Updates from Sochi, just for kids

February 24, 2014 No Comments »
Updates from Sochi, just for kids

Welcome to the Active for Life Winter Olympics liveblog, where we’ll be writing – in a kid-friendly way – about the happenings and goings-on in Sochi. Check back regularly for updates, and share the news with your children.


Monday, February 24

Are you feeling at all tired today? Chances are good that if you live in western Canada you might not be caught up on your sleep, yet, after waking up very early yesterday to watch the gold medal hockey game. Hopefully, you’ll agree, though, that Canada made it worth waking up for. And if it’s any consolation, there are about 25 Canadian hockey players who are probably feeling pretty tired right now, too.

As you likely already know, Team Canada beat Sweden 3-0 in the gold medal game on Sunday morning (which was really Sunday afternoon in Sochi). Most of Canada was awake early in the morning for the amazing game. Team Canada was on fire, dominating on the ice for the entire game. Canada scored one goal every period (Jonathan Toews in the first period, then Sidney Crosby in the second, and finally, Chris Kunitz in the third). And goalie, Carey Price, had a shutout, which was his second straight shutout. While we’re on the topic of Price’s shutouts, did you know that he finished the Olympics with 123 saves on 126 shots? Incredible, isn’t he?

The closing ceremony was as exciting and as beautiful as the opening ceremony. We were all waiting to see who would be Canada’s flag bearers. Did you see who it was? It was Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, Canada’s gold-medal-winning bobsleigh duo who also won gold four years ago. They sure looked excited to represent their country in the ceremony. Who could blame them? What a fun day they must have had! Cool lights, beautiful dancing, and lovely music made the closing ceremony a perfect ending to the Sochi 2014 Winter Games. And we all loved when Russia purposely recreated a mistake that had happened with the Olympic rings in the opening ceremony. It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself, isn’t it?

Today might feel a little bit strange without any Olympics events to hear about while you’re having breakfast or walking home from school. But the good news is that in less than two weeks the Paralympic Winter Games will begin in Sochi and we’ll have another round of amazing and inspiring athletes to learn about.

And after that, it will be time to say dasvidaniya, Sochi! (That means goodbye in Russian.) And olá, Rio, Brazil! (That means hello in Portuguese because the 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio.) And anyong haseyo, Pyeongchang, Korea! (That means hello in Korean because the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang.)

Until then, though, you can use some of your free time to do Olympics sports of your own. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try speed skating and your parents can help you find somewhere to learn. Maybe you’ve never skied before and you think it’s time to find a mountain to try it out. Maybe you’re finally ready to give hockey a try. Be brave. You can do it! Try every sport that interests you. After all, every Olympian started out not knowing how to do the sports that they now do better than anyone in the world. And, believe it or not, the 2026 Olympics aren’t as far away as you think!

Sunday, February 23

Here’s the thing we sometimes forget about Olympic competitions: One person’s triumph is another’s defeat. For every gold medal that one athlete wins, there are many more athletes who don’t win anything, even though they trained just as much and tried just as hard. Our Canadian athletes have all worked very hard to get to where they are. And it shows. Even when they don’t win medals.

Yes, when you’re cheering for a team or an athlete that has trained and trained and totally deserves to win, it’s certainly sweet when they do. But sometimes they don’t. No matter how much the world thinks they deserve to. And those athletes need a little love, too.

Like Justin Kripps, Jesse Lumsden, Cody Sorenson, and Ben Coakwell, the Canada 3 men’s bobsleigh team that flipped over on their third run yesterday. It was a devastating and very dangerous moment for the four men in the sled. Thankfully, they all got out of the sled and walked away. Their safety is obviously the most important thing. But imagine what that accident must have done to their hearts. How sad and frustrated would you feel if everything you’d been working for (maybe even for your whole life) was suddenly impossible to achieve all because of one teeny, tiny mistake?

Like Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux, the speed skating team that came in fourth place yesterday after losing to Poland in the team pursuit event. It was a final race for bronze that could have easily had different results. The Canadian team even had a lead of more than two seconds over Poland at one point. But they lost their lead and never caught up, which cost them the bronze medal. And probably made them all feel pretty sad.

And there are so many others just like them who have come to the end of their time in Sochi and may be feeling very disappointed today because they didn’t win, or because they made a big mistake, or because things just didn’t work out how they hoped and dreamed they would.

So this penultimate Olympics update (“penultimate” is a really big word that means second-last! Fancy, isn’t it?) is to remind us all to celebrate the athletes who leave Sochi without medals around their necks, too. They worked just as hard, they trained just as hard, they did everything they needed to do. And even though they aren’t coming home with medals, we hope they aren’t leaving empty-handed.

May they return home with the pride of being brave and with the honour of achieving a dream and with the absolute thrill of knowing they were strong enough to be able to compete in the first place. Because, yes, as a country we are so proud of the gold medals and silver medals and bronze medals. But we’re just as proud of every single athlete who didn’t win, too. Because they taught us the very same lessons about commitment, about desire, about bravery, about strength, and about being passionate enough to give everything they have to everything they do.

