Ottawa at the Olympics Day 1: Curling and hockey start tonight
By Dan Plouffe, Martin Cleary & Ethan Diamandas (This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Olympics Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.)
Let the Games begin! You won’t hear those words officially until Friday in Beijing, but if you’re mixed doubles curlers Rachel Homan, John Morris or women’s hockey player Jamie Lee Rattray, you know your first Olympic competition begins in a matter of hours.
Our juices are certainly flowing too as our Ottawa Sports Pages team gets ready to share the stories of our 14 Ottawa Olympians over the next 19 days. From today until the Games close on Feb. 20, you can receive the Ottawa at the Olympics Daily Newsletter in your inbox each day around lunchtime. That’s when competition will have concluded for the night in Beijing, which is 13 hours ahead of us.
There’ll be quite a few late nights or early mornings if you’re keen to watch all the action live during the Olympics, so you’ll definitely have to get used to the time change calculation – here’s a little cheat sheet to help:
• Morning in Beijing = Evening (the day before) in Ottawa
• Afternoon in Beijing = Overnight (same day) in Ottawa
• Evening in Beijing = Morning in Ottawa
But we’ve got an even better tool that’ll save you from all the math – the OTTAWA OLYMPIANS’ SCHEDULES page on our website.
There, you can view the competition calendar for all our Ottawa athletes (in our time zone!) to see who is in action when.
You can also use the “Ottawa Olympians’ Schedules” navigation bar at the top of our website to select an individual athlete. You can then click on the “subscribe to calendar” menu at the bottom of the athlete’s schedule page to add/export their events to your digital calendar.
What else what we got in store for you? In our daily newsletter and on our website, our reporting team will give you a recap of the last day’s events, plus a preview of what’s to come. We’ll have interviews with athletes, and others involved with the Olympics too.
(Just in case you’re wondering, our reporting team is based here in Canada, so we’ll be connecting with our local Olympians online/by phone whenever possible.)
We’ll also plan to share links to highlights from the CBC (they are of course Canada’s host broadcaster) and share their coverage when they highlight Ottawa athletes as well.
Day 1 Preview: 14 Ottawa Olympians set to compete in Beijing
We’ve got an awesome team of 14 Ottawa Olympians ready to represent Canada in Beijing. We’ll tell you a lot more about each of them throughout the Olympics in this newsletter, but here is local team we’ll be following in the coming weeks:
• curlers Rachel Homan & John Morris (mixed doubles), and Dawn McEwen & Lisa Weagle (women’s)
• freestyle skiers Hannah & Jared Schmidt (ski cross)
• hockey players Mason McTavish & Eric O’Dell (men’s), and Jamie Lee Rattray (women’s)
• sliders Mike Evelyn & Cody Sorensen (bobsleigh), and Mimi Rahneva (skeleton)
• and speedskaters Ivanie Blondin & Isabelle Weidemann
We’ll get into some fun predictions when they get closer to giving out the medals, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that every one of our local athletes are contenders for medals.
Canada is a very strong winter sports nation of course. When the first Canadian climbs onto the podium in Beijing – and our local speedskaters have a chance to be that person – they will collect our country’s milestone 200th Winter Olympic medal of all-time.
You’re welcome to check out the pre-Games profiles we’ve put together on each of our Ottawa Olympians on OttawaSportsPages.ca (that series is already well underway, and we’ll continue to post a new story each day up to this weekend).
And of course we’ll tell you all about them in greater detail in our daily previews as their competitions are coming up. But let’s start with a few statistics on our local team:
About 1 out of 15 Team Canada athletes is from Ottawa, which is around 3 times as many as you’d expect based on our population. And those numbers get even more impressive if you add another 6 athletes from the larger national capital region. It certainly helped that just about every local athlete who was on the bubble for the Canadian Olympic team wound up being chosen to enter the Beijing bubble.
“I’m really proud to be from Ottawa,” Rachel Homan said in an interview with the Sports Pages’ Ethan Diamandas. “Always lots of support, and it definitely kind of helps the psyche when you’re going into isolation.”
A couple other neat local stats: Ottawa owns the youngest member of men’s hockey team, Mason McTavish (who turned 19 on Sunday), as well as the oldest Canadian male Olympian out of all sports – 43-year-old John Morris, the two-time Olympic champion curler.
“This may be my last kick at the can for Canada,” Morris told Diamandas. “And you can bet on it, I’ll have every ounce, every piece of my heart going into this.”
Ottawa Olympians in action on Day 1:
The main goal for Homan and Morris over the course of their nine round-robin contests will be to finish in the top-4 of 10 teams in order to secure a spot in the semi-finals. CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux lays out all the logistics in this preview piece.
The stakes aren’t super high for Jamie Lee Rattray and Team Canada in the early-going of the women’s hockey tournament. The top-5 ranked nations have been put in Group A and are all guaranteed a spot in the quarter-final round (where they’ll be joined by the top-3 finishers of the 5-team Group B that features lower-ranked nations). Switzerland will be the opponent for 29-year-old Rattray’s Olympic debut.
Ottawa at the Olympics Central webpage
If we’ve thrown a lot of info your way here, well, that is indeed part of our goal, but we do have a pretty easy way to keep track of everything: go ahead and bookmark our Ottawa at the Olympics Central webpage:
That’s where we’ll post links to all our coverage in one place.
We’ll finish our Day 1 coverage with a little perk to entice you with to join our free Ottawa at the Olympics Daily Newsletter subscriber list – if you sign up, you’ll be entered into our contest to win a $100 gift card to Kunstadt Sports. We’ll make that draw at the end of the Games.
If you’d like to return some love for us, we’d be glad to have you share the sign up link on social media, or directly with anyone else you know who may be interested in receiving Ottawa at the Olympics news. Here is the link where they can sign up:
We hope you enjoy our coverage and watching the Olympics over the next 19 days – it’s gonna be a great ride!
This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Olympics Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.
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