Ted-Jan Bloemen

On December 1, I attended the Olympic Oval for a World Cup speed skating event and filed a report for the Independent Sports News. On that particular day, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary won the silver medal in the men’s 5000 m race.

Bloemen’s biggest challenge was getting by Netherlands superstar Sven Kramer. There were many questions in the post-race scrum about his rivalry with Kramer, and Bloemen was extremely professional, but at the same time had a quiet sense of confidence in his responses.

On Thursday, Bloemen delivered an Olympic gold medal in Pyeongchang in the biggest endurance race speed skating has to offer. Bloemen just didn’t beat Kramer in the men’s 10000 m, he smashed him by 21.25 seconds. Even Jordan Belchos of Toronto, Ontario, who finished fifth, beat Kramer, the reigning 10000m world champion, by 1.51 seconds.

It has simply been a remarkable Olympic Winter Games for Bloemen, who has received the Canadian speed skating torch from Denny Morrison. Even though Bloemen is 31 years old, one would think he might just have one more Olympic Winter Games left in him four years from now in Beijing.

Canada won two other medals on Thursday. It was an emotional medal for the Canadian mixed relay luge team, which won silver. Four years ago in Sochi, they finished fourth. Then four days before Christmas, they had their position upgraded to bronze when the International Olympic Committee stripped the Russians of their medals for the doping scandal in Sochi. Then right before the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the CAS reinstated the Russians and Canada settled for fourth.

The Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang has simply been magical for Alex Gough of Calgary. Gough is leaving luge at the end of the season with a silver and bronze medal, making her the greatest Canadian luger of all-time.

Another two high performance Canadian athletes who are going out on the medal podium are pairs figure skaters Meagan Duhamel of Sudbury, Ontario and Eric Radford of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Duhamel and Radford had a strong free skate Thursday even though Duhamel had one touch down. They are now two-time world champions and three-time Olympic medalists.

In men’s and women’s hockey, Canada came away with wins. The Canadian men beat Switzerland 5-1 on two goals each from Rene Bourque and Wojtek Wolski. The Canadian women beat the United States 2-1 on a game winning goal by Sarah Nurse. In curling, the Canadian men are 3-0 and the Canadian women are 0-2. Rachel Homan now holds the distinction as the first Canadian skip to lose her first two games at a single Olympic Winter Games. Yikes!!!