Saturday, February 22

Yesterday was one of those days for Canada where a few big moments in Sochi went exactly as they should.

First, there was Brad Jacobs and his curling team. They beat Great Britain 9-3 in the final and won gold for Canada. The win came after the 8th end (we’ve got a great reminder of how curling works) when Great Britain conceded the match. Conceding a game is something that often happens in curling. It means that the team from Great Britain decided not to continue playing the game because it was unwinnable. In the Olympics finals, a team can only concede a game after completing eight ends. To show that they’ve conceded the game, the conceding team shakes hands with their opposing team, which is exactly what Great Britain did. The gold medal win for Team Brad Jacobs and Thursday’s gold medal win for Team Jennifer Jones means Canada is the first country ever to win both curling events in the same Olympics. That’s pretty awesome.

And more exciting news: skiers Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa made up Canada’s fourth double-podium win in the Sochi Olympics. (That’s never happened before! And this time around, all four double-podium wins are for freestyle skiing!) Thompson placed first and Serwa placed second in the ski cross event. Ski cross is a series of rounds of four skiers at a time racing down a course. It was so much fun to watch two Canadians finish one after the other in the final and then get to celebrate together at the finish line.

There was a great speed skating surprise when Charle Cournoyer won a bronze medal in the 500m short track. (Canadian favourite, and Olympic champ from 2010, Charles Hamelin crashed in the earlier heats.) Charle is 22-years-old and was not expected to win a medal at these Olympics. Imagine how proud and excited he must have felt to cross the finish line third and win that bronze!

And then there was men’s hockey. Team Canada was playing Team USA in a semi-final game for the chance to advance to the gold medal round. The teams are long-time rivals, so even though there wasn’t a medal at stake, it was a big game for the countries involved. Canada won 1-0 thanks to a second period goal from Jamie Benn. And goalie, Carey Price got the shutout because he stopped every single one of the Americans’ 31 shots. He must have been tired by the end of that game!

So, it was a four-medal day for Canada, plus the excitement of our men’s hockey team moving to the gold medal game. Super exciting, don’t you think?

There will be a lot of people waking up very early tomorrow morning to watch Team Canada play Sweden in the gold medal game. If you live in Toronto, the game starts at 7 a.m. and if you live in Vancouver it starts at 4 a.m. That’s in the middle of the night! Even if you’re still sleeping when the game ends, if Team Canada wins, there will be lots of happy Canadians, so you might hear cheers, shouts, and honking cars as the entire country celebrates. That would be a pretty great way to wake up, don’t you think?

Friday, February 21

What a day for the amazing women athletes on Canada’s Olympic team! In a super-spectacular, terrific, amazing, awesome day in Sochi, Canadian women struck gold in both curling and hockey and their triumphant victories couldn’t have been sweeter.

First, our figure skaters. Though they didn’t win medals, the two Canadian women obviously worked really, really hard. Both very young, Kaetlyn Osmond (who placed 13th) and Gabrielle Daleman (who placed 17th) can both be proud of their efforts. Here’s an interesting fact: Osmond is the first female winter Olympian from Newfoundland and, because she participated in the team skating event, she’s also the first female winter Olympic medalist from the province. There must have been a lot of proud Newfoundlanders watching her free skate yesterday.

At Sochi’s “Ice Cube” Curling Centre, (isn’t that a funny name for the curling centre?) hard work and dedication totally paid off when skip Jennifer Jones and her team became the first women’s curling rink to go undefeated at the Winter Games. This means that Canada didn’t lose a single game. To anyone! For the whole Olympics! Isn’t that incredible? We already knew that in the round-robin portion of the tournament, Canada’s team was perfect, but then they beat Great Britain in the semi-finals. (Great Britain won bronze by the way.) And, finally, they beat Sweden 6-3 in the gold medal match, which meant Canada won gold and Sweden won silver.

Canada’s team – Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer (we did an interview with Jill Officer recently), Dawn McEwen, alternate Kirsten Wall, and, of course, Jennifer Jones should be very proud. At 39, not only is Jennifer Jones Canada’s oldest Olympian in Sochi, but also she’s the only female skip to post a perfect 11-0 record at the Olympics. Ever. The expression on her face yesterday when she knew that she would win spoke louder than words ever could. Pure joy and elation. For very good reason.

Then there was the hockey game. And, oh, what a hockey game it was! In a game that will live forever in the history books of greatest-hockey-games-ever-played, Team Canada’s game against Team USA was nothing short of amazing. Team Canada and Team USA are known to be very competitive with each other and yesterday was no exception. Though Canada has won gold at the past three (and now four!) Olympics, USA looked ready to end Canada’s dominance, leading 2-0 until late in the third period. But, we learned a very important lesson in our last Olympics update that couldn’t be more appropriate for yesterday’s game: It ain’t over till it’s over! And it certainly wasn’t.

