Weekend Roundup: Loutitt makes ski jumping history, Messing makes a moment at figure skating nationals
It was an exciting and historic weekend for Team Canada athletes. It started with Alexandria Loutitt becoming the first Canadian woman to ever win a World Cup ski jumping event. It also featured Canadian figure skating champions being crowned, including an emotional Keegan Messing in the midst of his farewell to the sport.
Take a look back at all the memorable moments:
Ski Jumping: Loutitt flies to historic World Cup win
Alexandria Loutitt became the first Canadian woman to win a FIS Ski Jumping World Cup event. She had her historic moment on Friday in Zao, Japan where she earned a total of 240.3 points for her two jumps on the normal hill. This achievement came just a week after she celebrated her 19th birthday with a Canadian record of 135.5 metres in a large hill event. The victory also marked Loutitt’s first career World Cup podium.
Loutitt followed up her win with a fourth-place finish on Saturday in the women’s team event with Abigail Strate. They missed the podium by just 1.3 points.
Bobsleigh: Appiah slides back onto World Cup podium
Cynthia Appiah took home her third medal of the IBSF World Cup season with a bronze in the women’s monobob in Altenberg, Germany. She narrowly beat out Germany’s Lisa Buckwitz by 0.06 of a second after the two runs to earn the final spot on the podium at one of the toughest tracks in the world to navigate. Bianca Ribi placed ninth in that monobob race.
Appiah did not compete in the two-woman race after her sled disqualified. Ribi and brakewoman Niamh Haughey placed seventh. Taylor Austin and Shaquille Murray-Lawrence finished ninth in the two-man and eighth in the four-man, joined in the latter by Davison de Souza and Cyrus Gray.
Skeleton: Rahneva nearly earns medal on nemesis track
Mirela Rahneva came up just shy of earning a second straight World Cup medal. She finished fourth on Friday in the women’s skeleton event in Altenberg, Germany — her career best result on that very difficult track. Learning lessons from the past, Rahneva rode a newer, stiffer sled she purchased to better handle the high pressure curves found in Altenberg.
Rahneva’s two-run time of 1:57.61 left her 0.16 of a second out of the bronze medal position. She had been in third place after the first run but dropped off the podium with only the seventh-fastest second run. Jane Channell finished in 11th place.
Biathlon: Lunder earns third top-10 of season
Emma Lunder skied and shot her way back into the top-10 on the IBU Biathlon World Cup circuit. She finished ninth in the 12.5km mass start event in Ruhpolding, Germany on Sunday after missing just twice in her four rounds of shooting. This was Lunder’s best result since placing in the top-five in sprint and pursuit events at the World Cup opener in Finland in early December.
Figure Skating: Canadian champions crowned, world championship team named
It was a weekend to remember at the 2023 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Oshawa, Ontario.
Saturday night was capped off by fan favourite and two-time Olympian Keegan Messing claiming his second straight national title. He’ll be retiring at the end of the season and the home crowd made sure he knew how much he is loved. It made for a super emotional moment that prompted tears. But Messing also brought the cheers when he gave the fans one more celebratory backflip.
He still has the world championships ahead of him in March. Which other Canadian man will join him at the worlds is still to be decided. Conrad Orzel (who won silver at nationals) and Stephen Gogolev (who won the free skate to move up from 17th to 4th) will be competing at the Four Continents Championships in early February.
Also becoming a two-time national champion was Madeline Schizas. She’ll be Canada’s lone representative in the women’s event at the world championships.
There were new champions in the pairs event. Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps took the title by almost 12 points over last year’s junior champions Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar. Stellato-Dudek has been fighting through illness since November. Though no longer contagious, she has been battling respiratory issues but was determined to be the partner that won Deschamps his first title in his 10th appearance at the nationals. Those two teams will be joined by bronze medallists Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud at the worlds. It is a quick rise for a partnership that is only about five months old.
Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen won the ice dance gold by six-tenths of a point over Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha in a thrilling event. Unfortunately, Canada only has two ice dance spots for the world championships and so the new national champions will be joined in Saitama, Japan by Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier. Gilles and Poirier, who won the Grand Prix Final in December, were unable to compete at the nationals as Gilles was recovering from an appendectomy.
Curling: Breakthrough for new Team Bottcher
Calgary’s Team Bottcher (composed of Brendan Bottcher, Marc Kennedy, Brett Gallant and Ben Hebert) won their first Grand Slam of Curling title together at the Canadian Open in Camrose, Alberta. The team formed this past off-season claimed the men’s championship with a 5-3 win over reigning Olympic and world champion Niklas Edin of Sweden.
Team Einarson were the runners-up in the women’s event, dropping the final 5-3 to Team Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan.