Saturday has the potential to be a magical day for team Canada in two Olympic events on the first full day of Olympic competition.
In men's slopestyle snowboarding, Canada has three snowboarders in the twelve man final (CBC, 1:45 a.m.), and all three have something in common. Sebastien Toutant of Montreal, Mark McMorris of Regina and Max Parrot of Cowansville, Quebec have all won Winter X Games gold medals on multiple occasions. Andrew Chang of CBC discussed the possiblity of a Canadian sweep, and that is not out of the question here. Snowboarders who will challenge the Canadian trifecta are Staale Sandbech of Norway, who won a World Cup in Copper Mountain, Colorado in December and Peetu Piiroinen of Finland who finished in second in the Olympic qualification.
In women's moguls, Justine, Chloe and Maxine Dufour-Lapointe (three sisters from Montreal) have joined Audrey Robichaud of Quebec City in the first women's final (11:00 a.m., CBC). However an Olympic gold might be tough because it seems to be clear reigning Olympic champion Hannah Kearney of the United States is the first place favourite. But it is clear that Chloe and Justine might have what it takes to get on to the podium. The two finished second and third respectively in the qualifications and have combined for nine World Cup podium placements this season.
In women's hockey Canada will be playing Switzerland in their first game of the 2014 Winter Olympics (6:00 a.m., CBC). The Canadians should be able to dominate the contest. At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada won 10-1.
In other women's hockey action, the United States will face Finland (Sportsnet, 1:00 a.m.). These will be Canada's two toughest opponents in their quest for Olympic gold. Finland beat the USA in pre-tournament action in November at the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid.
Finally in team figure skating, reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of London, Ontario will compete in the short program for ice dance (www.cbc.ca, 7:30 a.m.) and Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, Newfoundland will be compete in the ladies short program (CBC, 9:00 a.m.). Also Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ontario and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto will compete in the pairs long program (www.cbc.ca, 11:00 a.m.). Canada is currently in second place at 17 points after the first day--two points back of Russia. China is in third with 15 points.
Here are my day one pre-Olympic predictions for today's medal events:
Men's slopestyle snowboarding (CBC, 1:45 a.m.)
Women's 15 km cross country skiing (CBC, 3:00 a.m.)
Bronze--Kristin Stoermer Steira--Norway
Men's 5000m speed skating (Sportsnet, 4:00 a.m.)
BRONZE--Bob de Jong--Netherlands
Men's 10km biathlon sprint (Sportsnet One, 7:30 a.m.)
Silver--Emil Hegle Svendsen--Norway
Women's moguls (CBC, 11:00 a.m.)
Gold--Hannah Kearney--United States
Bronze--Eliza Outtrim--United States
* All times mountain.