Team Canada gave everything they had in the final minutes of the game, pulling their goalie to allow them to play an extra offensive player. And, with 55 seconds left, Marie-Philip Poulin scored the tying goal, sending the game into overtime. At this point, people across the country had stopped doing their school, their work, and everything else they were doing just to watch one of the best hockey games in history. And then there was overtime. And that was when things got really crazy. Penalties, bad calls, empty-net almost-goals, 3-on-3 playing, and, finally, a game-winning goal (again from Poulin!). Canada won the gold medal! And there was a collective gasp of shock that it was even possible for the game to have changed so dramatically in so little time. And there was a collective cheer heard around the country.

And on a day like Thursday, that cheer was really for every woman who has ever played hockey. Every woman who has ever curled. Every woman who has ever figure skated, or skied, or raced in a bobsleigh. It was for every female athlete who has ever tried her best in a sport she loves. Because even though they don’t always get the recognition they deserve, women athletes are superstars. And yesterday they proved it to us all.

Thursday, February 20

Have you ever heard the expression “It ain’t over till it’s over”? It’s a funny way of saying that we can’t always know how something is going to turn out until the very end. Even though we may think we know what will happen, it’s sometimes only when it’s all done that we can be absolutely sure.

Yesterday was the kind of day that probably made a lot of Olympic athletes say that very same thing. It ain’t over till it’s over. It ain’t over till it’s over. It ain’t over till it’s over. See? It’s got a nice ring to it. And it’s a perfect way to stay positive when you might feel a little bit worried about how something is going to end.

In curling, both of Canada’s rinks (that’s a way to say “teams” in curling) played in the semi-finals. A win meant they would get to play for the gold and be guaranteed at least a silver medal. Jennifer Jones led the Canadian women to a win over Great Britain, but it ain’t over till it’s over and that victory wasn’t certain until the last stone (or rock) of the match. It was down to the last stone for Team Brad Jacobs, too, and the Canadian men beat China after he curled the very last stone of the match. The Canadian women play Sweden today for the gold. The Canadian men play Great Britain on Friday.

And then there was the women’s two-man bobsleigh. (Isn’t it strange that they call it “two-man” instead of “two-person”?) In the event, each team has four runs. Times for all of the runs are added up and the team with the fastest total time wins. In Vancouver, Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse won gold. However, at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi, they were in second place after their first run, and second run, and third run. But, as we know, it ain’t over till it’s over and in their fourth run, they outperformed their American rivals and nabbed the gold. It was down to USA’s final run after Canada’s, though, and they just couldn’t catch Humphries and Moyse. Talk about a nail-biter! It was such an exciting moment for the women and, of course, for the rest of Canada, too. They even made history by being the first women’s bobsleigh team to win consecutive gold medals.

Hockey fans all over the world were holding their breath during Canada’s game against Latvia yesterday. It should have been an easy win for Canada. But Latvia made Canada work for it and proved that it really ain’t over till it’s over. The score was tied 1-1 until the third period when Shea Weber scored (thank goodness!) to make it 2-1. And that’s where the score stayed. Latvian goalie, Kristers Gudlevskis, took 57 Canadian shots and was so good that he only let in two. No wonder he was having trouble keeping upright by the end of the game! The whole thing was a bit of a surprise for fans and players alike, though, and it was a good reminder to Team Canada that there’s no such thing as a guaranteed easy win.

Canada currently has 18 medals (5 of them gold) and is in 7th place behind Norway, Germany, USA, Russia, Netherlands, and Switzerland. Will this team of Canadian Olympians be able to catch up to the leaders and do as well as the country did in Vancouver? Maybe. Maybe not. We won’t know for a few more days. You know why? Because it ain’t over till it’s over.

Wednesday, February 19

Yesterday in Sochi was a good news and not-so-good news kind of day for Canadian athletes.

Good news: Canadian bobsleigh duo, Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, are currently in second place after two of their four runs are complete. Something interesting about their USA competitors: Lauryn Williams has only been a bobsledder since July! Of course, it helps that she’s an amazing athlete who has won a gold medal for track (4x100m relay) in the 2012 Summer Olympics, but it’s still pretty incredible that she’s in the running for a gold medal after only seven months of practice.

Not-so-good news: Speed skater Charles Hamelin fell on the final lap of his 500m heat, costing himself the chance at what could have been another gold medal in the event (he won gold in 500m at the 2010 Olympics).

Good news: Mike Riddle won a silver medal in ski halfpipe with a score of 90.60 on his second of two runs (the way ski halfpipe works in the Olympics finals is that each skier has two chances to ski and the best of the two scores is the one that counts). He had to wait for five skiers to go after him, but his silver medal score held. Phew.

Not-so-good news: Marianne St. Gelais fell in her 1000m short track speed skating heat after attempting an inside pass early in the race. After crashing, she ended up completing the race a few laps behind the leader. (Interesting fact: Marianne St. Gelais and Charles Hamelin are girlfriend and boyfriend.)

