One year from today, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics begin. Here are 10 Canadian medal hopes to keep in mind:
Jenn Heil, women’s moguls
She put Canada on the board with Olympic gold on opening day in Turin in 2006 and there’ll be intense pressure on her to do it again in Vancouver when women’s moguls once again is on the first day of competition.
Kristina Groves, long track speedskating
She’s been racking up impressive results for six years now, but on a team with Jeremy Wotherspoon, Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes, it’s hard for her to get a little attention. But with Klassen and Wotherspoon both trying to come back from serious injury next year, Groves could be the team’s star.
Pierre Lueders, two-man bobsleigh
He’s going to have hundreds more runs on the Olympic layout in Whistler than his competitors plus he finally has a decent budget for equipment.
Steve Omischl, men’s aerials
He’s won everything else in his sport: a world title, and three Crystal Globes as the overall World Cup freestyle aerials champion.
Canada’s hockey teams
The men will be led by NHL stars like Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla and should face their toughest opposition from Russia and Sweden. On the women’s side, barring any big upsets it will be Canada vs. the U.S. for gold for the fourth straight Olympics.
Canada’s curling teams
Reigning world champion Jennifer Jones is the most likely representative on the women’s side, while Glenn Howard and Kevin Martin will probably battle it out among the men.
Alex Bilodeau, men’s moguls
Jennifer Heil calls Bilodeau her “little brother,” but this 21-year-old takes a backseat to no one. They are both coached by former freestyler Dominick Gauthier, who is also Heil’s boyfriend.
Patrick Chan, men’s figure skating
The world championships next month in Los Angeles will be a big stepping stone for the 18-year-old Torontonian.
Clara Hughes, long track speedskating
She’s got two Olympic bronze medals in cycling from the 1996 Atlanta Games and a gold, silver and bronze in Olympic speed skating in ‘02 and ‘06.
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir, ice dancing
It’s felt that they’ve got the goods to win the whole thing in 2010, but that’ll be dependent on Virtue being 100 per cent and able to put in the hard training they’ll need this summer.
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