Another Great Day for Canada in Saguenay

The Canadian skaters were all over the podium once again today at the Centre Georges-Vézina, with four medals, including two gold, in the third stop of the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup circuit. This adds to the five Canadian medals from yesterday, for nine in total in Saguenay.

It was a second medal in two days for Kalyna Roberge (Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC) and Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC), who won gold in the 1000m and 500m respectively. “After my silver medal yesterday [1500m], I was pretty confident today, which allowed me to skate well,” explained Hamelin after his race. “It seemed easy today,” he said, smiling.

Jeffrey Scholten (Montréal, QC) joined Hamelin by stepping on the third step of the podium of the 500m. Chinese skater Ze Hu managed to pass Scholten at the finish line, stealing the silver. It is the second consecutive day that we see two host country skaters on the podium of that distance.

Michael Gilday, from the Northwest Territories, was also of the quarter finals of the 500m and while he did all he could to finish second of his heat, he was unable to pass the two skaters in front of him.

In the 1000m, Roberge was the only Canadian skater in the final. Amanda Overland (Montreal, QC) and Annik Plamondon (Longueuil, QC) were both in very tough quarter final heats, and they couldn’t finish second. And we thought the Canadian skater would have to settle for bronze, as she was stuck behind two Koreans a few meters from the finish line. But we had a proof that anything can happen in short track speed skating, when Sun-Yu Jin tripped right before the end of the race, dragging her teammate Eun-Ju Jung with her. Roberge was first to cross the finish line, just before another Korean, Chun-Sa Byun.

“I’m particularly proud of my 1000m result this weekend, because of the way I skated against the Koreans,” said Roberge proudly after her race. “They were unable to keep me in the back for the whole race, I proved them I was able to pass them. Not only did I skate well, but I also learnt a lot this weekend,” finished the young skater, after winning her first ever World Cup gold medal.

The fourth medal was a bronze in the relay, with Overland, Roberge, Plamondon and Anne Maltais (Québec, QC), who finished behind China and Korea. Since Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB) and Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) skated in the semi-final yesterday, they were on the podium with their teammates. The male team from Canada was disqualified yesterday so they did not skate today.

Marc-André Monette (Montréal, QC) was skating in the 1000m, and he finished second of the B final, after finishing third behind Hyun-Soo Ahn (Korea) and Nicola Rodigari (Italy), who then went on to win gold and bronze respectively. Another Korean, Ho-Suk Lee, finished second.

In the female 500m, things weren’t as easy as yesterday, and Jessica Gregg, bronze medallist yesterday, had the best result for Canada, with a victory in the B final. Her two teammates, Anne Maltais and Ivanie Blondin were eliminated in the quarter final.

This is an excellent performance for Canada in this third stop of the ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup circuit. Skaters from the host country had previously won 12 medals in two world cups, which brings them to 23.

Among the Canadian individual medallists, it is worth noting that we have six different skaters : Roberge (2), Hamelin (2), François-Louis Tremblay (Montréal, QC), Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, QC), Gregg and Scholten. If we count the relay, ten of the twelve Canadian skaters leave Saguenay with a medal around their neck, as Overland, Blondin, Maltais and Plamondon won bronze in the relay.

Athletes are leaving for Montreal tomorrow, where they will skate in the fourth stop of the World Cup at the Arena Maurice-Richard, from December 8 to 10.