The Cana­dian Press pre­dicts 37 medals for Canada

Cape Breton Post - - CLASSIFIEDS -

Bernard proved her­self a clutch shot­maker at the Cana­dian Olympic curl­ing tri­als in Ed­mon­ton and, hav­ing co-writ­ten a book that touches on the men­tal as­pects of curl­ing, she ap­pears un­likely to fall vic­tim to the pres­sure of the Games.

But even Bernard’s rink has con­ceded Bingyu Wang’s Chi­nese squad might be the team to beat.

The 25-year-old Wang steam­rolled the com­pe­ti­tion on her way to the 2009 world cham­pi­onship, a year af­ter she fin­ished sec­ond at the event when it was held in Ver­non, B.C. Pre­dic­tions: Bronze To­tal medals: 1 (bronze) Fig­ure skat­ing Canada’s fig­ure skat­ing team is young, but boasts some im­pres­sive re­sults, and could chal­lenge for the podium in all four dis­ci­plines.

Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir rep­re­sent the team’s big­gest medal threat — they’ve been the most con­sis­tent, cap­tur­ing a pair of Grand Prix ti­tles and adding a sil­ver at the Grand Prix Fi­nal this sea­son.

Pa­trick Chan is on the up­swing from a frus­trat­ing early sea­son that in­cluded a bad bout of the flu and calf in­jury. He’s been forced to play catch-up, but showed con­sid­er­able signs of im­prove­ment at the Cana­dian cham­pi­onships.

Reign­ing world sil­ver medal­list Joan­nie Ro­chette had a dis­ap­point­ing Grand Prix sea­son, but her solid per­for­mance at the Cana­dian cham­pi­onships was en­cour­ag­ing.

Canada has won a medal in fig­ure skat­ing in ev­ery Olympics since 1984. Pre­dic­tions: Ice dance Sil­ver - Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir Men’s sin­gles Bronze - Pa­trick Chan Women’s sin­gles Bronze - Joan­nie Ro­chette To­tal medals: 3 (1 sil­ver, 2 bronze) Freestyle ski­ing Canada’s 18-mem­ber Olympic freestyle team is ex­pected to make mul­ti­ple trips to the podium in Van­cou­ver.

The squad is led by Spruce Grove, Alta., na­tive Jen­nifer Heil, who com­petes in women’s moguls on the first full day of com­pe­ti­tion. The de­fend­ing cham­pion is the top threat to win Canada’s first-ever Olympic gold medal as the host na­tion.

Hav­ing won her last four World Cup races, the gold is Heil’s to lose.

Alexan­dre Bilodeau of Rose­mere, Que., should also threaten for a medal on the men’s side, af­ter winning last year’s over­all World Cup ti­tle and cap­tur­ing three medals so far this sea­son.

Ski cross rep­re­sents Canada’s other po­ten­tial medal haul.

Ash­leigh McIvor, Kelsey Serwa and Ju­lia Mur­ray own three of the top four spots in the women’s over­all stand­ings, and could strike more than once at Cy­press Moun­tain. Cana­di­ans fin­ished 1-2 there last year, and a podium sweep this time around isn’t out of the ques­tion — though over­all World Cup leader Ophe­lie David of France might have some­thing to say about that.

Chris Del Bosco is one of the odds-on favourites in men’s action, and is com­ing off a victory at an Olympic tune-up event in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Three-time World Cup cham­pion Steve Omis­chl leads a men’s aeri­als team that should snag a medal in what is con­sid­ered a wide-open com­pe­ti­tion. Pre­dic­tions: Men Moguls Bronze - Alex Bilodeau Ski cross Gold - Chris Del Bosco Women Moguls Gold - Jen­nifer Heil Ski cross Sil­ver - Ash­leigh McIvor Bronze - Kelsey Serwa To­tal medals: 5 (2 gold, 1 sil­ver, 2 bronze) Hockey Men Just like the pre­vi­ous three Olympics fea­tur­ing NHL play­ers, Team Canada will ar­rive in Van­cou­ver with more depth than any other coun­try.