Good news: Valérie Maltais set a new Olympic record in the 1000m short track speed skating qualification round. Her time was 1:28.771. Let’s hope she continues her amazing skating and whizzes her way to a medal at the finals on Friday.

More good news: Marie-Ève Drolet, Jessica Hewitt, Valérie Maltais and Marianne St-Gelais skated their way to a bronze medal in the women’s 3000m relay. Skating behind South Korea and China (who were battling for first place), Canada was guaranteed a medal when the Italian team crashed.

Even better news: It turned out China was disqualified for obstructing and the Canadian team went from a third-place finish to a second-place finish right then and there. The silver medal was Canada’s! Cool fact: Canada is the only country to have won a medal in the 3000m relay in seven straight Olympic Winter Games.

Do you ever have days like our Olympians had yesterday? Days that are filled with both good news and not-so-good news? It always helps to find the good news, especially on the days that seem like they’re filled with too much of the not-so-good news. Because even if it doesn’t feel like it, that good news is always there, glistening like an Olympic medal. Some days we just have to look a little harder than others if we want to find it.

Tuesday, February 18

It was all about the ice yesterday for Canada.

The biggest news of the day was that Team Jennifer Jones made Olympic history when they won their final game of the Olympic round robin portion (9-4 against South Korea) and became the first women’s curling team in history to go through undefeated. Incredible. Their amazing record doesn’t guarantee them a medal, though, and they will play in the semi-finals (against Great Britain) on Wednesday. If you want to learn more about Canada’s inspiring curling team, we’ve got an interview with teammate Jill Officer and an interview with Elaine Dagg-Jackson, the team’s coach.

Audience favourites, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir ice danced their way into everyone’s hearts again this Olympics and finished their free skate yesterday with a silver medal! But ice dancing is a judged sport and as seems to be the case sometimes with judged sports, there has been some controversy surrounding this event. Some people claim that the judges have been biased against Virtue and Moir, unfairly lowering their scores. We may never know if this unfairness has actually occurred, but it definitely gives us something to think about with Olympic sports that require judges. What do you think? Should Virtue and Moir have been awarded the gold medal? Or did their competitors skate better than they did? Either way, Virtue and Moir are proud and delighted to have won a silver medal for Canada. As they should be.

And Canada is celebrating the fact that the Canadian women’s hockey team will be going for gold on Thursday! After beating Switzerland 3-1 in the semifinal yesterday, Team Canada will move on to the finals and play long-time rivals, Team USA, for the gold medal. Team USA is the only other team to have won a gold medal in women’s ice hockey, which they did in 1998 when women’s ice hockey was first recognized as an Olympic sport. They haven’t won since, and now Canada has a three-Olympics winning streak going on because they’ve won the gold medal every Olympics after. Here’s hoping that streak continues on Thursday!

The next time you find yourself slipping and sliding on some winter ice, you might think back to yesterday. The day our women’s curling team made Olympic history, the day our ice dancing team made us proud, and the day our women’s hockey team made it clear they were planning to win a fourth gold medal. And when you think about these amazing Canadian athletes, think about this, too: In eight years or twelve years or sixteen years you might be doing the very same thing as they are right now. And if that thought keeps you out on the ice just a little bit longer, well then that’s really what the Olympics are all about.

Monday, February 17

Sunday was a big day for Canada in Sochi.

While you were sleeping yesterday morning (or perhaps you were already wide awake and making a delicious breakfast in bed for your parents), two amazing Canadian athletes won Olympic medals.

Dominique Maltais won a silver medal in women’s snowboard cross. Did you know that “snowboard cross” is often written as “SBX” because, well, it’s just a whole lot cooler to write it like that, and, more likely, because it’s shorter and easier to write. She won a bronze medal in SBX for Canada way back in the 2006 Olympics in Torino and she came 20th in the event in Vancouver in 2010. She has said that the Sochi Olympics would be her last, so this was her final chance to prove how hard she’s worked to be as great as she is. And she did it. The smile on her face after she finished proved just how happy and proud she was.

And then there was the end of a 20-year alpine ski medal drought for Canada. (When people call it a 20-year drought, they mean it has been 20 years since Canada won a medal in that particular event.) Jan Hudec tied with Bode Miller from the USA for a bronze medal in the men’s super-G event and Canada is elated. So is Hudec, of course! As it turns out, Hudec buried a loonie at the finish line before the race. He thought it might bring him some good luck. We’re pretty sure it’s his amazing talent that won that medal yesterday, but there’s something pretty magical about his loonie good luck charm, too.

Canada’s ice dancers made a big splash (well a frozen splash, that is) yesterday, too. Sunday was the short program day and all three Canadian pairs are moving on to perform their free dance today. But the stars of the show for Canada were Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who finished the day in second place and were thrilled with their performance. They will perform their free dance tomorrow and we know all of Canada is looking forward to it.

