Team Canada Rising Stars Revealed at Beijing 2022 – Team Canada
When the Olympics roll around, we often turn our attention to the medal winners. It’s also the perfect opportunity to witness the emergence of incredible new talent. Keep an eye out for these promising Team Canada athletes for years to come!
Sarah Fillier is the rookie everyone is talking about for the Canadian women’s hockey team. At 21, many on the team say she is a more talented player than she was at that age, both technically and physically, as well as mentally. In her first two Olympics, under immense pressure, she collected three points against Switzerland, then two more against Finland. She scored 11 points in the Olympic tournament, including eight goals. Fillier was already attracting attention ahead of the Games when she achieved the rare feat of playing for the U18, U22 and senior women’s national teams in the same calendar year.
While some of her teammates like Marie-Philip Poulin and Mélodie Daoust are at the top of their game at 30, Fillier certainly has some great things in store.
Madeline Schizas was responsible for securing Canada’s Olympic quota spot in the women’s event after finishing ninth in the short program at the ISU World Championships, her second international competition.
It’s also fair to say that the performance of this Olympic rookie got Canada into the finals of the team event in figure skating. Before hitting the Olympic ice for its short program, Canada was in sixth place, and only the top five teams could qualify for the final and skate their free program. With a near-perfect performance that earned her third place, she helped Canada climb to fifth place.
The Canadian team ultimately finished fourth. Schizas finished 19th in the individual event.
Antoine Cyr & Graham Ritchie
Historic performances by Canadian athletes at Beijing 2022 include the effort of new Olympians Antoine Cyr and Graham Ritchie in the men’s classic team sprint event. Both have certainly earned their place on our list of rising stars after posting the best Olympic performance in Canadian history.
After finishing fourth in their semi-final to advance to the final, they placed fifth overall. It’s a record that hasn’t been broken for almost 20 years: Canada’s previous best result in a men’s team sprint event in the classic technique was 11th place at Turin 2006.
Miha Fontaine and Marion Thenault
Aerial skiing may be on the verge of gaining popularity in Canada as two-time Olympian Lewis Irving and rookies Miha Fontaine and Marion Thénault surprised by winning bronze in the team event at Beijing 2022.
As a new event on the Olympic program, this is a historic medal not only for the discipline, but also for the sport in Canada. Aerial skiing is little known and little practiced in this country, which gives a new flavor to this podium.
At only 17 years old, Quebecer Olivia Asselin has been playing on the international circuit for four years now. In her first World Cup events in 2019-20, she placed in the top 10 in four of her five events. So it’s no surprise that in her first Olympics, she finished eighth in the new big air freestyle event.
Asselin also competed in the women’s slopestyle event, where she earned a spot in the final. However, she only did one race and then retired citing a knee injury and fatigue. It’s safe to say that we haven’t seen everything she’s capable of yet.
Long track speed skater Connor Howe has been in the spotlight since the start of Beijing 2022. His first medals on the World Cup circuit came just a year ago when he won silver and bronze in team pursuit. Just a few months ago, in October 2021, he became Canadian champion in the 1,500m, then won his first individual World Cup medal in December, still in the 1,500m.
It is fitting that he stood out in this distance on his Olympic debut, finishing fifth in the event. He also performed well in the 1,000m, placing 12th. We bet you’ll be keeping an eye on him for a long time.
Snowboarder Brooke D’Hondt is the youngest athlete on the Canadian delegation to Beijing 2022. She will turn 17 on March 9. D’Hondt is relatively new to the senior international circuit. She competed in her first FIS World Cup in January 2021 and is one of the new athletes to watch at Beijing 2022 in snowboarding and freestyle skiing. We watched and were impressed: D’Hondt finished 10th in the Olympic halfpipe final.
Alexandra Loutitt, Abigail Strate and Matthew Soukup
Alongside veteran Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes on the Canadian ski jumping team for Beijing 2022 are rookies Alexandra Loutitt, Abigail Strate and Matthew Soukup. The Canadians surprised the skiing world by winning bronze in the team ski jumping event, a new addition to the Olympic program.
This success has brought great visibility to their sport in Canada, which could benefit immensely from publicity. Since the closure of the ski jumping facility used for the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988, the national ski jumping team has to be based in Slovenia, keeping athletes away from home for most of of the year as they compete and train for special moments like the ones they experienced in Beijing.