2022 Winter Olympics Preview – Week 2

BEIJING, CHINA, JANUARY 1, 2022: Background for winter olympic game in Beijing, China, 2022. Red pictogram of all sports in background

by Mike Brock, Special Correspondent to The Expositor

BEIJING—Okay. Now, we’re rocking. A week in, some hardware handed out, a few new Olympic stars introduced, and—if you’re working on the Games—at least eight litres of coffee down the gullet. So, what can we look forward to over the next seven days?

Victory. Defeat. Redemption. Performance.  Humanity.  Love.

Oh, and more curling, bobbing, sliding, jumping and shredding of the gnar.

Some of the big stories this week will be the playoffs and medal rounds for some of the team sport tournaments. We’ll also see the arrival of one of the marquee events, men’s hockey.  COVID put a wrench into the National Hockey League’s plans to send their players to Beijing, meaning that some opportunities were created for a whole collection of Canadian players who are playing all over the world. Many ex-NHL’ers, especially from the European teams, are now in Beijing wearing the Maple Leaf. While the Canadian women’s roster may be more recognizable than the men’s at these Games, there are still a few names you might recognize. 

The captain, Eric Staal, is perhaps the biggest name on the list. He hadn’t played professionally this season, but signed an American Hockey League contract last month with the intention of giving proof that he could still play well enough to be named to the Olympic team. At the other end of the career spectrum, is last year’s No. 1 overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres is on the roster too. Defenceman Owen Power, who currently plays for the University of Michigan Wolverines. Other former NHL players on Team Canada include Josh Ho-Sang, Jeff Tambellini and David Desharnais. The men’s team gets underway on Thursday (8 pm) against the 2018 silver medallists, Germany.

I changed the format a little bit, but here’s what else you can look forward to this week…

Thursday, February 10

• Men’s Curling: Norway vs. Canada, 1:05 am (ET)

The Canadians are great. Always. The Norwegians are great. Sometimes. But they ALWAYS wear crazy pants.

• Snowboard: Men’s Snowboard Cross – QF, 1:37 am (ET)

“MOM’S MAKING KD AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL!!!!!!!!!!!!”

• Cross-Country Skiing: Women’s 10km Classic, 2 am (ET)

A classic winter sport. You just won’t find me doing it.

• Freestyle Skiing: Mixed Aerials, 6 am (ET)

Another great addition to the Olympic roster, as they try to introduce more events where boys and girls can be excellent together!

• Speed SkatingWomen’s: 5000m Final, 7 am (ET)

After winning Canada’s first medal in Beijing—a Bronze in the 3000m—Isabelle Weidemann will go for another one in the 3000m this morning.

• Luge Team Relay, 8:30 am (ET)

A joke: A woman, a man, and a couple dudes walk into a bar.  

Not a joke: A woman slides down a mountain on a track of ice very quickly and hits a bar at the bottom so that a man can slide down a mountain on a track of ice very quickly and hit a bar at the bottom so that a couple dudes can slide down a mountain on a track of ice very quickly.

• Snowboard: Men’s Halfpipe, 8:30 pm (ET)

The Tomato flies again. Shaun White is a great grandfather by snowboarding standards, but he’s here. Going for his fourth gold medal.

Friday, February 11

• Speed Skating: Men’s 10,000m, 3 am (ET)

Winning a gold and a silver in Pyeongchang created some high expectations for Ted-Jan Bloemen in Beijing, but he’ll be looking for a little redemption after a disappointing 1,000 metres on Day 2 of the Olympics. An angry skater is a fast skater.  Or something like that.

• Biathlon: Women’s 7.5km sprint, 4 am (ET)

Let’s go slide around and shoot stuff. It’s a great workout.

• S.T. Speed Skating: Women’s 1000m, 6 am (ET)

Always a few Canadians in the mix for this one.  Kim Boutin—currently 6th in the World—won the silver in Pyeongchang, and she’s hoping to get back to the podium along with teammate Courtney Sarault (currently 5th in the world).

• Skeleton: Men’s Final, 8:55 am (ET)

If you like luging, but it’s just not dangerous enough, go head first.

• Snowboard: Mixed Team Snowboard Cross, 9 pm (ET)

Another new event, and if I know anything about snowboarders, it will be fun.

