Team Canada figures to hit the podium multiple times in speedskating during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Despite historically being one of the sport's more dominant countries, Canada has fallen behind in the public perception department this year thanks to strong German and Dutch squads, not to mention the sudden rise to prominence of the American team.
The Games in Sochi are just underway, and the Canadians continue to fly under the radar. Those at fault of overlooking the talented team will learn a few names from podium appearances by Canada's athletes before the Games end.
Lost in the hype of the United States' Shani Davis is Canada's Denny Morrison, who is an unheralded force sure to put up strong numbers in the 1,500-meter event.
Morrison has quite the history in the sport, as he won bronze in 2006 and a gold in the team pursuit in 2010 in Vancouver. He also held a world record in the 1,500-meter event at one point.
More interesting is Morrison's unique path to the Games in Sochi. He broke his leg cross-country skiing in December of 2012 and had to first turn his attention to how to survive before he could think about Sochi, via The Canadian Press:
I was stuck in the woods, kind of by myself. I had to get myself out of there. Within two days I was focused on, `What am I doing now to recover?' The Olympics are still a ways away and I've got to prepare for those.
Morrison is completely healthy now and gives Canada a good shot at medals in two events. Two podium appearances for Morrison are not out of the question if he can regain his old form.
Brittany Schussler has yet to make an abundance of noise in the Games from Sochi, but there is still a chance she pulls it together and leads her country to a medal.
Schussler finished 19th in the 3,000-meter event, but has seemingly always had a preference for the 1,500-meter race and the team pursuit.
The 2014 Games mark Schussler's second appearance in the Olympics. In Vancouver, she finished no better than 25th in the 1,000- and 1,500-meter events, but was a key cog in the highly touted team pursuit squad.
She will be back in action in that regard with the next athlete on the list.
Like Morrison, Christine Nesbitt has quite the interesting story going into the Games as she looks to fight her way back from celiac disease.
Nesbitt won the 1,000-meter race in Vancouver, but much has changed since then. Outside of her obvious personal battles, the emergence of Team USA with Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe pose a major threat to Nesbitt this time around.
Nesbitt is a veteran, as one can surely tell from her quotes about the vast array of challenges she will face, via Tony Ambrogio:
Nesbitt is set to compete in the 500, 1,000, 1,500 and team pursuit events, so fans can count on her to make at least one podium appearance, if not more.
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