Winter Olympics: Canada's Biggest Surprises and Disappointments
The Canadians Who Surprised and Disappointed
It was a Winter Olympics to remember for Canada. At least, for the most part. With 29 total medals, Canada bested its previous record of 27 from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. While Canada didn't come away with 14 gold medals (the record), they gladly came home with 11, their second-best total.
The Canadian Press was on point in predicting Canada to break its record. While some of the gold medal winners like Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in ice dancing and Mikael Kingsbury in freestyle skiing men's moguls were impressive, they were simply meeting their lofty expectations.
For most of the athletes, they exceeded expectations and made Canada proud. But it wasn't a happy story for everyone. Here are the most surprising and disappointing athletes of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Surprise: Brady Leman, Men's Ski Cross (Freestyle)
Odds to Win Gold: +2500
Brady Leman came oh so close in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games when he finished fourth. This time, he left no room for doubt as he put on the performance of his life. Leman had a bit of help when a crash in the final took out Russian Sergey Ridzik and compatriot Kevin Drury who had slightly better odds at winning (+2000).
Leman beat the favourite, Marc Bischofberger of Switzerland and became the first Canadian man to medal at men's ski cross. Leman became the fourth overall ski cross competitor to podium. It was a feel-good story for Leman who was injured prior to the 2010 Olympics and just missed the podium in 2014.
Disappointment: Men's and Women's Curling Teams
Odds to Win Gold: -110 (Both)
You can't win them all. That was clearly the case for both of Canada's curling teams. Kevin Koe and his team were the odds-on favourite to win and along with Rachel Homan and her team, they were considered two of Canada's biggest gold medal locks. But PyeongChang was simply not their tournament.
This was Canada's worst results in Curling since it became part of the official program in 1998. The nation had medaled in both men's and women's contests in the last five Olympics winning gold in half of them. Koe and his team lost twice to the United States and lost the bronze medal game. Homan and her team fared even worse finishing sixth after a 0-3 start paired with poor sportsmanship from the skip.
On the bright side, the inaugural mixed curling team won gold.
Surprise: Kelsey Serwa, Women's Ski Cross (Freestyle)
Odds to Win Gold: +2000
Friendship goals. Kelsey Serwa and best bud Brittany Phelan finished first and second in the women's ski cross despite both being longshots. Serwa is the reigning Olympic silver medallist but the steep competition meant repeating or even improving on these results were an uphill battle especially with Serwa's extensive list of injuries.
Serwa is already dealing with arthritis as a 28-year-old and already has three knee surgeries on her resume. But the British Columbian used her veteran savvy and capitalized on Switzerland's Fanny Smith and Sweden's Sandra Naeslund getting caught in traffic to pass them on the inside and she never looked back.
Having her close friend and training partner Brittany Phelan tag along to win silver was icing on the cake.
Surprise: Sebastien Toutant, Snowboarding (Men's Big Air)
Odds to Win Gold: +1200
The gutsiest athlete in the Team Canada could be Toutant who competed through an upper-body injury to shock the world and capture gold. A compressed disc kept Toutant from practicing for months and he was primarily in the shadows of superstar teammates Max Parrot and Mark McMorris. But all of that only motivated 25-year-old from Montreal even more.
Toutant wasn't perfect in his run. He scored an 84.75 and 89.50 in his first two runs but crashed in his third. Fortunately for Toutant, only he, silver medallist Kyle Mack of the US, and bronze medallist Billy Morgan of the UK were the only ones to complete two jumps over 80 points.
This will go down as Toutant's greatest highlight and is an inspiring reminder to never quit no matter what.
Best Canadian Sportsbooks
The Olympics have come and gone and staying up in the wee hours of the morning wasn't the only time Canadians supported their athletes. Several even wagered hard-earned money and like the surprising athletes above, a few cashed big! These online sportsbooks serve Canadians and have plenty of promotions. Read our reviews to find the best books.
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