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4 Team Canada sports to watch this weekend: Jan. 5-7 – Team Canada

4 Team Canada sports to watch this weekend: Jan. 5-7 – Team Canada

AP Photo, Giovanni Auletta/Vincent Corochet, World Sailing/Canadian Press, Daryl Dyck

Team Canada is gearing up for 2024 with a weekend full of sporting events.

In winter sports, Canadian alpine and cross-country skiers compete in World Cups abroad, alongside Team Canada athletes. It's not just winter sports athletes, as Canadian sailors take on the world at the ILCA 6 Women's World Championships.

Sailing

The ILCA 6 Women's World Championship will be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Sarah Douglas is the Canadian leader in this competition, as only boats will be participating in the ILCA 6 single-handed dinghy category. At the World Sailing Championships held in The Hague, Netherlands, last August, Douglas (who finished sixth in Tokyo 2020) earned a spot Kota is an Olympian for Canada at Paris 2024 in the ILCA 6 category. Clara Graveley will also compete for Canada in Mar del Plata.

This is the first of two regattas that will be used to determine which Canadian sailor will compete in the ILCA 6 in Paris 2024. The results from the ILCA 6 World Championships and the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in late March will be added together and the sailor with the lowest overall score will receive an Olympic spot.

Weather permitting, racing begins on Friday with two races each day, leading up to the medal race on January 10.

Alpine skiing

Canadian figure skiers are competing this weekend, with the women competing in the FIS Alpine World Cup in Kranjska Gora, Slovakia and the men competing in Adelboden, Switzerland. Both stops will include giant slalom races on Saturday, followed by slalom races on Sunday.

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On the women's side, Valerie Grenier is one to watch out for. She finished 2023 with a fourth-place finish in the giant slalom at the FIS World Cup in Linz, Austria, her best result so far this season. Grenier's first World Cup podium win came almost a year ago in Kranjska Gora in the giant slalom. Ali Nollmayer has been Canada's best slalom skier so far this season and sits sixth in the World Cup standings.

Eric Reid is one to watch on the men's side, as he seeks to improve on his final result of 2023, a 25th-place finish at the World Cup Slalom in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.

Cross-country skiing

The final stop on the FIS Tour de Ski takes place this weekend in Val di Fiemme, Italy. The Tour de Ski is contested as part of the FIS World Cup circuit, and is modeled on the Tour de France, with athletes competing in stages and the leader wearing a distinctive jersey. Val di Fiemme is the traditional finish of the Tour, and includes the “final climb” during which athletes race down an alpine skiing course.

Saturday will see a 15km mass start in classic technique, and Sunday's 10km mass start setup in freestyle technique (which includes the famous final climb).

After the first five races, Olympian Antoine Cyr took tenth place in the men's ski race standings. He received a boost in the world rankings by finishing seventh in the 20km classic pursuit race in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday. He had started the stage in 24th place, more than a minute behind the leaders, but charged through the field to achieve his best result of the season. His teammate Olivier Léveillé is 49th heading into the weekend. Olympian Katherine Stewart-Jones unfortunately had to withdraw from the women's ski race after just one stage due to illness.

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Big flip flops

Canadian racers will hit the track in Winterberg, Germany this weekend for the FIL World Cup. This venue will also host the 2024 Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships from February 19 to March 3.

Canada will be represented by Trinity Ellis, Kaitlyn Nash and Ember Lee Sosco in women's singles, Dylan Morse in men's singles, as well as Devin Wardrop and Cole Szajanski in men's doubles.

Eighteen-year-old Susko made a huge breakthrough at the end of 2023, finishing with a career-best ninth place in the women's singles at the FIL World Cup at her home track in Whistler in mid-December. She also recorded top-10 finishes in women's doubles and as part of the relay team.

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