What to watch in winter Olympic sports this weekend - CBC.ca

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It's another key weekend for winter Olympic sports

With the Winter Olympics less than 100 days away, many of the athletes you'll see in Beijing this February are already in the thick of their seasons. The bulk of competitions take place on weekends, so on Fridays in this newsletter we'll tip you off on who and what to watch as we ramp up toward Beijing. Here's the most interesting stuff happening this weekend:

Canada's stop on the Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit starts today.

Skate Canada International in Vancouver is underway as you read this, with the pairs short program kicking things off at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the men's short at 5:35 p.m. ET, the opening ice dance segment at 8 p.m. ET and the women's short at 9:45 p.m. ET. The free skates are all on Saturday, starting at 4 p.m. ET. See the full schedule and stream everything live here.

The Grand Prix circuit consists of six events around the world, after which the top six in each discipline are invited to the Grand Prix Final in December. Skaters are allowed to compete in up to two of the regular stops. The one closest to home is always a popular choice, so Skate Canada is where you'll see the most Canadians.

At the top of the list is the ice-dance duo of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, who could be Canada's best hope for a figure skating medal at the Beijing Olympics. They took bronze at the 2021 world championships — the only podium for a Canadian program that's still in rebuilding mode after the retirements of Olympic medallists Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, Kaetlyn Osmond and Patrick Chan and the breakup of pairs bronze winners Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. The latter is now skating with Vanessa James, and the pair is making its Grand Prix debut in Vancouver. Ice dancers Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen, who won Canada's only medal (a bronze) at last weekend's Grand Prix season opener, Skate America in Las Vegas, are not competing here.

The best-known Canadian solo skater in Vancouver is Keegan Messing, who will be up against Olympic gold-medal favourite Nathan Chen in the men's event. The American settled for bronze last week in Vegas, snapping his incredible 14-competition winning streak. The women's event features Russians Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, the reigning world silver medallist, and Alena Kostornaia, who won the Grand Prix Final in 2019. Read more about the athletes to watch at Skate Canada International in this preview by CBC Sports' Christine Rankin.

Short track star Kim Boutin is looking to bounce back.

The short track World Cup season opened last week on the same ice in Beijing that will host the Olympic races in February. Canada's Courtney Sarault took silver in the women's 1,500 metres, and Pascal Dion grabbed bronze in the men's 1,000m.

But things didn't go so well for Canadian star Kim Boutin. The 2018 Olympic triple medallist (and Canada's flag-bearer for the closing ceremony) placed fifth in the women's 1,500-metre final and failed to make it to the medal race in the 1,000m. She'll try for better results at this weekend's World Cup stop in Nagoya, Japan, where she's entered in the 1,000m and the 500m.

Canada's contenders on the men's side include Dion and Charles Hamelin, who are both racing in the 1,000 and the 1,500. Hamelin, 37, says this will be his final season. The five-time Olympic medallist (three of them gold) needs one more podium to match Andre De Grasse's all-time record for a Canadian male Olympian. Watch live races from the Nagoya World Cup stop on Saturday and Sunday from 1-5:30 a.m. ET here.

The final entries in Canada's Olympic curling trials will be decided.

Fourteen men's and 14 women's teams are competing at the Canadian pre-trials in Liverpool, N.S., where the last two spots in both of the nine-team trials tournaments (to be held late next month in Saskatoon) are up for grabs. Today is the final day of pool play. The playoffs are Saturday and Sunday.

At our publish time, the top women's rinks were Krista McCarville's and Jacqueline Harrison's (both 4-1), while the top men's rink was Tanner Horgan's (at 5-0, the only unbeaten). See live women's results and standings here and men's here.

Vanessa James and Eric Radford's Grand Prix debut: Skate Canada preview

2 days ago
Dylan Moscovitch and Asher Hill preview Skate Canada, where we'll see a new, heavyweight Canadian team and Nathan Chen try to bounce back from bronze. 6:37

Quickly...

Joel Quenneville lost his job. Kevin Cheveldayoff did not. Quenneville resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers last night after meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about his involvement in the choice by the Chicago NHL team's top decision-makers to essentially ignore allegations that video coach Brad Aldrich had sexually abused young player Kyle Beach in 2010. Quenneville was Chicago's head coach at the time. Three other men who were Chicago executives in 2010 were still working in the NHL when the findings of an investigation into the matter were released on Tuesday. Stan Bowman quickly resigned from his job as Chicago's general manager, and senior vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac left the team as well. That left Cheveldayoff, a Chicago assistant GM in 2010 who is now the GM of the Winnipeg Jets. Many assumed he'd meet the same fate as the others, but Bettman ruled today after interviewing Cheveldayoff that he was "not a member of the Blackhawks senior leadership team in 2010" and that his participation in the meeting where the allegations were discussed was "extremely limited in scope and substance." As such, Bettman decided, Cheveldayoff should not face punishishment of any kind from the league. Read more about the decision here. Also today, Chicago asked the Hockey Hall of Fame to consider "x-ing out" Aldrich's name from the Stanley Cup. Read more about that here.

This weekend on CBC Sports

In addition to the aforementioned figure skating and speed skating action, here's what you can stream and/or watch on TV:

Rhythmic gymnastics world championships: Live-stream the individual all-around final Saturday at 1:25 a.m. ET and the group final Sunday at 4:25 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.

Road to the Olympic Games: Saturday's show features the artistic gymnastics world championships and action from Skate Canada International. Watch it from 1-6 p.m. ET on the CBC TV network, CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem. Sunday's show features Skate Canada International. Watch it from 1-4 p.m. in your local time or stream it's from noon-3 p.m. ET.

You're up to speed. Have a good weekend.

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