Saturday, February 12

• Hockey: Men – Canada vs. USA, 11:10 pm (Friday)

Not as famous as the women’s rivalry, but the boys will try their best.

• Speed Skating : Men’s – 500m, 3:53 am (ET)

One of the coolest Canadian Olympic stories of the last few decades is Gilmore Junio. In 2018, he gave up his spot in the 1000m to Denny Morrison, who had missed the qualifying spot because of an injury. That’s the Olympic spirit. We should all do more stuff like that.

• Biathlon: 10km Sprint, 4 am (ET)

I looked it up in the dictionary: 10km is NEVER a sprint.

• Ski Jumping: Men’s Large Hill Final, 5 am (ET)

I really need everyone to watch this. Not just to see Ryoyu Kobayashi fly like a bird, but because I’m producing this event, and I need good audience numbers to help pay for gas in the fishing boat. And I need a new transponder, and I have two teenagers, and…

• Figure Skating: Ice Dance – Rhythm Dance, 6 am (ET)

The top Canadian ice dance partnership will provide a karmic balance to the North American hockey battle happening today. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier won a bronze medal for Canada at the 2021 World Championships, even though Gilles was born in the USA.  (She became a Canadian citizen in 2017.)

Sunday, February 13 – Super Bowl Sunday

• Alpine: Men’s Giant Slalom, 12:45 am (ET)

Big, strong men will strap on the helmets, make sudden and quick movements trying to dodge obstacles on National Television today. No, I’m not talking about the Super Bowl.

• S.T. Speed Skating: Men’s 500m, 7:14 am (ET)

The World Record for this event is 39.50 seconds.  

• Hockey: Men – Canada vs. China, 8:10 am (ET)

Canada plays the host country. The host country will try hard.

• Speed Skating : Women’s 500m, 8:56 am (ET)

The World Record for this event is 36.36 seconds.

• Bobsleigh: Women’s Monobob, 10 pm (ET)

Solo tobogganing, and the Canadian women are pretty good at it. What a surprise.

 • Figure Skating: Ice Dance, Rhythm Dance, 10:15 am (ET)

Is there a more appropriate event for the eve of Valentine’s Day than dancing on ice? Maybe smoochin’, but it’s close.  

Monday, February 14

• Ski Jumping: Men’s Team, 6 am (ET)

Again, I have very hungry children.  Please watch more ski jumping.

• Freestyle Skiing: Women’s Aerials, 7 am (ET)

Honestly, there are very few sports that combine skill, grace, power, athleticism, creativity and insanity.  This happens to be one of them.

• Hockey: Women’s Semifinals, 11:10 pm (SUN) or 8:10 am (ET)

Canada will be playing in one of the semifinals, right? YES!!!! (Yes.) 

• Alpine: Women’s Downhill, 7 am (ET)

The top speed of the women playing in the hockey semifinals is fast. The top speed of the women in the downhill? Unadvisable.

Tuesday, February 15

• Curling: Men – ROC vs. Canada, 7:10 am (ET)

ROC stands for Russian Olympic Committee, but I left it as ROC, because curlers slide ROCKS. I apologize for the dad joke, but it’s getting really late in the article, and I’m very tired.

• Bobsleigh: 2-Man, 7:15 am (ET)

A lot of these guys are former pro football players. They’re fast. They’re strong.  They love to ride sleighs. Canada has a few teams with a shot at getting down the hill faster than anyone else, and of course the two top Canadian pilots were born on tropical islands. Seriously. Look it up.

• Nordic Combined: Individual Large Hill/10km, 6 am (ET)

The Nordic Combined event is basically fellas skiing down a very large ramp with very thick skis. Then they’re gonna ski a long distance with skinny skis. And, they’re going to pull the Gundersen. What does the Gundersen mean, you ask? Well, I’m glad you did.  In the Gundersen format, the athletes get a start time for the cross country ski portion based on their points from the jump portion. Longer jump, bigger head start for the not so fun —but not so dangerous—part of the Nordic Combined.

So, that gets us most of the way through the Olympics.  I encourage you to enjoy the Olympics. With all the other malarkey going on in the world, we deserve to see people coming together, competing, and achieving.  If you are going to wave a Canadian flag, there is no better time to do it than for Canadian athletes. Have a great week!