Last, but most certainly not least, hockey. Team Canada’s men’s team won a nail-biter of a game against Finland yesterday that had fans on the edge of their seats. The game was 1-1 at the end of the third period and went into overtime. Drew Doughty, who had already scored for Canada earlier in the game, scored two minutes in with an assist from Carter. Doughty has had an impressive start to the Olympics, scoring the most goals on the team (four!) and having an assist, too. The men have a bit of a break and will play again on Wednesday. Never fear, though, hockey lovers, as our awesome women’s team will be playing Switzerland later today.

Our two-man luge teams are in fourth, seventh, and ninth after the second of four heats (the final two heats are today), our curling teams are almost unbeatable with a combined 15-2 record (Team Jennifer Jones has won every single one of the games in the round robin, with only one left to go today), and all of our athletes are set to have another amazing day. Whether we hear about more secretly hidden loonies, or not, Canada’s athletes are proving to be their own good luck charms as they continue to outperform everyone’s highest expectations.

Sunday, February 16

Day 8 of the Winter Olympic Games was a big day for our curling teams. Not only did Team Brad Jacobs beat Great Britain and extend the Canadian team’s winning streak to four in a row and a 5-2 record, but also Team Jennifer Jones won two games yesterday, improving its record to 7-0. The unbeaten Canadian team still has two games left (against USA and Korea) in their round robin.

Speaking of which, do you know what a round robin is? Nope, it’s nothing to do with those cute birds that appear in springtime. It’s a competition where each contestant plays every other contestant at least once. Here’s something else you may not know about curling: Curling was demonstrated at the very first winter Olympics way back in 1924, but it didn’t become an official medal sport until the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. It sure was a long wait for curlers, wasn’t it?

Canada won another speed skating medal yesterday when Denny Morrison skated his was to a bronze in long track (1500m). You might remember learning about him a few days ago when he won a silver medal after his teammate Gilmore Junio gave up his chance to complete so that Morrison could fill his spot. Looks like Junio knew an Olympic medalist when he saw one.

Maybe your whole family is awake and watching Canada win more medals today. It’s going to be a big day, after all, with snowboard cross, alpine skiing, hockey, ice dancing, bobsleigh, and biathlon. Maybe you’re all still fast asleep and dreaming of gold medal races, ice dances, and curling games. Or maybe, even better, you’re all getting ready for a day on the ski slopes, toboggan hills, curling sheets, ice rinks, or ski trails. Because when you really think about it, a family “Olympics” just might be the best kind of Olympics of all.

Saturday, February 15

Do you know what a hat trick is? How about a shutout?

What if we tell you that in Team Canada’s men’s hockey game against Austria yesterday, Jeff Carter had a hat trick and Roberto Luongo had a shutout? Now can you guess? A hat trick in hockey is when a player scores three goals in one game. Three! Most hockey players would be excited to score one goal, but three goals? That’s pretty amazing. And a shutout is something every hockey goalie wants: It’s when a team prevents its opponents from scoring for an entire game. So if you see a hockey score and there’s a zero in it (just like how Canada beat Austria yesterday 6-0), you can say it was a shutout. Needless to say, Carter and Luongo are probably feeling pretty proud after yesterday’s game. The Canadian men play again on Sunday. Let’s hope for many more hat tricks and shutouts in their future.

At the very same time as Team Canada was playing hockey yesterday, there were other men, also wearing skates and working very hard on a skating rink, who were trying to win Olympic medals. It was the final day of the men’s figure skating event and most people thought Patrick Chan was going to win a gold medal. Including Patrick Chan. Unfortunately, a gold medal wasn’t within his reach and he fell a few times during his free skate leaving room for a 19-year-old Japanese skater named Yuzuru Hanyu to win the gold. Patrick Chan won a silver medal, though, which is something he can be very, very proud of. And a pretty cool story about Yuzuru Hanyu is that he is coached in Toronto by Brian Orser (the famous Canadian skater who won silver medals in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics). So it seems there’s a bit of a Canadian connection to that gold medal, after all.

There were other exciting events yesterday, too. Like Skeleton. This sport has a funny name, the sleds move really, really fast, and the athletes usually have the coolest helmets on earth. If that’s not a recipe for a fun time, we don’t know what is! Sarah Reid from Canada made good time on her runs, but it wasn’t quite enough to win a medal. Even though both Canadian women had the second fastest runs in their final heat (Yes, they actually tied in that final run with a time of 58.15 seconds!), Sarah Reid placed seventh and her Canadian teammate, Mellisa Hollingsworth placed eleventh. We have lots of articles about skeleton on our site, including a great interview with Sarah Reid where she talks about how learning to dance as a child helped her be a better skeleton racer.

