Weekend Roundup: Men’s volleyball team books ticket for Paris 2024
This weekend marked another crucial milestone on Team Canada’s path towards Paris 2024. In fact, Canada’s men’s volleyball team punched their ticket to a third straight Olympic Games.
However, the excitement didn’t stop there. Ellie Black and Félix Dolci showcased their talents in the apparatus finals at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. The Beach Volleyball World Championships have reached the knockout stage. And Canada’s long track speed skaters are ready to take on the world following their national championships.
Here’s a recap of the highlights you might have missed:
Volleyball: Team Canada secures spot to Paris 2024 men’s tournament
The Canadian men’s volleyball team will make their way to Paris 2024 next summer. They closed out their Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Xi’an, China with a 3-0 sweep of Mexico on Sunday, which meant they ended up ranked second in Pool C with a record of five wins and two losses and a total of 15 points.
Earlier in the tournament Canada had defeated the Netherlands, Argentina, China and, Bulgaria. Their only losses came against Poland — who went undefeated to win the pool — and Belgium. It was a Belgian loss to Bulgaria in their final game that gave Canada the opportunity to grab the Olympic spot with their triumph against Mexico.
Three Olympic qualifying tournaments were held simultaneously in three different cities. The top two teams in each tournament earned their pass to Paris 2024. Joining Canada and Poland in Paris will be Germany, Brazil, the United States and Japan.
Artistic Gymnastics: Action wraps at world championships in Antwerp
Black is no stranger to apparatus finals, which typically feature the top eight athletes from the qualifying round on each apparatus. But it was her first time making the uneven bars final, an apparatus on which she has worked hard to improve herself over the years and now has an eponymous skill. The three-time Olympian ended up in eighth place on the bars after posting a fifth-place finish on vault. It was 10 years ago that Black made her world championship debut, also in Antwerp.
Dolci was competing in his first apparatus finals in just his third world championship appearance. He finished fifth in men’s floor exercise, just two-tenths of a point out of a podium spot. He had a tougher time on the horizontal bar, ending up in eighth place.
It capped off a very exciting week for the Canadian men’s team, who qualified for Paris 2024 after a brilliant fourth-place performance in the qualifying round. It is the first time since Beijing 2008 that Canada will have a full men’s artistic gymnastics team at the Olympic Games.
Trampoline: Sophiane Méthot shines at World Cup
Canadians were also in action at the FIG Trampoline World Cup in Varna, Bulgaria. Sophiane Méthot finished just off the podium in the women’s individual event, placing fourth. It is a good warmup for next month’s world championships in Birmingham, England which will be a direct Olympic qualifier.
Rémi Aubin and Keegan Soehn grabbed the gold medal in the men’s synchro. They are just the third Canadian men’s duo to win a World Cup synchro event. Though synchronized trampoline is not on the Olympic program, it will be part of the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games which begin in less than two weeks. Aubin and Soehn will be Canada’s men’s trampoline team in Chile.
Beach Volleyball: Three Canadian duos stay alive at world championships
Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson finished the preliminary round at Beach Volleyball World Championships in Tlaxcala, Mexico with a perfect 3-0 record in their pool. They capped it off with a 2-0 win (21-17, 24-22) against the Czech pair of Barbora Hermannová of Marie-Sára Štochlová on Monday.
After Melissa and Brandie won the first set 21-17, the Czechs put the pressure on the Canadian duo’s clean run of set victories. But Humana-Paredes denied three consecutive set point attempts and Wilkerson jumped for a block at the net to go up 23-22, with an ace rolling over the net to take the victory. Next up for the Canadians is their Round of 32 match on Wednesday.
Sarah Pavan and Molly McBain needed a win on Monday to keep their tournament alive after defeats to Switzerland and the Netherlands. But the duo dug deep and closed out their pool play with a 2-0 win (21-19, 21-12) against Puerto Rico’s Allanis Navas and Maria Gonzalez. They’ll play a Lucky Loser match on Tuesday evening to get into the knockout round.
On the men’s side, Sam Schachter and Daniel Dearing defeated Morocco’s Mohamed Abicha and Oussama El Azhari 2-0 (21-19, 21-10) to win a second straight game and improve to 2-1 in pool play. They advanced into the Round of 32 and will be back on court Wednesday.
Long Track Speed Skating: Three big wins for Maltais at Canadian Championships
Valérie Maltais came away from the Canadian Long Track Championships in Calgary with three gold medals, winning the women’s mass start, 1500m, and 3000m events over the long weekend. The competition was a key decider for which athletes will get to sport the maple leaf at ISU World Cup events this fall and winter.
Maltais’ Olympic and world champion teammates in the team pursuit, Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann, also grabbed gold medals. Blondin was victorious in the 1000m while Weidemann took the title in the 5000m. The three women shared the podium in both the 3000m and 5000m events. Carolina Hiller, who made her World Cup debut last season, won both of the women’s 500m races.
Ted-Jan Bloemen won gold in both of his specialty events, the men’s 5000m and 10,000m. Sprint star Laurent Dubreuil won the men’s 500m and finished second in the 1000m to Connor Howe, who also took the victory in the 1500m. Jordan Belchos won the men’s mass start.