There are two re­cent scor­ing cham­pi­ons ( Joe Thorn­ton, Sid­ney Crosby), four Olympic gold medal­lists (Martin Brodeur, Jarome Iginla, Scott Nie­der­mayer, Chris Pronger), sev­eral ma­jor award win­ners and a com­bined 14 Stan­ley Cup cham­pi­onships.

Canada is also blessed with ar­guably the weak­est group of op­po­nents for the pre­lim­i­nary round. It will face Nor­way, Switzer­land and the U.S. early in the tour­na­ment — avoid­ing Rus­sia, Fin­land, the Czech Repub­lic and de­fend­ing cham­pion Swe­den.

But Team Canada will have to face some of the pow­er­house coun­tries even­tu­ally. Once that hap­pens, it will need to find a way to man­age the heavy ex­pec­ta­tions that come with play­ing on home soil and out­per­form teams with top-end tal­ent like the Rus­sians and Swedes. Pre­dic­tions: Sil­ver To­tal medals: 1 (sil­ver) Hockey Women Canada and the U.S. are ex­pected to meet in the cham­pi­onship game Feb. 25 at Canada Hockey Place, with Fin­land and Swe­den bat­tling for bronze.

Swe­den up­set the U.S. in the Olympic semi­fi­nal of 2006 and then fell 4-1 to Canada in the fi­nal.

The Amer­i­cans are bet­ter-pre­pared for 2010. The U.S. has won the last two world cham­pi­onships and beat Canada in both fi­nals.

Rus­sia, China, Switzer­land and Slo­vakia round out the Olympic women’s hockey field. Pre­dic­tions: Gold To­tal medals: 1 (gold) Long-track speed­skat­ing A deep Cana­dian team is fronted by lead­ing medal favourites Kristina Groves, Chris­tine Nes­bitt and Denny Mor­ri­son.

Groves will skate in five events and has the abil­ity to win a medal in all, Nes­bitt is un­beaten in the 1,000 this sea­son and has also been strong in the 1,500, while Mor­ri­son is among the elite men in the 1,000 and 1,500.

Clara Hughes is set to de­fend her Olympic ti­tle in the 5,000, while Jeremy Wother­spoon has turned the ta­bles on a slow start to the sea­son and is start­ing to look like a con­tender in the 500.

Cindy Klassen, the five-time medal­list at the 2006 Games, is off form as she re­turns from dou­ble-knee surgery but is too tal­ented an ath­lete to be dis­counted.

Up-and-com­ers like Jamie Gregg (500), Lukas Makowsky (1,500 and 5,000) and Brit­tany Schus­sler (1,000 and 1,500) come into the Games un­der the radar but have abil­ity to sur­prise.

And both pur­suit teams, par­tic­u­larly the world record women, should also end up on the podium. Pre­dic­tions: Men 1,000 me­tres Bronze - Denny Mor­ri­son 1,500 me­tres Sil­ver - Denny Mor­ri­son Team pur­suit Bronze - Canada Women 1,000 me­tres Gold - Chris­tine Nes­bitt 1,500 me­tres Gold - Chris­tine Nes­bitt Sil­ver - Kristina Groves 3,000 me­tres Bronze - Kristina Groves 5,000 me­tres Bronze - Clara Hughes Team Pur­suit Gold - Canada To­tal medals: 9 (3 gold, 2 sil­ver, 4 bronze) Snow­board­ing Canada is send­ing a tal­ented team of snow­board­ers to Van­cou­ver, led by snow- Par­al­lel gi­ant slalom Sil­ver — Jasey-Jay An­der­son Women Snow­board cross Gold — Maelle Ricker Sil­ver — Do­minique Mal­tais To­tal medals: 3 (1 gold, 2 sil­ver) board-cross rac­ers Maelle Ricker and Do­minique Mal­tais, and par­al­lel gi­ant slalom vet­eran Jasey-Jay An­der­son.

The rest of the squad is deep, which means sev­eral oth­ers could also find the podium.

