Courtney Sarault Skates to Medal at World Cup Short Track
New Brunswick native captures silver in the women’s 1500m during Beijing 2022 test event
BEIJING, CHINA – Courtney Sarault is the first athlete to wear the maple leaf on an international speed skating podium during the 2021-22 season, having captured a silver medal in the women’s 1500m at the ISU World Cup Short Track in Beijing, China on Saturday. The result marked an opportunity for Canadians to celebrate at the Capital Indoor Stadium, where they are competing in the test event at the venue for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
An exciting field in the women’s 1500m A Final – the first at a World Cup since the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic – featured both Sarault and Kim Boutin. While the Canadians started at the back of the pack to conserve energy, 21-year-old Sarault made a strategic move to the front with six laps remaining. Boutin (Sherbrooke, QC) was pushed to the outside of the track mid-race by a skater who was later penalized for the move, and ultimately finished fifth.
When Sarault was passed by a trio of Korean skaters in the last lap, that could have been the end of her medal chances. However, the New Brunswick native benefited from a bit of luck only a short time later, getting thrust back into podium position after two of the three Korean skaters crashed in the final turn. Sarault (2:22.167) outstretched Kristen Santos of the United States (2:22.176) at the finish line to claim silver, behind gold medalist Yubin Lee (2:21.833), the only Korean skater left standing following the crash.
The remainder of Saturday’s competition provided mixed results for the Canadian team. Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC) and Steven Dubois (Lachenaie, QC) competed in the B Final of the men’s 1500m, finishing fourth and fifth in that race respectively to earn valuable World Cup points toward Olympic quota spots.
Jordan Pierre-Gilles was the lone Canadian to advance past the quarterfinals in the 500m. The Sherbrooke, QC native tied his career-best result in the distance with a fifth place finish, despite not having the chance to race in the finals after he was penalized for a false start alongside World Record holder Wu Dajing of China. Kim Boutin faced the same fate earlier in the day, having been removed from the women’s 500m quarterfinals with a double false start penalty after the race was called back several times due to falls in the opening corner.
In the relay semifinals, the Canadian women placed third and advanced to the B Final. The men were penalized and will need to wait until the next World Cup in Nagano, Japan for another opportunity to race the relay as a team.
The World Cup in Beijing concludes on Sunday with the men’s and women’s 1000m, and relay finals. Races will be live streamed on CBC Sports beginning at 2:02am ET.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting this today. During the warm-up, I was having a bit of difficulty with my boots and my blades. I was going into the races just planning to have fun, to try to make the B Final and to work on what I have to do tactically. I ended up with a silver medal, so I’m proud of myself for overcoming what I didn’t think I could and I’m excited for what is next!”
– Courtney Sarault
“It was a great day for me. I am very happy with my performances and proud of myself for the good racing I did today. I got myself into the A Final and then was disqualified alongside the Chinese skater Wu for two false starts. Those things happen! I am obviously disappointed about it, but I think that it’s necessary to focus on the positive and this makes me even hungrier for what comes next.”
– Jordan Pierre-Gilles
FULL CANADIAN RESULTS
Courtney Sarault – 2nd
Kim Boutin – 5th
Camille De Serres-Rainville – 58th
Men’s 1500m Charles Hamelin – 12thSteven Dubois – 13thPascal Dion – 41st
Florence Brunelle – 11th
Alyson Charles – 17th
Kim Boutin – 20th
Jordan Pierre-Gilles – 5th
Maxime Laoun – 20th
Steven Dubois – 21st
Speed Skating Canada