Sport Shorts: What a Weekend

London, Ont – Canada’s best figure skaters went head to head at the Canadian Championships, many of them aiming to fulfill the ultimate Olympic dream. Patrick Chan won his third straight Canadian title Sunday and will head to Vancouver for the Olympic Winter Games. His huge final score of 268.02 points was seconded by Vaughn Chipeur’s 222.10 points, and Chipeur will also compete in his first Games. On the ladies side, it was no surprise for Joannie Rochette to have a fantastic free skate and win the Canadian title with 208.23 points. Cynthia Phaneuf proved she is a force as well, as she will join Rochette in Vancouver.

Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison won the pairs title with 198.27 points. There was a big challenge for second place, and winning an Olympic berth were Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay (183.42 points) – ahead of Meagan Duhamel and Craig Buntin (172.18). Perhaps the highlight of the event was ice dance duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, turning in a thundering performance in their hometown, and setting a new Canadian record of 221.95 points. There was a very tight challenge for the second Olympic spot, one of the closest possible. In the end, Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier scored 184.70 points, barely edging Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje at 184.40.

Nendaz, SUI –Toronto’s Michael Lambert won gold Sunday at a World Cup parallel giant slalom race here. He is the third Canadian to win a World Cup in this Olympic event, along with Jasey-Jay Anderson and Matthew Morison. Anderson and Lambert now sit second and third in the World Cup rankings.

St. Moritz, SUI – Saturday, the breakthrough season for bobsleigh pilot Lyndon Rush continued. He drove Canada 1 to a gold medal in the two-man bobsleigh, in St. Moritz, where the sport was born. It is his first career World Cup victory. This came despite brakeman Lascelles Brown being sick all night with stomach flu. The other duo enjoying a breakout season are Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse. They finished fourth, the first time off the podium in three races. On Sunday in the four-man race, Pierre Lueders guided his crew of Jesse Lumsden, Neville Wright and Justin Kripps to sixth spot.

St. Moritz, SUI – If you missed it on Friday, skeleton star Mellisa Hollingsworth won a silver medal at the historic track here. On the men’s side, Mike Douglas posted a career-high 4th-place result.

Park City, Utah – Boy oh boy, Jenn Heil is some athlete. The 2006 Olympic moguls champion won two gold medals here in back-to-back races – the same thing she did last week in Calgary. That is four straight wins for Heil. On Saturday night, 2009 world dual moguls champion Alex Bilodeau won the bronze medal in the men’s final. Keeping pace was Maxime Gingras in fourth place, still aiming for an Olympic spot. Gingras said it was the best run of his life.

Wengen, SUI – Downhill master Manuel Osborne-Paradis won his third World Cup medal of the season Saturday, a silver to go with his two previous gold medals. It his ninth career World Cup medal and he is looking awfully strong heading into Olympic prime time. The next-highest man was Erik Guay in 18th spot. On Sunday, Canada had three skiers finish in the top-20 in a slalom race. Mike Janyk was 10th, Julien Cousineau was 14th and Brad Spence was 19th.

Veysonnaz, SUI – Here on Friday, snowboard cross veterans Dominique Maltais and Maelle Ricker won silver and bronze medals, respectively, after a very impressive World Cup performance. Ricker, an Olympic snowboarder in both cross and halfpipe, leads the overall rankings. Maltais, who won Olympic bronze in this event in 2006, sits second overall in the rankings. In Veysonnaz, François Boivin had the best run, finishing fourth on the men’s side.

Oberhof, GER – Regan Lauscher is getting back on track, if you will, with a season-best result in luge on Saturday. She finished in ninth spot, having battled back from major injuries sustained in a luge crash in 2007. Lauscher remains the only Canadian ever to win a silver World Cup medal (in 2004). The top doubles team over the weekend was Chris and Mike Moffat, in 11th spot.

Ruhpolding, GER – Zina Kocher continues to excel in biathlon, finishing a strong 17th in the 12.5 km mass start race on Saturday. Jean-Philippe Le Guellec was the lone Canadian in the men’s 15 km mass start race and finished 22nd.

Calgary, Alta – Michelle Kelly succeeded in earning Canada a third competitor in women’s skeleton. Despite a nagging leg injury, Kelly finished third in an Intercontinental Cup race at Canada Olympic Park. That result allowed the Canadian Olympic Team to send three sleds. And that third one belongs to a (likely smiling) Amy Gough.