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100 days from Beijing, Canadian Olympians take it to the next level – .

100 days from Beijing, Canadian Olympians take it to the next level – .

100 days from Beijing, Canadian Olympians take it to the next level – .

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The sporting calendar has been completely shaken after the unprecedented one-year postponement of the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Most notable, amid the various restart of the league and event schedules, is having two Olympics six months apart. This has not happened since the International Olympic Committee began staggering the Summer and Winter Games in 1994.

But in just 100 days – February 4, 2022 – the Olympic flame will be lit again, this time in Beijing for the 24th Winter Olympics.

With a myriad of cancellations due to COVID-19, the race to complete the events and qualify the athletes for Tokyo seemed, at times, impossible. Now the race to start all over is underway.

But that’s exactly where Marie-Phillip Poulin wants to be.

The captain of the Canadian women’s hockey team treats practice in October as if a gold medal is at stake.

Marie-Philip Poulin, center, comforts her teammates after their shootout loss to the United States at the 2018 Olympics. The Team Canada captain waited four years to avenge the loss at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. (Nathan Denette / Canadian Press)

” I love that. There is one place where I am happiest and most myself and that is at the rink, ”she told CBC Sports.

Poulin has been waiting four years to return to other Games – his fourth – in revenge after a heart-wrenching shootout loss to the Americans in Pyeongchang.

“This moment crushed me a bit. A lot actually, ”said the 30-year-old from Beauceville, Que. “It’s still pretty fresh on my mind. But you have to look to the future and we know where we need to be right now. “

There is no panic from Poulin as Beijing concentrates. In fact, you won’t see many Canadian winter athletes panicking as time goes on. Most seem comfortable.

It’s a bit of a different preparation from these Olympics compared to the turmoil before Tokyo, when the athletes were forced to pivot and prepare for a lot longer than expected.

WATCH | Canadian women win Olympic gold in soccer:


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Canada’s women’s soccer team makes history with Olympic gold

After back-to-back bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Games, Canada’s women’s soccer team had the greatest moment in its history, beating Sweden for Olympic gold. 2:59

No one really knew what the Games would look like in Japan with all the new protocols and a seemingly endless moving target of qualifying, training conditions and restrictions. But the Canadians who participated showed resilience and adaptability, which many winter athletes were watching closely.

In particular, the women’s soccer team which won gold.

“We watched it a lot. We were at camp in Calgary for [the world championships] and the [women’s soccer] the final was amazing. We were delighted to watch this. I think we can relate to them a lot. It was special, said Poulin.

The Canadian women’s hockey roster will be announced at the end of December, with the 26-player team reduced to 20 at the end of the ongoing centralization camp.

“This is all a process. We want to learn day by day, ”said head coach Troy Ryan. “As much as people tend to watch the scores, the centralization process aims to be successful in February and this lineup and exhibition games will make us better. “

It’s qualifying season right now, with hundreds of Olympic hopefuls competing on ice rinks, mountains and icy tracks seeking the right to wear the maple leaf in Beijing. The next three months will decide the fate of the athletes who have spent their lives preparing. Team Canada will be announced at the end of January.

Poulin, center, celebrates losing to the United States to win gold at the Women’s World Championship in August. (Jeff McIntosh / Canadian Press)

‘It’s getting real’

Freestyle skier Justine Dufour-Lapointe, who won Olympic gold in 2014, is aiming for other Games.

“It’s getting real. We can count the number of sleeps until the Olympics now, ”she said. “I wake up every day knowing my goal, knowing the plan and focusing on it. One step at a time. That’s all we need to focus on. “

Her sister, Chloé Dufour-Lapointe, won silver in freestyle in 2014 and is aiming to qualify for her fourth Olympics.

“We are exactly where we need to be,” she said. “I feel serene. I feel prepared. ”

The freestyle team, including 2018 Olympic champion Mikaël Kingsbury, competed in seven World Cup competitions ahead of the Beijing Games. Kingsbury has dominated the World Cup scene and is once again a favorite to reach the top step of the podium at the Olympics.

Mikael Kingsbury and Justine Dufour-Lapointe are expected to play in the moguls in Beijing. (Paul Chiasson / Canadian Press)

In addition to training in Canada, many athletes have also traveled to international venues.

The Canadian four-man bobsleigh team are now in Beijing, training on the track they will use during the Games. And earlier this week, Torontonian Cynthia Appiah took bronze in the women’s monobob event in a test event in Beijing, where the discipline will make its Olympic debut.

Cynthia Appiah shoots to represent Canada in the two-man bobsleigh and women’s monobob. (Submitted by Cynthia Appiah)

Ice dance duo Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier have started their season and are preparing for the Grand Prix circuit ahead of the national figure skating championships in January. The two started off with a victory in mid-September at the International Fall Classic in Quebec City.

They just won bronze at the world championships last March, their first medal in the event in eight tries.

“We are responsible for our own destiny. We’re really trying to figure out how to be our best in February to get on that podium at the Olympics, ”said Gilles. “What we want to feel is what we are going to feel. It’s all a matter of preparation. “

Poirier says their goal is to get better every day and with every competition and not fall into the trap of peaking too early.

“It is important not to take the lead. We don’t need to have our Olympic performance this week, ”he told CBC Sports. “Trying to force this now is foolish. We are happy with the work we are doing and aware of what we need to do at the Olympics. “

Speed ​​skater Ted-Jan Bloemen, 2018 Olympic 10,000-meter champion, says he’s extremely focused on his training. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Canada’s short and long track speed skaters kick off their World Cup season with crucial races in November and December not only to prepare for the Olympics, but also to earn spots on the team.

Earlier this month, Speed ​​Skating Canada held its national championships in Calgary to set the competitive tone for the season. Ted-Jan Bloemen, the 2018 Olympic 10,000-meter champion, says he’s extremely focused at this point in his training.

“I think I’m as prepared as possible for this time of year. I know I’m on the right track. It’s a really motivating feeling, ”he said.

Bloemen set a new national record at this event. He did the same before Pyeongchang and ended up winning gold.

“It’s fun to watch where I was then and where I am now. It has been such a long time already. An Olympic cycle already ”, he declared. “This gold is something I will cherish for the rest of my life and would love to do it again. “

Canada’s chef de mission knows very well what speed skaters go through. Catriona Le May Doan is a two-time Olympic champion, winning gold in the 500 meters in 1998 and again in 2002.

She says every athlete is now in countdown mode.

“One hundred days before is an exciting step because it means ‘this is real’,” she said. “The Games are the place where athletes hope to bring together all the physical, mental, emotional and team work so that they can achieve their best athletic performances in Beijing.

“This step brings nerves, but also excitement and pride. “

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