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Day 8 recap: Bronze won amid major upsets in speed skating

Canada's Denny Morrison competes in the men's 1,500-meter speedskating race. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

Canada’s Denny Morrison competes in the men’s 1,500-meter speedskating race. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

Bronze for Denny Morrison

In long track speed skating, Canadian Denny Morrison earned his second medal of the Games, taking home a bronze in the men’s 1,500m event.

Shut out in short track

Canada had two medal favourites competing in short track speed skating today, but both were eliminated in the quarter-finals. Charles Hamelin was a favourite for gold in the men’s 1,000m event but fell during his race. Canada’s Valerie Maltais was projected to win silver in the women’s 1,500m event but failed to qualify for the final.

Ski jumping

Canadian Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes was the only one of the four Canadians entered to make it into the final round of the men’s large hill individual competition, where he finished 25th.

More difficulties for Gagnon in alpine skiing

Canadian Marie-Michèle Gagnon finished 20th in a difficult Super-G event where 18 competitors did not finish. She was hoping for a better performance than her last two events (she finished 21st in the downhill run and crashed out in the slalom). Larisa Yurkiw and Marie-Pier Prefontaine did not finish the course.

Also

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Denny Morrison wins bronze medal in men’s 1,500m

Canadian speed skater Denny Morrison celebrates his time during the men's 1500m race. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Canadian speed skater Denny Morrison celebrates his time during the men’s 1,500m race. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Denny Morrison earned a bronze medal today in the men’s 1,500m long track speed skating event. Morrison was a medal favourite heading into the event, projected to win silver, but was edged into third on the last race after Koen Verweij of the Netherlands finished just 0.003 seconds behind gold medalist Zbigniew Brodka of Poland.

Canadians Lukas Makowsky, Vince De Haitre and Mathieu Giroux also raced but finished out of medal contention.

Read the full story.

Morrison won a silver medal in the 1,000m after teammate Gilmore Junio forfeited his spot to Morrison, who was thought to have a better chance at winning. Junio spoke to The Globe about why he gave his spot away.

Athlete reaction

Fellow speedskater Gilmore Junio tweeted his support with the hashtag #dennyforflagbearer. There is a competing campaign underway to name Junio as Canada’s flagbearer. (The Globe’s editorial board thinks he should, too.)

medalspeed skating

Medal hopefuls Hamelin, Maltais do not advance in speed skating

In a dramatic upset, Canada’s Charles Hamelin fell in the 1,000m short track speed skating qualifying round and did not advance to the semi-finals. The medal hopeful lost an edge while cornering, causing him to slide into the padded boards, knocking down American rival Eduardo Alvarez in the process.

He was a favourite to win gold in the distance. Hamelin won a gold medal in 1,500m event and will still compete in the 500 metres — his best individual distance.  Read the full story.

Another medal hopeful, Canada’s Valerie Maltais, finished third in the women’s 1,500m event, but she needed a second place finish to advance.

This sequence of images shows Canadian Charles Hamelin crashing during the men's 1000m quarter finals. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

This sequence of images shows Canadian Charles Hamelin crashing during the men’s 1000m quarter finals. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

speed skating

Recap: No new medals in Day 6 in Sochi

Canadian short-track skater Charles Hamelin elbows American Eduardo Alvarez during the men's 1000m heats. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Canadian short-track skater Charles Hamelin elbows American Eduardo Alvarez during the men’s 1000m heats. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Thursday was the first day Canada did not win a medal in Sochi. It was eight days into the 2010 Games in Vancouver before the nation’s Olympic squad failed to win a medal.

Today’s action: 

1. Men’s hockey, Canada v. Norway

The men’s tournament continued Thursday with Canada winning their debut game against Norway, 3-1  (story here).

  • Other results today: U.S. over Slovakia (7-2); Finland over Austria (8-4); Russia over Slovenia (5-2).

2. Women’s 1000m speedskating

Canadian Christine Nesbitt was the defending Olympic champion in this event – but finished 9th this time around.

3. 20km individual biathlon

Canadian Jean-Phlippe Le Guellec was leading in the 12.5 km event Wednesday event before falling on the so-called “calamity curve.” He gets another shot in the event Thursday in the 20km distance, but finished well out of medal contention.

4. New luge team relay

The luge team relay is another new event added to the Olympics and Canada is expected to perform well. The co-ed team includes Alex Gough, who finished just off the podium in women’s single luge. Canada sits second in the World Cup standings for the event, but came fourth today, just missing a medal.

Elsewhere

Women’s curling team, skipped by Jennifer Jones, play twice on Thursday. They continued their undefeated streak with a 8-5 win over Denmark. They also play against Switzerland at 10 a.m. ET. Canada is 4-0 so far.

The men’s curling team, skipped by Brad Jacobs, eked out a 7-6 win over Denmark. Canada has a 3-2 record with four games left in the round robin.

Patrick Chan, Kevin Reynolds and Liam Firus skated for Canada in the men’s short program in figure skating. Chan, who finished the day in second place, is a medal favourite in the event, which concludes Friday. Russian superstar Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the event.

Sarah Reid is in 8th place midway through women’s skeleton. The final is tomorrow.

All three Canadians competing in the men’s 1,000m short-track speed skating event placed first in their qualifying heat. The final is Saturday. However, it was a disappointing day for the defending gold medal relay team, which faltered in the semifinal.

big momentsfreestyle skiinghockeylugespeed skating

Should Gilmore Junio carry the flag in the closing ceremonies?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTDcQYRV5-4

Potential flag-bearer?

