Canada on record Olympic medal pace in Pyeongchang
At midway point of Games nation's athletes on track to break Vancouver 2010 record
By Ignacio Estefanell, CBC Sports
At Saturday's midway point of these Winter Games, Canada is on a record pace for medals.
After eight days of competition, the country's athletes have won 15 medals — five gold, five silver and five bronze. That's seven more than Canada had at the same point in Vancouver 2010, when a record was set with 26, including an Olympic record 14 gold medals. However, Canada started slow those Games and seemed to dominate the second week of competition.
It's also three more than Canadian athletes had at the midway point in Sochi, when they won 25.
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Here are highlights of Canada's Games so far:
Off to a quick start ...
Canada began its medal ledger in high-flying style as snowboarders Max Parrot and Mark McMorris took silver and bronze, respectively, in the men's slopestyle on Day 2. McMorris was sitting in the silver-medal position before teammate Max Parrot, on the competition's last run, nipped him. McMorris's bronze matched his performance in Sochi four years earlier.
Top of the podium
Canada experienced its first gold courtesy of its star-studded figure skating team on Day 3. Gabrielle Daleman, Kaetlyn Osmond, Patrick Chan, Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir delivered Canada's first top podium finish in figure skating since Virtue-Moir danced to gold in Vancouver 2010.
Freestyle skier Mikaël Kingsbury finally captured the one honour missing from his already illustrious resume, firmly establishing himself as the king of the moguls hill, and giving Canada its third straight Olympic championship in the event.
"I've dreamed about that day a million times. And last night. It's unbelievable. I'll be an Olympic champion for the rest of my life," Kingsbury said.
Nothing was going to keep Blouin down
Snowboarder Laurie Blouin overcame both a hard fall in training and hazardous winds to win silver in the women's slopestyle final on Day 3. For a time it looked like Blouin might not be able to compete, but when she was cleared by medical staff there was no looking back.
In a story about second chances, Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris achieved two firsts. After failing to qualify for the Olympics with their respective teams, the duo decided to take a shot at the new Olympic sport of mixed doubles curling. On Day 4 they became the sport's first Olympic champions as well as the first Canadians to win two Olympic curling gold medals.
On Day 6, just days after capturing gold in the team event, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze in pairs figure skating in what they've said is their final season competing. It was Canada's first Olympic medal in this event since Jamie Sale and David Pelletier won gold in 2002.
"It's the sweetest [ending] it could possibly be right now," said Radford. "I don't think that there's any better way."
"I don't think there've been happier bronze medallists than we are," added Duhamel.
Ted-Jan Bloemen posted an Olympic record of 12 minutes, 39.77 seconds in the men's 10,000-metre speed skate to win his first Olympic gold medal on Day 6. Bloemen, who moved to Canada from the Netherlands four years ago, also captured a silver in the men's 5,000 on Day 2.
Sweet, sweet redemption
After a heartbreaking fourth-place finish in Sochi that left Alex Gough, Sam Edney and doubles duo Tristan Walker and Justin Snith off the podium by a devastating 10th of a second, the luge contingent earned redemption with silver in Pyeongchang on Day 6. A day earlier, Gough, won bronze in the women's event to earn Canada's first-ever luge medal.
"We've been working this past quad with the heartbreak of Sochi," Walker said. "And to finally capitalize — not only bronze but silver — is amazing."
Kim Boutin shook off death threats to become the first Canadian female short-track speed skater to win two individual medals at the same Olympic Winter Games. The 23-year-old from Sherbrooke, Que. was subjected to abuse on social media after Korea's Minjeong Choi – who she tangled with in the 500 final on Day 4 – was disqualified, handing Boutin the bronze. Four days later Boutin skated past the controversy and back onto the podium.
"Of course, [the threats] scared me," Boutin said. "And just after my warm-up, I cried. I cried a lot, because I was scared. But I have a pretty awesome team behind me."
If things follow to plan, Canada has plenty more medals left to win.
Kevin Koe and his rink are favoured in men's curling, though the women's team, skipped by Rachel Homan, has stumbled out of the gate and will have to work just to make the medal round.
Virtue and Moir are favoured to win gold in ice dancing on Monday, Feb. 19, but face strong competition from French rivals Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.
Kaillie Humphries begins her quest for a third straight championship in women's bobsleigh on Tuesday, Feb.20.
The women's hockey team looks to be on another collision course with rival U.S. and the two should meet in the final on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The men's team is the defending champ in what is a wide-open tournament thanks to a lack of NHL players, with the final on Saturday, Feb. 24.
McMorris and Parrot will once again look to land on the podium in big air on Friday, Feb.23. The high-flying "frenemies" are favourites going into the event.
Kelsey Serwa is another one to watch. A Sochi silver medallist, Serwa is back in form, having recovered from a series of knee injuries. She competes on Friday, Feb. 23.