Gangwon 2024 Day 9: Canada shines with two golds. OIS / IOC

Charlie Beatty in freestyle skiing and Eli Bouchard in snowboarding secured two gold medals for the Canadian team on day nine at Gangwon 2024. They dominated Sunday's events. Italy tops the medal table with 10 golds after Flora Tabanelli's second win.

Canada had a very positive day. They won the freestyle skiing event at the Welli Hilli Park Sky Resort with a brilliant and highly effective performance by Charlie Beaty. His score of 177.75 was impossible to beat. Olly Nichlls (Japan) came close to Olympic glory at Gangwon 2024 with a score of 174.50. Luke Harrold (New Zealand) took the bronze medal with a score of 172.25. 

It was Canada's first gold medal and they also took the top spot with Eli Bouchard, who delivered another memorable performance in the snowboarding event, scoring 183.25 ahead of Oliver Martin (USA) on 179.50 and Campbell Melvilleives (New Zealand) on 153.00. It wasn't Bouchard's first time on the podium. With his talent and ability to handle pressure, he is certainly a future competitor at the highest level. 

In the women's snowboarding, gold went to Japan's Yura Murase (154.25). She was followed by Rebecca Flynn (USA) with 153.00 and Lucia Georgalli (New Zealand), who once again won a medal.

Mao Shimada, 15, is the reigning junior world champion and already a big star in figure skating. OIS
Mao Shimada, 15, is the reigning junior world champion and already a big star in figure skating. OIS

In the women's freestyle, Flora Tabanelli was once again the best. She secured gold for her country, Italy, keeping them at the top of the medal table and personally returning to the top positions as in the previous days. Daisy Thomas (Australia) with 172.75 and Muriel Mohr (Germany) with 166.00 took silver and bronze respectively. Tabanelli's impressive score of 180.00 was a far cry from the glory she regained. 

Day 9 of Gangwon saw the figure skating heats take place at the Gangneung Ice Arena. The stage is now set for the medals to be awarded on Monday. In the ice dance rhythmic, the French pair of Samuel Blanc-Ambre Perrier secured the best position for the coming days with 62.39 points. The US duo of Dylan Cain and Olivia Ilin came second with 57.46 points. 

The best third place went to Namu Lee-Jynni Kim (Korea) with 56.58 points. The jury is still out on the individual event, where Japan dominated with Mao Shimada and Yo Takagi scoring 71.05 and 67.23 points respectively. These two scores put them in a very high position and give them a good chance of winning the category.

In the men's Nordic combined, Fin Hirnoven of Finland (62.2), Kai Mckinnon of the USA (23.0) and Marion Droz of France (34.2) are all in good positions with medal chances after the official training sessions. Khotaro Kubota (Japan, 46.3), Jan Kabelac (Czech Republic, 23.3) and Fred Gustavson (Estonia, 4.5) were the best in the men's competition.

The excitement continued on Sunday with ice hockey and curling, two of the most popular sports for spectators. In women's ice hockey, Japan beat Norway 5-1 in Group A and Germany was much better than France 4-0 in Group B. In men's ice hockey, the Czech Republic won 3-2 in Group A and Finland beat Korea 3-1 in Group B. 

Canada is the world's biggest hockey power and always has high ambitions going into any tournament. "We want nothing less than the gold medal," said Canadian men's hockey player Liam Ruck, as quoted by He was clear about the team's goal at the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG). 

"This is what we came here for. I think we have what it takes," Ruck insisted ahead of Canada's second match in the 6x6 team event. They already know that anything less than a heavy defeat against Finland will see them through to the semi-finals after an 8-0 win over the hosts. I think if we can clean up our defensive zone a little bit and reduce our turnovers a little bit, that'll be good for us," he added. 

The Lausanne 2020 bronze medallists will be looking for a win to top Group B and know they need to be at the top of their game

Canada are not the only contenders for gold. The United States also know that they will have to perform better in their second match if they are to achieve their goal. The USA will take on the Czech Republic on Monday 29 January in a battle for top spot in Group A. Both nations have already done enough to book their places in the semi-finals with their first wins.

The USA were 4-2 down against Slovakia before coming from behind in the final period to win on penalties, and the players believe that team spirit will be the key to winning the big games. "Most of us have known each other for a long time and we're just good friends. We're a close-knit group, there are no outsiders in the team. And I think that can take us a long way," said hat-trick hero Zane Torre. "I want to go back to my country with a gold medal around my neck," remarked Trottier, who also scored.

Day 9 at Gangwon 2024 finally brought the mixed round robin curling matches. 

Group A: Czech Republic -Nigeria (19-0), Hungary -  Canada (5-8), Korea - Great Britain (11-2) and Sweden - Slovenia (15-4).

Group B: Ukraine - Norway (2-7) and USA - Qatar (13-1).

Group C : Turkey - New Zealand (6-3), Brazil - Japan (1-11) and Latvia - Czech Republic (5-8). 

Group D: Denmark - Switzerland (3-6), Italy - Austria (5-6) and Germany - Kazakhstan (8-4).