This Friday begins a global event we Canadians get a little excited about: the Winter Olympics.
Kicking off February 9th in PyeongChang, South Korea, the Winter games run until February 25. From hockey, to curling to skiing, winter sports are Canada’s jam, and we stand a good chance to bring home some hardware across the board. Let’s get you a little more acquainted with some of Canada’s rising star athletes so you’re properly prepared to cheer them on.
Born in: Alert Bay, British Columbia
O’Brien started snowboarding at age 11, only getting into competing because her sister did. She’s taken home bronze at the 2008 Winter X Games in Aspen and added silver in 2009. Also in 2013 she competed at her first FIS World Championships where she captured the gold medal. That same year she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, but kept the diagnosis to herself, using medication to keep joint stiffness under control. In 2016 she won gold 2016 X Games in Aspen. She competed in the 2014 Sochi games, coming in 12th. Don’t miss her in the slope style competitions.
Sport: Freestyle skiing
Born in: Calgary, Alberta
Sharpe is the first woman to land a switch cork 720 in competition, which won her gold at the World Cup in Tignes, France in March 2017. She did this all with a broken thumb, which happened right at the start of the event when she hit the deck during qualifiers. She later had to have the ligament reattached and get a bone fragment removed.
Born in: Calgary, Alberta
At the Vancouver winter games in 2010, Humphries and her brakeman Heather Moyse became the first Canadian women duo to win Olympic gold, and then became the first women to become repeat champions, taking the gold again in Sochi in 2014. Humphries is covered in ink – many of which have symbolic meaning. When she was 12, she made a bet with her parents that if she ever made the national team they would all get matching tattoos – which they followed through on in 2014. If she brings home gold in during these winter games she will set a new record as reigning champ.
Sport: Figure Skating
Born in: New Westminster, British Columbia
Skating runs in her family – Austman’s mother was a national champion and put her daughter in skating at age 3, and entered her into her first competition at age 5. She won the junior national title at age 14 and now has her sight sets on becoming an Olympic finalist. Attending the Olympics can cost thousands of dollars, she’s headed to PyeongChang thanks to angel investor, Horatio Kemeney, who put up $30 000 to help fund her trip. We’re excited to see her compete in her first Winter Games.
You guys…. I'm going to the Olympics!!! I can't even begin to explain what this achievement means to me. I've dreamt for so long of going to the Olympics and I've worked so hard to make it a reality. I have to acknowledge my coaches Zdenek and Liz for everything they do for me, and of course my parents because they actually do EVERYTHING for my skating. I'm so excited to be representing Canada 🇨🇦 at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang South Korea!!! 🇰🇷 P.S. I'm also going to Milan, Italy 🇮🇹 in March for the World Championships! #olympics #feelthemoment #ctnsc18 #pyeongchang
Sport: Ice Hockey
Born in: Scarborough, Ontario
Spooner started playing hockey at 4 years old, to keep up with her brothers. She first competed in the Sochi Winter games in 2014 where she scored the first two goals in Canada’s 3-1 semifinal victory over Switzerland – paving the way for the team’s Olympic gold medal. If bringing home gold isn’t enough, Spooner was also runner-up on Season 2 of The Amazing Race Canada with teammate Meaghan Mikkelson.