IBSF – International Ski Federation (ISU)
Team Canada is competing all over the world this weekend as the winter season continues to dominate the scene.
Canadian snowboarders are in Finland for the last leg of the ISU Grand Prix, while speed skaters and skeleton athletes revisit ancient trample fields in China as they race on fields used during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Some of Canada's best alpine skiers will arrive To the European slopes, and in more temperate climates, Brooke Henderson cruised into the final LPGA Tour event of the season in Florida.
Here's what you don't want to miss this weekend:
Three Canadian pairs will compete in the fifth leg of the ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix in Espoo, Finland this weekend.
Canadian champions Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolai Sorensen return to competition in the ice dancing event. After winning silver at the French Grand Prix at the start of the month, another similar result is likely to secure them a place in December's Grand Prix Final, which will only feature the top six teams from the autumn series. They are the second seed in Espoo, behind training mates and current world champions, Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States.
They will be joined at the Dancing on Ice event by Nadia Bacsinska and Peter Beaumont, who will be making their Grand Prix debut. Last season they won the Junior Grand Prix Final before taking bronze at the ISU World Junior Championships.
Another rising duo, Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Maimar, will represent Canada in the duet event. They placed sixth at Skate Canada International in late October and are aiming to get back on the podium at the Grand Prix after winning their first medal, a bronze, last year at the NHK Cup.
Competition begins Friday with short programs/rhythm dance, and free skating is scheduled for Saturday. CBC will have full coverage via live broadcast.
READ: 2023-24 Canada Winter Team Preview: Ice Sports
Long track speed skating
After kicking off the FIS World Cup season in Obihiro, Japan, last week, Canadian long track skaters are competing in Beijing, China, on the same oval where the most recent Olympic competition was held.
Evanie Blondin, who began the defense of her overall World Cup title by winning gold last week, will look to follow that up with another strong performance on Saturday. In fourth place in Obihiro, Valerie Maltese is aiming for her first podium finish this season, having won an individual medal on the track in 2022-23. The team pursuit, in which they both regularly compete, is not part of this weekend's programme.
There are a few Canadian men who would like to stand on the podium for the first time this season. Antoine Gelinas Beaulieu finished fourth in the mass start last weekend, but his previous success in the event includes a bronze medal at the 2020 World Individual Distance Championships. Ted-Jan Plomin is coming off a fourth-place finish in the 5,000 metres, and will be on the start line on Saturday.
Laurent Dubruy, last year's World Cup champion in the men's 500 metres, has two podium chances in the event with races scheduled for Friday and Saturday. He will also compete in the 1,000m on Sunday, the event in which he won the Olympic silver medal in Beijing 2022.
Also watch for the Canadian trio in the men's and women's team sprint events on Saturday and Sunday respectively. These events are not on the Olympic program, but Canada is world champion in both.
The IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup starts this weekend in Yancheng, China – on the same ice track that was used at Beijing 2022. Canadian fans will be focused on Friday's women's skeleton races featuring Mirela Rahneva, Jeanne Chanel and Halle. Clark will compete.
Rahneva is coming off a resurgent season that saw her win bronze at the IBSF World Championships and finish third in the overall World Cup standings. She finished fifth on the Yancheng track in her second Olympic appearance. Chanel, also a veteran of the circuit, had a top-10 finish in the World Cup last season and finished sixth in the World Championship.
Clark, who is just 19 years old, returns to competing for Canada after representing the United States last season. As a rookie on the World Cup circuit, she won two silver medals, one at the start of last season and one at the end of last season. She also cruised to gold in the U20 division at the 2023 World Junior Championships.
The rest of the Canadian team is staying close to home, taking part in the North American Cup event in Lake Placid. This includes Canada's top athlete, Blake Enzis, as well as the entire bobsleigh team. There is no women's bobsleigh event on the schedule in Yanqing, so it made more sense for the bobsleigh team to begin its World Cup campaign at the second stop in La Plagne, France, in December.
The men's FIS Alpine World Cup slalom is scheduled to take place in Gurgul, Austria, on Saturday. The Canadian men who specialize in technical events are hoping to participate in their first White Circus race of the season after the giant slalom race scheduled to be held in Sölden, Austria, at the end of October was canceled due to high winds. Eric Reid is the top-ranked Canadian man on the World Cup slalom start list.
There are also two Women's World Cup races scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Zermatt-Cervinia, on a course that runs from Switzerland to Italy. The hope is to avoid the same fate as the men's downhill events that were supposed to be held there last weekend but were canceled due to heavy snow and wind. Canadian Stephanie Fleckenstein will be in the starting gate.
READ: 2023-24 Canada Winter Team Preview: Alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding
After starting the 2023 season with a win at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in January, Brooke Henderson is still searching for a second LPGA Tour win this season. She will look to claim the title in the final event of the season at the CME Group Championship, held at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.
She came close to achieving another title when she finished second in the Evian Championship in July. At the end of October she finished tied for sixth at the Maybank Championship.
Read: Brooke Henderson's legendary 13 victories on the LPGA Tour