Day 11: Canuck goes for aerial gold

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — The job for Canada’s top freestyle aerialist Steve Omischl on Monday is simple: repeat the winning performances from the last two Februarys at Cypress Mountain and he will win the Olympic gold medal.

North Bay, Ont.-born Omischl, 31, won the February 2008 and 2009 world cups, which doubled as test events for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

He knows the mountain in various conditions and also knows he wants to avoid a repeat of the disappointing results from his previous Olympic appearances. He was 11th in 2002 at Salt Lake and 20th in 2006 at Turin.

“I can’t put the cart ahead of the horse. I need to get through the semifinals and that means doing two nice jumps,” Omischl said. “You’re going to do whatever you need to do to qualify and if that means (jumps of) lesser degree of difficulty then it’s lesser degree of difficulty.”

The women’s hockey tournament is finally in the semifinal stage, but will that mean anything resembling parity? Windsor, Ont. native Meghan Agosta scored eight goals in three preliminaries and she leads Canada against Finland in the evening semifinal at GM Place. The winner advances to the Thursday final against either the United States or Sweden.

Kevin Martin of Edmonton and his men’s rink meets the U.S. in the morning draw while it’s Cheryl Bernard of Calgary against Sweden in women’s curling in the afternoon.

Canada’s ski jumping quartet continues its developmental quest as the Calgary-based quartet of Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes, Eric Mitchell, Trevor Morrice and Stefan Read seek a spot in the team jump finals at Whistler Olympic Park.

The London, Ont. duo of Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue exhibit their free dance routine in the mixed dance at the Pacific Coliseum. Moir and Virtue took silver at the Four Continents in 2009 at the same site. They were second in Friday’s compulsory dance.

Canada is also hoping to meet or beat its Turin 2006 silver medal in cross-country skiing team sprint. Veteran Sara Renner of Golden, B.C. will be relied upon to pace newcomers Daria Gaiazova of Banff, Alta., and Brittany Webster of Canmore, Alta., at Whistler Olympic Park. The team will be inspired by Saturday’s showing of three Canadian men in the top nine of the 30-kilometre pursuit.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca

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