Sochi 2014: A great weekend for Canadian athletes

This past weekend, I got to check out the team figure skating events at the Iceberg Skating palace. It was

This past weekend, I got to check out the team figure skating events at the Iceberg Skating palace. It was so exciting to see the Canadian athletes compete in this new Olympic sport. With the exception of Patrick Chan and pairs skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, I got to watch all other members of team Canada perform. A highlight was watching ice dancers and P&G-sponsored athletes Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. They’re one of my favourite skating duos and this was my first time seeing them skate live’I loved it!

The crowd was really animated, often erupting into chants of ‘Russia!’ (pronounced Ruh-see-ah), sometimes spontaneously and always when a Russian athlete took the ice. They also did the wave! Russians are very proud of their figure skaters’even president Vladimir Putin showed up to cheer on his team’and deservedly so, as they’ve got some strong competitors this year, including 15-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya and four-time Olympian Evgeni Plushenko.

I was thrilled when the Canadian team captured silver. As they took their spot on the podium for the flower ceremony, they clasped hands and bowed. Then, after their victory lap, they did a few group hugs.

Team Russia clinched the top spot, the first gold of the Games for the home country. By chance, I was sitting a few seats away from Lilia Ilinykh (pictured above), mother of Russian ice dancer Elena. When the Russian team was announced as the winner, Elena looked up into the audience to find her mom, and when she did, Lilia mimed a heart shape with her arms. She was beaming with pride’it was a lovely moment.

All in all, it was a terrific weekend for the Canadian team: sisters Justine and Cholé  Dufour-Lapointe won gold and silver respectively in the moguls event, and  slopestyle snowboarder Mark McMorris took home a bronze. We’re off to a great start!

–Joana Lourenço

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