Canadian speed skater Gilmore Junio was lauded with praise after he forfeited his spot in the men’s 1,000m race, allowing teammate Denny Morrison to win silver.

Now fellow Canadians are returning the favour, suggesting he carry the Canadian flag at the closing ceremonies.

Nominations from Canadian athletes

Morrison, who fell during his qualifying round in Canada and wasn’t supposed to race, said Junio should receive the honour. The sentiment was echoed by bobsledder Jesse Lumsden.

Stephen Harper weighs in

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement congratulating Morrison on his silver and offered praise to Junio as well.

“What makes this victory even more special is that his teammate Gilmore Junio stepped aside to let him compete. It is stories of sportsmanship and camaraderie such as these that make our nation very proud,” he said in the statement.

What do you think?

The closing ceremony flag-bearer is usually someone who shows strong Olympic spirit. Soccer player Christine Sinclair earned the honour at the 2010 Summer Olympics in London after taking her team to a bronze medal finish.

So was this act enough to earn Junio the prestigious spot? Tweet at @GlobeOlympics with your thoughts.

speed skating

A complete roundup of Canadian events for Day 5 in Sochi

1. A silver medal in men’s long-track speed skating

Denny Morrison won silver medal in the 1,000 long-track event after two fourth-place finishes on the World Cup circuit this year.

Morrison was not scheduled to compete after falling in the Canadian qualifier. But teammate Gilmore Junio elected to step aside and give his spot to Morrison, who had a better shot at winning. Now a campaign’s underfoot to name Junio as Canada’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremonies.

2. Women’s hockey: Canada vs. the U.S.

Canada beat the U.S. 3-2 in a preliminary game that will likely serve as a preview of the gold medal final.

  • Two goals from Meghan Agosta, and one from Haley Wickenheiser
  • Read more

After some concern that women’s hockey had become too lopsided, and thus in danger of being removed from the Games, the  IOC says organizers are “very pleased” with the quality of play in Sochi.

3. Fifth-place finish in pairs figure skating

Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch were contenders for a medal in pairs figure skating but placed fifth, pushed down the ranks by two dominant Russian teams that placed first and second.  Three Canadians teams had qualified for the final event. Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford  were also medal threats but finished in 7th place. Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers were back in 14th place.

Elsewhere

History was made on the downhill slopes today, as two women clocked the exact same time to tie for gold.

Jennifer Jones and the women’s curling team bested Great Britain 9-6, to make it four consecutive wins.

After two straight losses, the men’s curling team came back strong today, beating the Great Britain team 9-6 before trouncing the Russians 7-4.

Men’s hockey began today, but Canada and the U.S. do not start until Thursday

Canada fell just short of a medal in doubles luge. Tristan Walker and Justin Snith took 4th place, 0.4 seconds back.

big momentsfigure skatinghockeyspeed skating

Canada’s Denny Morrison wins silver in 1,000-metre long-track speed skating

Canada's Denny Morrison during the men's 1,000 metre speed-skating race. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

Canada’s Denny Morrison during the men’s 1,000 metre speed-skating race. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

Denny Morrison took silver in the 1000m long-track speed-skating race, with a time of 1:08.43.

Morrison wasn’t supposed to skate in this event after falling during qualifications in Canada, but teammate Gilmore Junio gave up his spot.

big momentsmedalspeed skating

Canadians continue to show true sportsmanship during Olympic Games

Canada's Gilmore Junio skates during the men's 500 metres speed skating race at the Adler Arena during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 10, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Canada’s Gilmore Junio skates during the men’s 500 metres speed skating race at the Adler Arena during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 10, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Earlier in the day, a coach from the Canadian team came to the rescue of a Russian cross-country skier, who fell and broke his ski during a race.

Now comes the story of Canadian speed skater Gilmore Junio who has surrendered his spot in the 1,000 metres so his teammate Denny Morrison can compete.
Morrison, Canada’s top male long-track speed skater, wasn’t supposed to take part in the race at the Sochi Winter Games. In a disastrous turn of events during Olympic qualifying, Morrison fell on the last lap in Calgary, scuttling his chance at that distance.

But in a move that shows just how tightly knit the Canadian speed-skating team has become in Sochi, up-and-comer Junio informed team leader Sean Ireland that he wanted to cede his spot to Morrison.

Read the story here.

speed skating

Day 3 recap: Canada takes three medals after a stunning day in Sochi

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oFHj1uQqB0

1. Gold and silver: Freestyle Ski, Men’s Moguls

Canada had its second double-medal event today with Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau earning gold and Mikael Kingsbury earning silver in the men’s moguls. Bilodeau became the first athlete in Olympic history to win back-to-back golds in moguls. Read more here.

2. Gold medal: Short Track Speed Skating, Men’s 1500m

Charles Hamelin took gold Monday in the 1,500-metre short track race, with a time of 2:14.985. That was enough to edge out China’s Tianu Han (2:15.055) who won silver, and Russia’s Victor An (2:15.062), who took bronze. Read the full story.

Earlier: Women’s Super Combined

Marie-Michele Gagnon was considered a medal candidate in the Super Combined, but was injured in the slalom portion of the race. Going into the games, Gagnon won a Super Combined event in Austria, becoming the first Canadian to do so.

Elsewhere

In a mild upset, the men’s curling team lost to Switzerland 4-5. The loss might not affect their chances at a gold, however, with several games remaining in the tournament.  The women defeated China 9.2.

Canada has advanced to the final in women’s 3000m relay short-track speed skating. The finals are on Feb. 18.

The women’s hockey team defeated Finland 3-0.

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