Ricker, ranked No. 1 on the World Cup tour, is a favourite to win gold, while thir­dranked Mal­tais could also come out on top. The two women have reached the podium to­gether in four of five World Cup events this sea­son.

In men’s snow­board cross, any of Canada’s rid­ers could step up and win a medal. Rob Fa­gan, Mike Robert­son, Fran­cois Boivin and 2007 World Cup champ Drew Neil­son can’t be taken lightly by their ri­vals.

An­der­son, the 2009 world cham­pion, has won medals in four races this sea­son and is sec­ond in World Cup points for par­al­lel gi­ant slalom.

Michael Lam­bert, who has two podium re­sults this sea­son, and Matthew Mori­son, re­turn­ing from an el­bow in­jury, also have a chance to cap­ture medals in the alpine event.

Alexa Loo and Caro­line Calve could sur­prise in women’s par­al­lel gi­ant slalom. Pre­dic­tions: Men Short-track speed­skat­ing Charles Hamelin and Ka­lyna Roberge are the top in­di­vid­ual Cana­dian medal con­tenders, and both the men’s and women’s teams are ex­pected to reach the podium in the re­lays.

Hamelin will skate in all in­di­vid­ual dis­tances, and winning a medal in each is well within the realm of pos­si­bil­ity. He holds the world record in the 1,000 me­tres, and is ranked first in World Cup stand­ings in the 500 me­tres.

Roberge placed fourth in the 500 me­tres at the 2006 Turin Games, and is now ranked sec­ond in the world in that dis­tance.

Fran­cois-Louis Trem­blay, who is skat­ing in his third Olympics, is also a strong con­tender in the 500 me­tres where he is ranked sec­ond this World Cup sea­son just be­hind Hamelin.

Other mem­bers of the team who are new to the Games have po­ten­tial to make it on to the podium, in­clud­ing ris­ing star Mar­i­anne St-Ge­lais in the 500 me­tres. St-Ge­lais is the world ju­nior record holder in the dis­tance, and ranks fourth in the dis­tance in this year’s World Cup cir­cuit.

Jes­sica Gregg is an­other young sprinter who could chal­lenge the pack in the 500 me­tres.

The men have a solid chance of winning the gold in the 5,000 me­tre, and the women are also ex­pect­ing to come away with a medal in their 3,000-me­tre re­lay. Pre­dic­tions: Men 500 me­tres Gold - Charles Hamelin Bronze - Fran­cois-Louis Trem­blay 1,000 me­tres Sil­ver - Charles Hamelin 1,500 me­tres Bronze - Charles Hamelin 5,000-me­tre re­lay Gold Women 500 me­tres Sil­ver - Ka­lyna Roberge 3,000 me­tre re­lay Bronze To­tal medals: 7 (2 gold, 2 sil­ver, 3 bronze) Skele­ton On the women’s side, Mel­lisa Hollingsworth of Eckville, Alta., is the clos­est thing Canada has to a gold medal lock in any slid­ing sport. The 29-year-old won the World Cup ti­tle in 2006, then won bronze at the Turin Games. In Whistler, she goes to Van­cou­ver again with the World Cup ti­tle, but now on a home track with vet­eran ex­pe­ri­ence. That makes all the dif­fer­ence.

On the men’s side, Jon Mont­gomery of Rus­sell, Man., won the pre-Olympic test event at Whistler last Fe­bru­ary. He won in Ce­sana this World Cup year and en­ters the Olympics on a roll, with fifth-place fin­ishes in his last two races. Hard to see the 30-yearold de­feat­ing Lat­vian Martins Dukurs for gold, but he has a good shot at be­ing at the podium. Pre­dic­tions: Men Sil­ver - Jon Mont­gomery Women Gold - Mel­lisa Hollingsworth To­tal: 2 (1 gold, 1 sil­ver) No medals pro­jected in biathlon, crosscoun­try ski­ing, luge, nordic com­bined or ski jump­ing.

Over­all to­tal: 37 (11 gold, 12 sil­ver, 14 bronze)

Turin to­tal (2006): 24 (7 gold, 10 sil­ver and 7 bronze)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.