And coming up today, so much more excitement and exhilaration! Curling (and more curling!), cross-country relay, Women’s Super-G (Pretty funny name, isn’t it? It stands for super giant slalom, which is a kind of alpine skiing speed event), ski jumping, and speed skating. There are lots of Canadian men and women competing in speed skating today, including Charles Hamelin, who has already won a gold medal for Canada in these Olympics. Here’s our interview with Charles Hamelin about how he makes sure he always has fun when he races.

Are you ready for a weekend filled with The Olympics? During the week, you’re probably at school when most of the events take place, but maybe today you’ll have a chance to watch something live. And when you’re done, perhaps you’ll be inspired to try some of the sports at home. We’ve got lots of tips on our site to help you get started. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be competing in the 2022 or 2026 Olympics after all your practice! And maybe, if you practice hard enough, there might come a day when you score an Olympic hat trick of your own.

Friday, February 14

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
We’re cheering for Canada.
How about you?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Do you know what’s awesome? That Canada’s red and white colours are absolutely perfect for today. So find your red and white t-shirts, sweatshirts, mittens and jerseys and wear them proudly. Because today you get to celebrate Canadian athletes. Valentine’s Day style.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, Canadians really love curling. It may seem hard to believe, but more than 90 per cent of the world’s curlers are Canadian. Wow! It’s an interesting sport, that’s for sure, but there are a lot of people (grown ups, even!) who don’t understand how the game works or how it’s scored. If you want to know more about the sport, come check Active for Life on Monday because we’ll have a description of the rules, we’ll teach you how to curl, and we’ll give you ideas for getting started at home.

But in the meantime, the Canadian women’s team, led by Jennifer Jones, has played five games (two of them were yesterday!) and they’ve won every single one. A perfect record! Can you believe it? And the men’s curling team, led by Brad Jacobs, has a 3-2 record right now. That means they’ve won three games and lost two, which is also very impressive. The women have today off, but the men will be playing Norway early this morning and trying to get another big win.

In the world of figure skating, Patrick Chan is in second place after skating his short program yesterday. His score for the short program was 97.52, only four points behind Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, who set a world record with his score of 101.45. That means that when they do the free skate today, Patrick will have to do an extra-special, super-duper, better-than-he’s-ever-skated-before job if he wants to become the first-ever Canadian male skater to win an individual Olympic gold medal. Can he do it? Of course he can!

And of course, the sport you probably heard everyone talking about yesterday afternoon: hockey. There were a lot of hockey fans watching to see Canada’s men’s team beat Norway 3-1 in Canada’s first men’s hockey game of the Olympics. It was a great game. A scoreless first period, two goals for Canada in the second period, and then in the third period a goal for Norway and another goal for Canada right after. Canada will play Austria today at 12 noon ET. If you’re in the east, you might even be able to watch some of the game on your lunch hour. Just tell your parents it would be the best Valentine’s Day present of all.

Even if you don’t get to watch the hockey game live, know this: While you’re all decked out in your finest red and white and handing out Valentines in your class today, you can think about Canada’s Olympic athletes who are doing their best in the sports they love. And now that we see what good sports our athletes have been during these Games, we suspect they’re probably also handing out homemade Valentines to all their new friends in Olympic Village!

Thursday, February 13

These Olympic games just get more and more exciting as the days pass!

Did you get to see any of the Women’s hockey game yesterday before school? Canada beat the USA 3-2 by scoring all three goals in the third period. Whew! And two of those goals were scored by Meghan Agosta-Marciano, who just happened to be celebrating her birthday. Pretty great birthday present to herself, don’t you think? In case you were wondering, Hayley Wickenheiser (Remember her? She’s the one who carried Canada’s flag in the Opening Ceremony.) scored the other goal. Go Canada!

For two athletes who aren’t from Canada, it was a very interesting day on the ski hill. Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland made Olympic history yesterday when they tied for first place in women’s downhill. Both women posted a time of 1 minute, 41.57 seconds. That’s exactly the same time right down to the hundredth of a second. That’s unheard of! So both women get gold medals, since they both posted the best time. And here’s a funny fact about Tina Maze that you probably don’t know: in Slovenia, where she’s from, she’s a famous rock star! Cool!

It’s beginning to look a lot like the importance of being a good sport is the lesson we will all take away from the Sochi, 2014 Winter Olympics. And what a great lesson it is! Two days ago, Canadian speed skater, Gilmore Junio, proved himself to be perhaps the best sport on earth when he gave his spot in the 1000m final to his teammate, Denny Morrison. And yesterday Denny won silver in the 1000m event, making his whole team (especially Gilmore!) very proud. Now Denny is starting a campaign to make Gilmore the flag-bearer at the Closing Ceremony. He sure would be a perfect choice to represent what being a Canadian Olympian is all about.

Though we didn’t win any luge medals yesterday, it was another best-ever day for Canada’s luge team. Tristan Walker and Justin Snith finished fourth in doubles luge, which beats Canada’s previous best fifth place result from way back in 2002. Though the athletes may feel a bit frustrated (it’s probably tough to finish fourth and know you were so close to winning a medal), they can also feel really proud for doing something no Canadian has done before.

Women’s and men’s curling teams continue to do well, figure skating pairs Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch placed seventh and fifth in their event, and Canada goes into Day 6 of the Sochi 2014 Olympics with four gold medals, four silver medals, two bronze medals, and the glory of knowing our athletes are some of the best sports in the world.

Wednesday, February 12

Do people ever tell you to be a good sport? Well, yesterday a Canadian coach showed us exactly what that expression means. In the middle of a cross-country ski race, Russian skier, Anton Gafarov’s ski was completely broken (he had crashed early in the race and the ski broke, and then as he tried to continue the race, the ski fell apart more and more and he kept falling). Justin Wadsworth, a Canadian cross-country ski coach, went running to him and gave him a new ski, which allowed him to finish the race. What a kind and thoughtful thing for the Canadian coach to do. And what a good reminder to all of us about being kind and generous and being a good sport. Because those well-mannered times are when we’re showing the true spirit of the Olympics. The games aren’t always just about winning medals, after all.

We learned the same lesson from Alex Gough, who is a Canadian luger. She didn’t win a medal, but she made history yesterday when she finished 4th in her event. Before yesterday, the highest-ranking Canadian female luger was Marie-Claude Doyon, who placed 7th at the Calgary Olympics. This year, though, another Canadian, Kimberley McRae, finished fifth. And a third Canadian, Arianne Jones, finished 13th. That’s a lot of super luging Canadians! (Just like our favourite storybook luger, Lucy!) And here’s a neat fact: all three of them are from Calgary! Do you think they go to the Stampede together when they aren’t training?

Though the Olympics aren’t just about winning medals, it’s still fun when Canada wins them, don’t you think? So when Dara Howell won a gold medal and Kim Lamarre won a bronze medal in Women’s Slopestyle Skiing, we know the whole country was cheering. Both women skied incredibly well and we’re sure they’re both excited to have won medals the first year slopestyle skiing has been an Olympic sport.

So many more events today! (Including a big women’s hockey game between Canada and the USA!) Maybe Canada will win some more medals while you’re at school. Or maybe you’ll think of the Canadian coach helping the Russian skier and be a good sport today. Either way, it’s a big win in our books.

Tuesday, February 11

Another big day for Canada yesterday! Charles Hamelin won the gold in men’s 1500m short track speed skating at the Adler Arena Skating Center. You could tell he loved every minute of it – arms raised in the air at the finish line, diving over the track wall to kiss his girlfriend, and arms pumping on the podium! And, the most exciting part is that he still has three more speed skating events to come.

Later on, Canada continued to rule the bumpy moguls competition. Just two days after sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe claimed gold and silver in women’s moguls, Alex Bilodeau won gold and Mikael Kingsbury won silver in the men’s event.

Do you know “mogul” is from the Austrian word “mugel” that means “small hills”? Moguls occur naturally on ski hills when skiers turn over and over again. Eventually, these “small hills” become a little bit bigger, and skiers have to bump-bump-bump (and jump!) their way through.

At the Olympics, moguls and jumps are specifically prepared for the competition. Judges mark the competitors based on turning, air (that’s jumping) and speed. In other words, it’s not enough to get down the mountain really fast. You need to do it in style. Since it became an Olympic sport in 1992, Canada has won eight medals in Olympic moguls. And Alex is the first Olympian to win back-to-back gold in any individual freestyle skiing event. Seems like moguls is quickly becoming as Canadian as hockey.

Speaking of hockey, the Canadian women’s team beat Finland 3 – 0, with goalie Shannon Szabados making some great saves to secure the shut-out. And the men’s hockey team landed in Russia and went straight from the airport to the hockey arena for a practice (maybe they were trying to combat jet-lag).

So much more excitement today, including some classics – curling, luge and cross-country (each with promising Canadian competitors) – and something new: women’s ski jumping makes its debut as an official Olympic sport.

Monday, February 10

Well, it was all about the figure skating for Canada yesterday!

Canada’s team of incredible figure skaters won the silver medal in the Team Skate event. It’s a new event this year where each of ten countries chose a team of their best figure skaters: A woman, a man, a pairs team, and an ice dancing team. They all competed in a short program, then the top five teams moved on to compete in a longer program called a free skate.

Here’s something interesting: The free skate part of the competition is when a country is allowed to change any two skaters or two pairs of skaters (this event is complicated, isn’t it?). They do this so that some of their skaters can have a chance to rest before they have to compete again. Canada decided to use a young skater named Kevin Reynolds instead of Patrick Chan for the men’s free skate (or long program). And he was amazing!

The teams receive points based on how they do in each skate – first place gets 10 points, second place gets 9, and so on. At the end, each team adds together all their points and the one with the most points (this time, it was Russia with 75 points) wins the gold medal. Canada had 65 points to win the silver medal! And USA won the bronze medal with 60 points.

