Before the opening ceremonies of the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang on Friday, Team Canada came away with the lead in team figure skating and tied at the top of the standings in mixed doubles curling.
In team figure skating, Canada had a wonderful performance from Meagan Duhamel of Sudbury, Ontario and Eric Radford of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Duhamel and Radford skated clean and helped move Canada to first place in the overall standings with 17 points.
Duhamel and Radford had the second best score of 10 pairs teams in the pairs short program. They posted a score of 76.57 points, which was 3.35 points fewer than the leaders, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia.
However, more importantly, Duhamel and Radford helped give Canada nine of the 17 points and a comfortable lead over the United States who are in second place with 14 total points. The Olympic Athletes of Russia and Japan are tied for bronze with 13 points.
Canadian figure skating fans should be ecstatic that Patrick Chan of Ottawa, Ontario is ahead of Nathan Chen of the United States and Mikhail Kolyada of the Olympic Athletes from Russia. Chan, Chen and Kolyada all skated poorly, but Chan got the edge over his counterparts because he attempted triple jumps even though he fell twice. Chen popped a jump and Kolyada fell early and never regrouped.
Chan continues to show artistic mastery even when he is struggling technically. He found himself in third place behind the leader Shoma Uno of Japan and the surprise second place finisher of Oleksii Bychenko.
On Saturday in team figure skating, the events are the ladies and ice dance short program and the pairs long program.
In mixed doubles curling, Team Canada head coach Jeff Stoughton should be very pleased with the performances of Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Lawes and Morris delivered convincing wins over China (10-4) and Finland (8-2). In Canada’s win over China, Lawes and Morris had a terrific start as they scored three points in the first end and four points in the third end.
In Canada’s 8-2 win over Finland, they scored five points in the sixth end and then shook hands. However one must remember, that was not the most number of points Canada scored against Finland in Olympic curling. In the gold medal game of men’s curling at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, St. John’s Brad Gushue scored six points in the sixth end en route to beating Finland’s Markku Uusipaavalniemi 10-4.
There is a four-way tie for the lead at the moment in mixed doubles curling at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Canada, Switzerland, Norway and the Olympic Athletes from Russia are all at 3-1.