Canada have excelled in the past two Winter Olympics and excitement is understandably building ahead of the 2018 games in Pyeongchang. Team Canada finished top of the medals table in the 2010 Winter Olympics, held in Vancouver, with its best ever haul of 26 gongs, including 14 golds. In Sochi in 2014 they earned 25 medals, including 10 golds, and that was their second-best performance of all-time. They narrowly lost out to Norway in the final table, but finished ahead of the USA and Russia in second. Canada is therefore expected to be among the frontrunners in South Korea when the Games return in February 2018. Analysis firm Gracenote Sports has crunched the numbers and predicts the team will earn 31 medals but just five golds, which would leave them third in the final standings. However, confidence is high among individual competitors and here are some of the big names to look out for:
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
The ice dance duo is unbeaten in 2017 and won the World Championship in style, so Virtue and Moir are expected to improve upon the silver medal they earned in Sochi. Check Pinnacle Sports for odds on the Games and they will be among the favourites to seize glory in Pyeongchang. They were Olympic champions in 2010 and Canada’s most decorated ice dance team of all time is in a great position to return to the summit of figure skating in February.
Simon Gleave, the head of analysis for Gracenote Sports, tipped Kingsbury to achieve a gold at Pyeongchang, along with Max Parrot, the men’s hockey team, and the male and female curling teams. Kingsbury is just 25 years old but he already holds the world record for the most World Cup podium finishes of any freestyle skier in history. He could only manage a silver last time around but with an extra four years’ experience under his belt he is expected to go one better in February 2018.
Three-time X Games Champion Parrot is famous for constantly pioneering new tricks and making snowboarding history, and he is also is a serious gold medal contender in snowboard big air. The event makes its Olympics debut this year and Parrot is among the world’s best proponents of it, so all eyes will be on him in Pyeongchang. In the 2017 X Games big air contest, he produced his two most daring tricks so far, a switch quad underflip and a cab triple cork 1800, and he is constantly trying to take things another step further, so he will generate a huge amount of excitement.
Hamelin is a four-time Olympic medallist, having won three golds and a silver spread across the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Games. He is now 33 but the competitive spirit shows no signs of mellowing and he will be a real threat in individual and relay speed skating events.
Gracenote Sports has tipped Humphries for a silver, but it did the same in 2014 and she made a mockery of the prediction by comfortably winning gold. She also finished top of the pile in 2010 and goes into the 2018 Games full of confidence after finishing second at both world championships. The bobsled legend saves her best performances for the Olympics and her rivals should beware.
Another event making its Olympics debut in Pyeongchang is mass start speed skating and that is perfect for Blondin, who won the world championship in 2016. She also leads the way for the Canadian long track speed skating team, which will be a real contender in the February showpiece.