one of the worst defenses in the league. But he made life miserable for his more famous namesake, intercepting one of Buffalo’s assists Josh Allen, sacking him once (the first time in NFL history a defenseman did this to a QB from the same. name) and recovering his fumble on a key play in Jags territory with just over five minutes to go. It helped Jacksonville, who was an underdog with two touchdowns, hold on for a knockdown 9-6. Read a recap of the NFL action on Sunday here.
You are aware. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.