February 23, 2018

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Medals up for grabs on Day 2 of Pyeongchang Winter Games

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of - The 2018 Winter Olympics get going in earnest on Saturday with plenty of medals on the table. Here's a look at five things to watch out for on Day 2:

CHARLES IN CHARGE — Canada's first gold medal could come from veteran short-track speedskater Charles Hamelin. He's the defending champion going into Saturday's 1,500 metres. At 33, Hamelin is competing in his final Olympics and would love nothing more than to kick off his swan song with a spot on the podium. With four Olympic medals — three of which are gold — Hamelin has already cemented himself as one of Canada's most successful male winter Olympians in history.

LONG WAY TO GO — Ottawa speedskater Ivanie Blondin won gold in the women's 3,000 at the final World Cup prior to the Pyeongchang Games, but she's not considered a medal favourite in Saturday's event. Blondin's medal hopes are stronger in the new mass start event, thanks to her background in short-track speedskating. She has won world championship gold and silver and a World Cup title in the event, which has the cat-and-mouse passing and body contact of short track. She'll have to wait for her chance in that event. The women's mass start is set for Feb. 24.

SUPER HUMAN — A lot has happened since Mark McMorris arrived at his first Olympics four years ago in Sochi, Russia. He won a bronze medal in men's snowboard slopestyle back then, despite competing with a broken rib. Two years later, he came back from a broken femur. But it was his backcountry crash in March 2017 that nearly ended his career and his life. After suffering several major injuries, including a broken jaw, ruptured spleen and collapsed lung, the Regina native is back at the Winter Games. He'll compete in slopestyle qualifying Saturday.

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PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of - The 2018 Winter Olympics get going in earnest on Saturday with plenty of medals on the table. Here's a look at five things to watch out for on Day 2:

CHARLES IN CHARGE — Canada's first gold medal could come from veteran short-track speedskater Charles Hamelin. He's the defending champion going into Saturday's 1,500 metres. At 33, Hamelin is competing in his final Olympics and would love nothing more than to kick off his swan song with a spot on the podium. With four Olympic medals — three of which are gold — Hamelin has already cemented himself as one of Canada's most successful male winter Olympians in history.

LONG WAY TO GO — Ottawa speedskater Ivanie Blondin won gold in the women's 3,000 at the final World Cup prior to the Pyeongchang Games, but she's not considered a medal favourite in Saturday's event. Blondin's medal hopes are stronger in the new mass start event, thanks to her background in short-track speedskating. She has won world championship gold and silver and a World Cup title in the event, which has the cat-and-mouse passing and body contact of short track. She'll have to wait for her chance in that event. The women's mass start is set for Feb. 24.

SUPER HUMAN — A lot has happened since Mark McMorris arrived at his first Olympics four years ago in Sochi, Russia. He won a bronze medal in men's snowboard slopestyle back then, despite competing with a broken rib. Two years later, he came back from a broken femur. But it was his backcountry crash in March 2017 that nearly ended his career and his life. After suffering several major injuries, including a broken jaw, ruptured spleen and collapsed lung, the Regina native is back at the Winter Games. He'll compete in slopestyle qualifying Saturday.

CAN-CON — Canada's women's hockey team doesn't begin defence of its gold until Sunday, but Saturday's game between the unified Korean team and Switzerland will have a Canadian flavour. The Korean squad, which comprises players from both North and South Korea, is coached by Canadian Sarah Murray and Canadians Danelle Im and Caroline Park are on the roster.

SURE SHOT — A biathlon medal will be up for grabs when the women's 7.5-kilometre sprint is contested at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre. While the event that combines cross-country skiing and marksmanship is dominated by Europeans, Canada's Rosanna Crawford enters competition with some momentum. Crawford, who is from Canmore, Alta., earned her first World Cup medal last month with a third-place finish in a 15-kilometre race, shooting 20-for-20 at the range in the process.

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