https://www.thestar.com/sports/olympics/2022/02/16/olympics-overnight-gushue-and-jones-stay-alive-justin-bieber-hungry-for-gold.html

Rise and shine, Olympics fans. Here’s what you missed overnight and need to know about the 2022 Beijing Olympics this morning.

For all the Star-related Winter Games content, visit our Olympics page here.


It was a quiet night for Team Canada in Beijing.

But on Wednesday morning, speedskaters Charles Hamelin, Steven Dubois, Jordan Pierre-Gilles and Pascal Dion brought the excitement with a gold in the 5,000-metre short track relay.

It was Dubois’ third medal of these Games, and the sixth career medal for Canadian flag-bearer Hamelin, who ties Cindy Klassen as Team Canada’s most decorated Winter Olympian.

As we enter what might be called the final stretch in Beijing, Canada now has 18 medals, but only three of them are gold. Technically, that means we’re sitting in 11th place in the medal standings, with 10 fewer golds than leading Norway, and five fewer than our U.S. nemesis.

But there is plenty of time, and plenty of events to make up some of that ground — Team Canada remains in contention for gold in men’s and women’s curling, and women’s ice hockey. (Update: Canada was eliminated by Sweden in men’s ice hockey.)

As usual — there is a lot to catch up on: Justin Bieber is amped about women’s hockey! Slovakia eliminate the U.S. from men’s hockey! American skier Alex Hall lands a“switch-cork-7 to butter-switch-5 Japan”!

Plus, the curling community comes together to support Rachel Homan, who says she is in “the deepest of black holes” after a tough loss in mixed curling.

Scroll through for key results, highlights and more.

Gold for Hamelin in his final Olympic race

The chaotic and dizzying 5,000-metre relay is one of the most exciting events in short track speedskating. The final did not disappoint.

What a moment for Charles Hamelin. What a career.

After clinching gold in the 5,000-metre relay in the final Olympic race of his career, the native of Lévis, Quebec now has six Olympic medals (4G, 1S, 1B). He becomes the most decorated male Canadian Olympian, and the first male short track speedskater to medal in five different Winter Games.

Canada has now won the gold in the men’s 5,000-metre relay four different times — in 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2022.

Gushue and the boys slide into the semis, Jones inches closer with big win

You know that feeling when you get all bundled up to shovel your sidewalk after a big winter storm, only to realize that your kindly neighbour already cleared it for you?

Maybe that’s how Brad Gushue and the men’s curling team felt on Wednesday in Beijing, when they secured a top-four finish without lifting a broom thanks to losses by Russia and Switzerland in the final games of the round-robin.

That means the 5-3 Canadians are moving on to the semifinals.

“It’s a big stress relief to be honest,” Gushue said.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Jones and the Canadian women have completely turned things around after a bumpy start, winning a third straight must-win match against Tabitha Peterson and the U.S. on Wednesday.

With the 7-6 victory, Jones sits with a 4-3 record with two games to play.

“I feel like we’re playing with tons of confidence,” said Canada vice Kaitlyn Lawes. “It doesn’t hurt when the skipper is making some amazing shots.”

The big win earned Jones and co. a shout-out from the (now-retired) Canadian soccer legend Stephanie Labbé and her wife, the multi-sport Olympian Georgia Simmerling.

A women’s hockey Belieber

Canada’s women have steamrolled the competition in the ice hockey tournament so far, going 6-0 and outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 54-8. But those numbers mean nothing if they can’t dispense of their archrival and the defending Olympic champions.

Canada and the U.S. will faceoff on Wednesday evening (our time) in their sixth gold medal matchup, with all the glory on the line.

And while all of Canada will be watching, one superfan named Justin Bieber couldn’t contain his excitement, sharing it with his 114 million followers on Twitter:

A number of high profile hockey players, including Team Canada forward Sarah Nurse and four-time Olympian Cassie Campbell-Pascal, chimed in to thank the pop superstar for his support.

Athletes and fans share support for curler Rachel Homan

Time and time again, the drama of the Olympic Games has shed light on the immense pressure faced by high-level athletes, and the toll it can take on their mental health or well-being.

