Five Medals for Canada on Final Day of Short Track World Cup in Kazakhstan
Speed Skating Canada – ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN – Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que. was golden in Kazakhstan on Sunday, earning his first international medal of the 2018-19 season at the ISU World Cup Short Track. His time of 40.661 in the men’s 500m was good enough for first place, a position he held from start to finish.
“It was an excellent day for me on a personal level and for Canada as a whole,” remarked Girard, who has won gold in the 500m distance during each of the last four World Cup seasons. “We trained very hard after Salt Lake City because we didn’t get the results that we wanted. We came back stronger and it helped us achieve our best overall day to date.”
The mixed gender relay team – consisting of Girard, Kim Boutin, Cédrik Blais and Alyson Charles – also skated to a gold medal in a time of 2:39.615, the first in Canadian history. While the discipline was only introduced to international competition this season, it will be making its debut at the Beijing 2022 Olympics and today’s medal bodes well for Canada.
The Canadians sat in second place for much of the final race, but a well-timed pass by Girard in the last corner earned the team the top spot. Pascal Dion, Danaé Blais and Steven Dubois joined the group on the podium, having competed in previous rounds of the mixed relay race. It marked the first World Cup medal for brother and sister duo Cédrik and Danaé Blais.
“I am very proud of my two relays, especially the mixed relay,” said the young D. Blais, who was competing in only the second World Cup of her career. “It was super cool to be able to win that medal with my brother.”
Charles Hamelin earned his first World Cup medal of the season, skating with Girard, Dubois and Dion in the men’s relay. In an exciting race, the Canadians captured silver despite crossing the line third, as the Korean team was penalized for an arm push. Hamelin fell mid-way through the race but was able to continue skating en route to a time of 6:56.750. Charle Cournoyer joined the group on the podium.
“Our men’s team has made a lot of progress since the first World Cup in Calgary,” added Girard. “We had a lot of disqualifications at the start of the season, but had only one here. All of the members of the team really stepped up their game and performed very well this weekend.”
Boutin, Charles and D. Blais teamed up with Camille De Serres-Rainville to earn the ladies relay team its second bronze medal of the season. The Canadians finished behind the Netherlands and Korea with a time of 4:12.193.
Boutin also earned a bronze medal for Canada in the ladies 1500m, her second podium finish of the weekend. The native of Sherbrooke, Que. posted a time of 2:28.476, finishing behind Min Jeong Choi of Korea and Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands.
One other Canadian was in medal contention on Sunday – Montreal’s Dion, who skated to a sixth-place finish in the finals of the men’s 1500m. Korean skaters swept the podium in the race, the second time that country accomplished the feat this weekend.
Skating in B Finals, Charles of Montreal, Que. and Dubois of Lachenaie, Que. finished fourth and seventh in the ladies and men’s 1500m, respectively.
De Serres-Rainville (Montreal, Que.), Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Que.) and C. Blais (Châteauguay, Que.) were eliminated in the quarter-finals of their respective 500m races. Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, Que.) faced the same result in the semifinals of the men’s 1500m.
Alison Desmarais (Vanderhoof, BC), D. Blais (Châteauguay, Que.) and Claudia Gagnon (Saguenay, Que.) failed to advance out of the repechage rounds in their respective individual races.
For more information on the event, including links to schedules and results, please visit https://www.speedskating.ca/events/world-cup-3-st.
Speed Skating Canada