Would you like to learn more about the rules of figure skating? Are you interested in learning how to figure skate? Some of these incredible athletes started when they were as young as you are now. And if you’re feeling inspired, we even have some great tips on how you can pretend to figure skate at home. Plus, you can read all about a real Olympic figure skater in our interview with Shae-Lynn Bourne.

And, good news! Charles Hamelin just won a gold medal for Canada in short track speed skating! Hooray for Charles!

Looking forward to lots of Olympic excitement again today? We certainly are! For fun, while you’re in school today, you can imagine all the wonderful things Canada will be doing in Sochi.

Sunday, February 9

Can you imagine how much fun it would be to win an Olympic medal? It would be such a proud moment and you would be able to think about all the hard work that made you so good at your sport. And all the people who helped you train.

Now try to imagine how much fun it would be to win an Olympic medal if your sister or brother also won a medal and you got to stand right beside each other on the podium. Because that’s what happened to two of Canada’s incredible athletes yesterday.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe won the gold medal in women’s moguls (that’s a kind of freestyle skiing where you go over lots and lots of little hills and do jumps and tricks, too) yesterday and her sister, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe won the silver medal. But that’s not all. They have another sister, Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, who made it to the finals, as well. And though she didn’t win a medal, she must still be very proud of herself.

Canada’s Spencer O’Brien competed in the women’s slopestyle final earlier today. She came in 12th place and although she felt a bit sad at first that she didn’t win a medal, she realized after how proud she was to make it so far. She also felt honoured to represent her country the very first time slopestyle snowboarding is in the Olympics. (And if you want to learn more about slopestyle snowboarding, we’ve got it.)

Time for another day of Olympics fun in Sochi. We can’t wait to see what happens next.

Saturday, February 8

Do you know what’s funny about having the Olympics somewhere far away from where you live? The time zone is completely different. That means that while you’re sleeping, there are athletes in Sochi competing! The time in Sochi is 9 hours ahead of Toronto and 12 hours ahead of Vancouver! Believe it or not, when people in Vancouver are falling asleep, people in Sochi are just waking up. It can take athletes’ bodies a while to get used to such a big time difference. That’s why a lot of them got to Sochi long before the Games began.

But what that time difference also means is that competitions are happening while you sleep and every morning when you wake up, there might be athletes who have won medals while you were busy dreaming.

Like Mark McMorris, who won a bronze medal for Canada in the Men’s Slopestyle Snowboarding competition! It’s Canada’s first medal!

Have you ever seen snowboarding before? The slopestyle competitions are so much fun to watch because the athletes move so fast and do so many fancy tricks. They have to practice a lot to become as good as they are. And they jump so high in the air to do their tricks, so they must be very brave, too.

If you want to learn more about Olympic snowboarding, we have lots of information on our site. Start here to learn everything you ever wanted to know about snowboarding and how it began (there’s even a picture of Mark McMorris flying through the air!), and then be sure to follow links at the side to learn how to become a snowboarder, how to try snowboarding at home, and you can even read more about one of Canada’s amazing snowboarders in our interview with Spencer O’Brien. Plus, once you learn more about Spencer, you’ll be excited to know that she competes tomorrow!

There are so many amazing Olympic events to watch today. There’s lots of skiing, figure skating, more snowboarding, and even luge. It’s going to be a great day!

Friday, February 7

Today is the day! The Olympic Games officially begin in Sochi, Russia.

It’s really beautiful in Sochi. There are majestic mountains surrounding the city and it’s much warmer than you might think it would be in a place where they’re hosting the winter Olympics. In fact, the temperatures rarely even dip below freezing. The streets are crowded with people who have come to watch the Games and excitement is in the air.

Today is the day for the Opening Ceremonies. Did you see them? It’s so inspiring to see the athletes from every country as they walk in with their teammates, filled with energy and anticipation for the weeks ahead.

Did you see Hayley Wickenheiser carrying Canada’s flag? She looked so proud. Just like we’re all so proud of her. It’s hard to believe this is her fifth time representing Canada at the Winter Olympics on the women’s hockey team! And she’s won three gold medals and one silver medal! Here’s something really interesting about Hayley: She also represented Canada in the Summer Olympics on the women’s softball team. Pretty cool, isn’t she?

Tomorrow is going to be an exciting start to the Games – skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, hockey, and more. It will be tough to decide which events to watch. Whatever you decide, the best part is knowing that the next two weeks will be filled with opportunities to watch amazing athletes do their very best. And if you’re interested in any of the sports you see, we’ll have lots of fun ways you can try them at home. Check out our Sochi webpage for more!

Below, from left to right, are Dasha Gaiazova, Chandra Crawford, Emily Nishikawa, and Heidi Widmer from Canada’s cross-country ski team getting ready for the opening ceremonies.

Dasha Gaiazova, Chandra Crawford, Emily Nishikawa, and Heidi Widmer from Canada's cross-country ski team

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