Overnight, Canadian curler Rachel Homan told fans on Twitter that she is “in the deepest of black holes” following her elimination from the mixed curling tournament earlier in the Games.

“Know that I’m cheering hard for every athlete in Beijing right now but personally struggling beyond words,” she wrote.

Homan, along with her mixed doubles John Morris dropped a nail-biting extra-end decision to Italy last week.

Support for the 32-year-old from Alberta immediately poured in from the curling world and beyond.

“I just want to give her a hug honestly, she has nothing to feel ashamed of,” Canadian women’s team vice Kaitlyn Lawes told The Canadian Press. “She’s a two-time Olympian and worked her butt off.”

Joanne Courtney, who plays lead on Homan’s four-player team, told CP she’s heartbroken for her teammate and “is gutted that she’s feeling so low.”

“I love the vulnerability there to say it and I love how brave she was for coming on to congratulate her childhood friend. For Rachel to put herself out there like that is admirable. It’s such a tough situation.”

Jennifer Jones also chimed in:

“This is what we’ve worked a lifetime for so it’s hard to not realize those dreams. It’s hard to be disappointed but perspective always comes. It just takes a little bit of time. I know Rachel will get there.”

“She just has to lean on the people that care about her the most. Just remember perspective and remember all the great moments that she’s had in her curling career because there’s so been many that there’s a lot to lean on.”

Homan, who is a two-time Canada Cup champion, added: “I never take the Maple Leaf for granted and am grateful for the chance to fight for you all.”

Slovakia shocks the U.S. in men’s hockey

We all love an underdog story — especially when the underdog takes on a giant like the U.S.

That’s right! Slovakia, a country with a population smaller than the GTA, knocked off the top-seeded and undefeated Team USA with a stunning victory overnight, winning 3-2 in a shootout.

Slovakia trailed the U.S. with less than a minute left in regulation. With their net empty, Slovakian captain Marek Hrivik managed to bang a loose puck home with just 43.7 seconds on the clock.

International rules call for 10 minutes of 3-on-3 OT followed by a five-player shootout, even in the knockout round. It only took Slovakia a single goal by Peter Cehlarik in the shootout to claim victory.

“This one’s going to sting for a little bit,” veteran American defenceman Steven Kampfer told AP. “I thought we were the better team for a majority of the game. You come up a little bit short.”

USA takes gold and silver in men’s slopestyle skiing

Just take a minute to watch this run by American skier Alex Hall, who won gold in the slopestyle with absurdly named tricks, like the “switch-cork-7 to butter-switch-5 Japan.”

Just bonkers. Hall’s teammate Nick Goepper took the silver.

Germany bob-slays

Team Germany took gold, silver and bronze in the two-man bobsled event, becoming the first country in any sport at the Beijing Games to completely sweep the medals.

Canadian speedskaters try their hand at ice dancing

More Canadian results

  • Cross-country skiers Antoine Cyr and Graham Ritchie finished fifth overall in the men’s team sprint classic final.
  • Canadian women finished sixth in the cross-country team sprint semifinal.
  • Kim Boutin and Courtney Sarault both failed to qualify for the 1,500m speedskating final.

Looking forward

  • Brad Gushue plays Britain to determine who he will play in the men’s curling semifinal, 8:05 p.m. ET.
  • Gold medal final in women’s ice hockey: Canada vs. U.S., Wednesday at 11 p.m. ET.

The Star in Beijing:

Dave Feschuk: Jamaica’s four-man bobsled back at Olympics after 24 years, with an assist from Canada

Rosie DiManno: In return to ice, Kamila Valieva was mostly sublime. But she was not Valieva.

Bruce Arthur: Canada ends China’s hockey run at Beijing Olympics. Bring on the quarterfinals

Medal count

Canada currently has 18 medals at the 2022 Beijing Olympics: three gold, four silver and 11 bronze.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

With files from The Canadian Press and Associated Press

Richie Assaly is a Toronto-based digital producer for the Star. Reach him via email: rassaly@thestar.ca