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This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports' daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what's happening at the Tokyo Olympics by subscribing here.
Damian Warner delivered. The favourite to win the decathlon completed one of the greatest performances in his sport's history today, leading wire to wire to take gold with an Olympic-record 9,018 points. Only three other men have reached the revered 9,000-point plateau. They're all Olympic and/or world champions. And now, after taking bronze at the 2016 Games and three more non-gold medals at the world championships, Warner finally is too.
Pierce LePage nearly made it two Canadians on the decathlon podium, placing fifth with a personal-best score. But Canada still won a medal of each colour on Day 13. Laurence Vincent Lapointe completed her long and winding path to the Olympic podium by taking silver in the first-ever women's canoe medal race at the Games, and track cyclist Lauriane Genest grabbed a surprising bronze in the women's keirin.
That brings Canada's medal count to 18 — five gold, five silver, eight bronze. And a bunch more might be coming on Day 14, including a possible gold in women's soccer and potentially a third medal of the Games for Andre De Grasse.
Here's your Olympic viewing guide for Thursday night and Friday morning:
Friday morning is going to be wild
Get that second screen going, because Canada has a shot to win medals in up to four events in a window of about two hours, from 8 a.m. ET to 10 a.m. ET.
In chronological order:
The women's soccer team plays for gold at 8 a.m. ET.
Canada and Sweden were originally scheduled to kick off their gold-medal match at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday. That's Friday at 11 a.m. local time — right in the teeth of the brutal Tokyo heat. So the teams asked for a nighttime start (same as the three other soccer medal matches) and organizers acquiesced.
In some ways, the heat was already off the Canadians. They're playing with house money after beating the mighty United States for the first time in 20 years in the semifinals. That cathartic victory ensured Canada will accomplish its stated mission to "change the colour" of its medal in Tokyo after taking two consecutive bronze. It'll be at least a silver, and gold if the Canadians can upset a Sweden team that has looked very intent on upgrading its silver from Rio. The Swedes grabbed this tournament by the collar right away with their stunning 3-0 win over the top-ranked Americans in their opener, and have outscored their opponents 13-3 through five matches — all wins. Read a full preview of the Canada-Sweden gold-medal match here.
Moh Ahmed and Justyn Knight run in the men's 5,000m final at 8 a.m. ET.
Ahmed is the stronger medal contender. He finished fourth in this event in Rio and took bronze at the most recent world championships, in 2019. The 30-year-old also looked strong in the 10,000m final earlier in the Games, placing sixth — pretty encouraging considering it's his weaker distance. Both Ahmed and Knight, 25, qualified easily for the 5,000 final. They placed second and third, respectively, in their qualifying-round heats. Knight, who ran in the faster group, clocked the third-best time overall in his Olympic debut. Read more about the Canadians' performances in the heats and their outlook for the final here.
Gabriela DeBues-Stafford runs in the women's 1,500m final at 8:50 a.m. ET.
The colourfully coiffed 25-year-old made a run at the "metric mile" podium at the 2019 world championships in Qatar, where she finished sixth. DeBues-Stafford has looked strong in Tokyo too, winning her first-round heat before placing third in her semifinal with a personal season-best time. Unfortunately, her younger sister Lucia Stafford just missed the cut for joining her in the final.
This race is shaping up as a battle between defending champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and reigning world champ Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands. Hassan is the one who fell on the last lap of her opening-round heat and roared back to win it. Less than 12 hours later, she won gold in the 5,000m. Hassan is favoured to win the 10,000 on Saturday, so a victory in the 1,500 would put her in great position to pull off an unprecedented triple.
Andre De Grasse can complete another Olympic medal trifecta in the men's 4x100m final at 9:50 a.m. ET.
The man is an absolute machine. Less than 14 hours after winning his first Olympic gold medal, in the 200 metres, De Grasse was back on the track for the 4x100 qualifying round — his seventh race in six days. Somehow, he looked like the freshest guy out there. When the 100m bronze medallist took the baton for the anchor leg, Canada was lagging in fourth or fifth place. Only the top three qualify automatically for the final. But De Grasse came through in the clutch once again — not only blowing past the men he needed to overtake to make sure Canada advanced, but nearly winning the race outright (it went to China in a photo finish). Now he's in position to complete the 100/200/4x100 podium triple for the second consecutive Olympics.
The relay final looks pretty wide open. The United States was favoured to win gold, but it failed to qualify after squandering its vaunted depth with sloppy exchanges and a general lack of cohesion. Jamaica is the new betting favourite after winning that heat, but they no longer seem invincible now that Usain Bolt is off doing Peloton commercials. Canada is listed among a jumble of teams right below Jamaica — along with China, Great Britain and Italy, which features 100m champ Lamont Marcell Jacobs.
Other Canadian medal chances Thursday afternoon through Friday morning
There's one more strong one:
Men's 50km race walk
People like to make fun of this sport. But the men's 50K event, which starts at 4:30 p.m. ET, is no joke. It's the longest foot race in the Olympics, and maybe the most brutal. Five years ago, 31 of the 80 men who started the event failed to finish it — many of them succumbing to the horrifying heat in Rio. As you may have heard, it's pretty hot in Tokyo too.
Canada's Evan Dunfee made it to the finish line in Rio (barely), only to have his physical agony matched by the emotional devastation of finishing fourth — just 14 seconds away from bronze and 40 seconds from gold — after setting a Canadian record. Dunfee was briefly elevated to the podium after officials ruled that third-place finisher Hirooki Arai of Japan had bumped him. But Arai's disqualification was reversed, kicking Dunfee back to that heartbreaking fourth-place position.
Dunfee went on to take bronze at the 2019 world championships, and this is his last chance to reach the Olympic podium in the 50K. The event is being dropped from the Olympics after Tokyo, though there will still be a 20K walk for both men and women. Mathieu Bilodeau is the other Canadian in the 50K's Olympic swan song. He placed 14th at the 2019 worlds.
The betting markets price Dunfee as the No. 4 favourite, suggesting he'll narrowly miss the podium once again. But, if you follow him on Twitter, you know he's got a chip on his shoulder and a fire in his belly — exactly what's needed in a race that can take you through hell.
Another interesting thing you should know about
Laurence Vincent Lapointe starts going for her second canoe medal tonight. The women's 200m singles silver medallist pairs with eighth-place finisher Katie Vincent for the 500m doubles event. They won the world title in 2017 and '18 before Vincent Lapointe missed the '19 worlds because of a doping suspension that was later overturned and the pandemic wiped out the 2020 worlds. The Canadians are slight favourites over China to win gold, and they won't have to worry about singles champion Nevin Harrison of the United States. Her country didn't qualify a boat for the doubles event, which starts at 8:30 p.m. ET with the first-round heats. The top two in each of the two heats advance straight to the semifinals on Friday night. The rest will have to go through the quarter-finals tonight at 10:21 p.m. ET.
OK, so we wrote off the U.S. men's basketball team too quickly. A lot of people (including me) were quick to bury this variant of the Dream Team after it lost back-to-back exhibition games to Nigeria and Australia and then dropped its Olympic tournament opener to France. But since then, the Americans are 4-0 and have outscored their opponents by an average of 30 points en route to reaching the final. Oh, and they have NBA superstars Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard and Draymond Green and Devin Booker and — alright, enough. They've proved they're good. But, let's be honest, it's gold or bust for this team. And everyone will pounce on them again if they lose to France in the gold-medal game on Friday night.
How to watch live events
They're being broadcast on TV on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. Or choose exactly what you want to watch by live streaming on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports' Tokyo 2020 website. Check out the full streaming schedule here.