Marianne St-Gelais skates to third straight victory and Jamie MacDonald earns first-ever medal at World Cup held in Dordrecht, Netherlands
Speed Skating Canada – DORDRECHT, Netherlands, February 13, 2016 – Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, won the gold medal in the women’s 1500m, therefore coming up with her third straight victory following the two first-place finishes she collected last week in Dresden, Germany, while Jamie MacDonald of Fort St. James, B.C., earned her first-ever medal at the senior level, a bronze in the women’s 1000m, Saturday, at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating event held in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
Skating in fifth position with two laps to go in the 1500m, Marianne St-Gelais gained ground on the pack and made her way up to the front, where she went on to win gold. She finished ahead of China’s Yihan Guo and Dutch skater Suzanne Schulting, respectively. Audrey Phaneuf of Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, was sixth.
“I changed my game plan during the race. Originally, I wanted to race from up front to be sure not to fall into any trap set by my opponents,” explained St-Gelais. “But it ended up being a very slow race and when things started to go faster, I found myself in the back. I didn’t have strong legs like I did last week, so I knew I was going to have to overtake quickly and cleanly. I put everything into it. Even if I feel a bit tired, I was able to pick up speed.”
St-Gelais has therefore won every one of her last three individual races. Last week in Dresden, she also ended up on top of the podium in the 500m and 1000m events. So far this season, the Canadian skater, who will turn 26 on February 17, has earned 10 medals in 11 individual races.
On Sunday, she will be skating in the final rounds of the 500m event.
Her 21-year-old teammate, Jamie MacDonald of Fort St. James, B.C., earned her first-ever medal skating at her fourth career World Cup stage, as she collected bronze in the first of two 1000m races slated this weekend.
“It’s definitively a big plus getting my first-ever World Cup medal,” said Jamie MacDonald. “It was a tough race with Elise Christie and Minjeong Choi; they are so strong!”
“I think I’ve improved a great deal this year in my World Cups. I just needed the experience and I’ve learned a lot in each of my races so far.”
Christie of Great Britain won gold, followed South Korea’s Choi.
In the women’ relay, Valérie Maltais of La Baie, QC, Kasandra Bradette of Saint-Félicien, QC, Audrey Phaneuf and Marianne St-Gelais were penalized after winning their semifinal heat and were eliminated, as they came into contact with a Russian skater during an exchange.
Cournoyer and Duffy fall just short of podium
Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, in the men’s 1500m, and Patrick Duffy of Oakville, ON, in the 1000m, both just missed a podium result by each finishing fourth.
In a 1500m final that included three Canadian skaters, Cournoyer finished ahead of Sasha Fathoullin of Calgary, who was fifth, while François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, ended up in eighth place after a fall that occurred before the last lap.
Israel’s Vladislav Bykanov won the race in an unusual manner, as he took off like a rocket right at the start and crossed the finish line one lap ahead of everyone else. South Korea’s Yoon-Gy Kwak and Jung-Su Lee rounded out the podium.
“We had a pretty good race up to a certain point, and we even had all three Canadians up front for a time,” said Charle Cournoyer, who had to go through the repechage heats in the morning and was then advanced to the A final after finishing third in semifinals. “However, a Chinese skater blocked my path and several others things came up after that.”
In the 1000m, Patrick Duffy was overtaken by South Korea’s Joon Chun Kim during the last lap as he was skating in third position, to end up fourth.
“It was a near perfect race until that point,” said Patrick Duffy. “What was missing in the last two or three laps was a little bit of legs. It was hard to stop that Korean train when it started rolling. Overall, I’m very happy with my performance today, although I’m a bit disappointed with the result.”
In the men’s relay, Cournoyer, Duffy, Fathoullin and Hamelin won their semifinal heat to earn a spot in Sunday’s final.
The repechage heats and final rounds for the second 1000m of the weekend and for the 500m, as well as the relay finals, will take place on Sunday.
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
Marianne St-Gelais: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
Audrey Phaneuf: 6th in the A Final (final ranking: 6)
Valérie Maltais: penalty in the B Final (final ranking: 12)
1000m (1) W
Jamie MacDonald: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: 5th in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 9)
Kasandra Bradette: yellow card in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 36)
1000m (1) M
Patrick Duffy: 4th in the A Final (final ranking: 4)
Cédrik Blais: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 14)
Charle Cournoyer: 4th in the A Final (final ranking: 4)
Sasha Fathoullin: 5th in the A Final (final ranking: 5)
François Hamelin: 8th in the A Final (final ranking: 8)
Canada: first in the semifinals and will take part in the A Final Sunday
(Charle Cournoyer, Sasha Fathoullin, François Hamelin, Patrick Duffy – Cédrik Blais)
Canada: penalty in the semifinals and eliminated
(Valérie Maltais, Kasandra Bradette, Audrey Phaneuf, Marianne St-Gelais – Jamie MacDonald, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier)
More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.
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