A historical first World Junior Championship title for Canada in the short track relay

Sarault wins silver in women's 1000m and finishes second overall

Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Poland, March 4, 2018 – Canada won its first-ever world junior title in the short track speed skating relay, regardless of gender, as the women's team skated to gold at the World Junior Championships that ended on Sunday in Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Poland. For her part, Courtney Sarault from Moncton, N.B., earned her second individual medal of the competition, silver in the 1000m, to finish second in overall standings.
 
Sarault, skating with Alyson Charles from Montreal (Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough), QC, Danaé Blais of Châteauguay, QC, and Claudia Gagnon from Saguenay (La Baie borough), QC, picked up Canada's first-ever win at the ISU World Junior Championships by finishing ahead of Japan and Italy.
 
Since 2002, Canada had collected three silver medals and five bronze in the women's relay, as well as four silver medals and three bronze in the men's relay, but had never stepped onto to the top of the podium in that event at the ISU World Junior Championships.
 
“This what was we were aiming for,” said Alyson Charles. “We've been feeling well since Friday and our exchanges were good. Our strategy was up to par. We knew what we had to do. We simply executed everything well.”

“We really worked hard over the last few months with the Olympic team and the other girls, and it really paid off,” added Danaé Blais. “In training, it was really a lot harder and we didn’t know what to expect. Things ended up working out really well. There were one or two exchanges that weren't quite right, but we always managed to adapt and to stay up front.”
 
“We were really consistent and confident. We came up with really great exchanges and it paid off. I am super proud of our effort,” commented Claudia Gagnon.
 
A total of three medals for Courtney Sarault
Courtney Sarault finished the competition in second place overall, 10 points away from South Korea's Ji Yoo Kim. She finished ahead of respectively American skater Maame Biney and Hungary's Petra Jaszapati, who have recently represented their respective countries at the 2018 Olympic Games.
 
This is the best result by a Canadian skater since Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu who, in 2010, finished second overall, while on the women's side, Kalyna Roberge was third at the 2005 World Junior Championships. Marie-Ève Drolet won the world championship title in 2001.
 
On Sunday, Sarault first went on to win her second silver medal of the competition, this time in the 1000m, as she finished behind Kim. Biney earned bronze.

In the 1500m Super Final that followed, the 17-year-old skater, the only Canadian representative in this event exclusive to the top six skaters from each gender following the three individual events, gave it her all, but her victory was not enough for her to overtake the South Korean skater in overall standings.
 
“Going into the 1000m, I was really determined to win a medal,” said Sarault, who was fourth in Saturday's 500m. “I was going for gold, but second place is still pretty good. In the 1500m Super Final, I still wanted to get a gold, so I went at it super hard and came first in that distance, which was kind of surreal for me. It was a really good feeling to finish off the day like that. And on top of that, to win another gold medal with the girls was amazing.”
 
“I would have never expected finishing in second place overall. I've improved so much over the last year as I made every A final. Last time, I didn't even make it through to the top finals. I'm super happy with my overall position and hopefully I can improve on it even more next year.”
 
Her teammates Danaé Blais and Alyson Charles, respectively eliminated in the quarterfinals and qualification rounds, finished 16th and 19th in overall standings.
 
On the men's side, Adrian Rudy from Toronto, ON, was the top Canadian on Sunday. He was eliminated in the 1000m quarterfinals and finished 36th overall. Vincent Girard of Ville de Saguenay, QC, ended the individual competition in 27th place while Marco Schumann from Saskatoon, SK, was 22nd.
 
The men's relay, which also included Alexis Marceau from Rivière-du-Loup, QC, finished 9th overall after being eliminated in the quarterfinals.

More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

1000m F
Courtney Sarault: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
Danaé Blais: 3rd in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 11)
Alyson Charles: 4th in the heats and eliminated (final ranking: 22)

1000m M
Adrian Rudy: 5th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 17)
Vincent Girard: 5th in the heats and eliminated (final ranking: 36)
Marco Schumann: 1st in his ranking races heat (final ranking: 40)

1500m Super Final W
Courtney Sarault: 1

Final ranking W
Courtney Sarault: 2
Alyson Charles: 16
Danaé Blais: 19

Final ranking M
Marco Schumann: 22
Vincent Girard: 27
Adrian Rudy: 36

Relay W
Canada: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
(Alyson Charles, Danaé Blais, Courtney Sarault, Claudia Gagnon)

Relay M
Canada: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 9)
(Marco Schumann, Vincent Girard, Alexis Marceau, Adrian Rudy)

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Speed Skating Canada is committed to Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating. 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. www.speedskating.ca

Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:

Premium partner: Intact Insurance
Funding partners: Government of Canada (Sport Canada), Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee
Official On-Ice High Performance Apparel: Li-Ning
Long Track Team Sponsor: KIA
Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA
Official Technical Equipment Supplier: Nagano Skate
Sport Development Partners: Winsport Canada, Calgary’s Olympic Oval, University of Calgary, Institut national du sport du Québec, Government of Quebec, Canadian Sport Institute-Calgary, City of Montreal, Quebec City, Excellence sportive Québec-Lévis

- 30 -

For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC