Canada scored another multi-medal day at the Beijing Olympics, and it took just one event to make it happen.
Max Parrot won Canada’s first gold medal in Beijing with a dominant performance in the men’s snowboard slopestyle on Monday, while teammate Mark McMorris took the bronze.
It’s the second time in two Games that Parrot, from Bromont, Que., and Regina’s McMorris have appeared together on the slopestyle podium. Parrot finished with the silver four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea, while McMorris took bronze.
McMorris also won bronze at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Canada now has two multi-medal days since hardware started being handed out on Saturday.
Skier Jack Crawford of Toronto came close to adding to Canada’s haul with a fourth-place finish in the men’s downhill. Canada also finished fourth in the team figure skating event, which featured another standout performance from 18-year-old Madeline Schizas, who is competing at her first Olympics.
Meanwhile, Canada won’t defend its mixed curling title after John Morris of Canmore, Alta., and Ottawa’s Rachel Homan lost 8-7 in an extra end to Italy in their final preliminary round game. Two measures were needed to confirm that Canada’s final stone was outside the winning Italian rock.
And in women’s hockey, Canada defeated Russia 6-1 in a game that was delayed when the Canadians refused to leave their locker room because COVID-19 tests taken earlier in the day by the Russian athletes had not yet been processed. The game finally got underway with players from both teams wearing masks underneath their face cages.
Parrot’s Olympic title came three years after he underwent chemotherapy to treat Hodgkin lymphoma.
“I had no more muscles, no more energy, no more cardio. I remember I was drawn by my treatments,” said Parrot, with a Canadian flag draped over his shoulders. “I almost wanted to quit sometimes because it was getting so hard just to get to the next morning.
“To be standing here three years later and winning gold, that is completely crazy.”
Parrot scored 90.96 in his second run, then took it easy on his third and challenged his rivals to catch him.
McMorris had his best run of the day in his third and final run, flipping his board away to celebrate what he thought would clinch him a gold or silver medal. Instead, he was 0.17 points behind silver medallist Su Yiming of China.
“Definitely was anticipating a bit higher of a score,” McMorris said. “But sometimes when you finish a run, you don’t really recall some of the little bobbles you had or whatnot.”
Crawford went 12th in the men’s downhill, and his time of 1:42.92 was good for second place after his run.
It wasn’t quite enough, as gold medallist Beat Feuz of Switzerland knocked Crawford down to third on the very next run, and 19th skier Johan Clarey of France knocked the Canadian out of medal contention.
Crawford ended up 0.07 seconds behind bronze medallist Matthias Mayer of Austria.
“There’s a lot of good skiers that were supposed to come down after me, so when I crossed the finish line I was super excited,” Crawford said.
“I knew it would be a decent day. But I also knew there were a lot of guys that were big threats. It only took two, but that’s an Olympic medal. Hopefully, I can bring it out tomorrow and ski the way I’m skiing in the super-G.”
While Canada fell short of repeating as team figure skating champion, it was a strong debut for Schizas.
The native of Oakville, Ont., was third in women’s singles free skate, following up a solid short program two days earlier that had propelled Canada into the final round.
Skating to Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” Schizas was virtually flawless en route to scoring 132.04 points.
“I’m not going to lie, I was quite nervous,” she said. “But I think one of my strengths is just being able to get out there and do it. I treat it as a job … obviously, there’s emotion behind it, we work towards it forever. But I try not to let it be too emotional.”
Russia won the team gold with 74 points, while the U.S. took the silver with 65 and Japan won bronze with 63.
In curling, Canada came into Monday’s action needing a win over undefeated Italy after dropping an extra-end decision to last-place Australia the night before.
Canada had a chance to put pressure on the Italians while up 7-5 in the eighth end, but Homan was light with her final draw that set up an Italian deuce.
With guards cleared in the extra end, the Canadians slightly mismanaged their final shot.
“It’s a heartbreaking loss,” Morris said. “That’s as tough as they get in your life. We battled with everything we had.”
Canada finished tied in fourth place at 5-4, but Sweden took the tiebreaker to move on to the evening semifinals. Italy (9-0), Norway (6-3) and Great Britain (6-3) earned the top three seeds.
Canada’s women’s hockey team improved to 3-0, spreading the scoring around in their win over Russia.
Sarah Fillier, Jamie Lee Rattray, Sarah Nurse, Rebecca Johnston, Erin Ambrose and captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored for Canada.
The game was able to go when the International Ice Hockey Federation eventually reached a compromise to have players from both teams wear masks, a first at the Beijing Olympics.
Forward Oxana Bratisheva said through a team translator that the Russian team was initially told the game would be postponed before being told it would proceed an hour late.
The Russian players eventually were allowed to remove their masks at the start of the third period after the test results showed no one was positive. The Canadians kept their masks on.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2022.