Ottawa at the Olympics Day 9: Weidemann pockets silver
By Ethan Diamandas & Charlie Pinkerton (This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Olympics Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.)
What an exciting morning it was for Canada.
There were plenty of Ottawa athletes in action Thursday, including one young skater looking to claim her second medal of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Canada’s all-star curling squad also showed its prowess in a high-scoring affair, while the men’s hockey team got some revenge.
We give you how it all came together.
Weidemann wins silver in 5,000 metre
With one Olympic medal — a bronze from the 3,000 metres — already in her luggage, Gloucester Concordes alumna Isabelle Weidemann adjusted her neon yellow goggles and shuffled to the starting line for Thursday’s 5,000-metre race.
At the gun she moved her slender frame as quick as she could, falling nearly two seconds behind the leader’s pace in the first two laps.
But that’s where Weidemann thrives. The 26-year-old isn’t a quick-twitch skater, instead it’s her incredible endurance that sets her apart — and as the race hit the halfway point she took the lead.
By the five-minute mark, her paired opponent, Norway’s Ragne Wiklund, was well behind her. Weidemann’s coach could be heard on the broadcast shouting encouragement as the skater grimaced and shifted upright for her final lap.
Keeled over with her tongue out in exhaustion, Weidemann snapped her goggles off and flashed a meager smile. Her time of 6:48.18 put her well into medal position, but with one pairing left, she was forced to wait in anticipation.
The last pair of skaters to race got off to wickedly quick starts, and Dutch skater Irene Schouten kept the pace. The camera panned to a nervous Weidemann, who watched on nervously, arms crossed, as Schouten blazed to an Olympic record time of 6:43.51.
Weidemann laughed it off, grabbed a Canadian flag, and strolled over to Schouten to congratulate her. It was a silver medal for Weidemann, and, now on the podium, she grinned wide and waved her arms when the loudspeaker belted out her name.
Women’s curling looks in sync
Both the Korean and Canadian women’s curling teams began their first match of the Olympic tournament by feeling out the sheet. The teams’ first few ends created some very messy houses by the time Canada skip Jennifer Jones got to throw her stones.
Korea led until Canada shook out of its sluggish start when Jones delivered a massive three points to close out the fourth end with the lead. By the seventh end, Team Jones looked firmly in control of the match, but Korea wouldn’t relent.
Dawn McEwen was solid as Canada’s lead, and Lisa Weagle watched from the bench, as Canada’s most accomplished women’s curler of all time, Jones, anchored their team’s 12-7 victory.
Jones uncorked the hammer in the ninth end, while McEwen swept with cautious cadence. It was a spectacular shot that settled right on the button.
“That’s perfect,” McEwen exclaimed.
As Canada’s Ottawa-produced mixed doubles duo learned earlier in the Games, curling competition around the world has improved, and if Canada’s shootout of a first match is any indication, the rest of the tournament will be plenty of fun.
Men’s hockey erases doubts
In men’s hockey, Canada looked to avenge its semifinals loss to Germany at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games by punishing its opponents physically.
Ottawa’s Eric O’Dell delivered a bone-crushing hit early in the first period, which forced a turnover and led to a point shot that landed in the back of the Germans’ net, giving Canada an early lead.
Dressed in sleek black and red uniforms, Canada overmatched its German opponents. In the blink of an eye, Canada buried two more goals, with Daniel Winnik finishing off a cross-crease one-timer to increase the lead to three.
The 5-1 win was essentially over after the first period, as the surprisingly dominant Canadian crew rumbled through Germany for all 60 minutes, erasing any doubts about its competitiveness in these Beijing Games.
Ottawa coach helps aerials team secure bronze
Canada’s aerials trio of Marion Thénault, Miha Fontaine and Lewis Irving claimed bronze medals on the ninth day of competition, and some Ottawa influence helped them get there.
Jeff Bean coached the team to the Olympic medal that eluded him in during his multi-decade-long career. Bean finished one spot down from the podium in the men’s aerials competition in 2002, his second of three appearances at the Games as an athlete.
CBC wrote more about the new mixed team event, and how Canada’s threesome pulled off a surprise medal performance.
Day 10 Preview: Skeleton begins
When Nepean’s Mirela Rahneva walks up the gate and drops her visor, some weight will lift off her shoulders.
For Rahneva, sliding is the easy part — it’s even therapeutic — but, in the lead up to the these Olympics, all the off-the-course stuff has been difficult.
The 33-year-old told the Sports Pages she felt “off” early in this year’s World Cup season, and she eventually reached out for mental health support to deal with the stress of training and anxiety onset by COVID-19 protocols.
Rahneva is a spiritual person, though, and one of her mottos — “let your faith be bigger than your fear” — comes from a close friend.
“It’s actually a quote that another Ottawa athlete, Eric Wiebe, gave to me,” Rahneva said.
Wiebe, an Olympic champion wrestler from Stittsville, gave Rahneva the quote inscribed on a piece of wood, and it’s something Rahneva turns to in tougher times. Unfortunately, those haven’t been rare for Rahneva, who had to overcome funding shortages by finding her own sponsors to make it to her second Olympics.
As trying as it’s been to even get to the Beijing Games, she has very simple self-talk planned for when she reaches the gate of the skeleton course at 8:30 p.m. eastern on Thursday, and the light turns green.
“Relax and let it fly” is what she said she’ll be thinking.
Women’s curling, hockey pick up pace
McEwen, Weagle and Canada’s curling squad take on Japan just a few hours after their last win, with the first stones being thrown at 1:05 a.m. eastern.
Jamie Lee Rattray and Canada’s women’s hockey team begin their playoff round with a matchup against Sweden at 8:10 a.m. eastern on Friday.
For Canada, it should be a relatively manageable game. Sweden hasn’t medalled in the Olympics since 2006 in Turin, and it failed to qualify for the World Championships in 2021.
The Canadians are likely to be massive favourites, but head coach Troy Ryan said there was work to be done after his team’s win over the U.S. on Tuesday.
“It’s great that we were able to win, but we have to go back to the drawing board and look at some of the areas we can improve, in particular our puck management,” Ryan said, per Sportsnet. “(We will have to) just tighten up a bit and make some adjustments moving forward.”
The U.S. game was messy, and Canada goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens was forced to stop an outrageous 51 shots. The women will look to clean things up in Friday’s matchup and continue their quest for an Olympic gold.
Ottawa Olympians’ Day 10 Schedule:
View the full competition schedules for all our Ottawa Olympians here.
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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