Canada sweeps men’s 500-metre podium

Canada sweeps men’s 500-metre podium at short track World Cup in Moscow

Canadian men also win gold in the men’s relay

Audio (MP3): Jean (French), McFarlane (English), Hamelin (French), St-Gelais (French), men’s relay (Bastille, Jean, Hamelin, Beaulieu and McFarlane)

MOSCOW – Three Canadians swept the 500-metre podium today at the Korean Air ISU World Cup (complete results) in Moscow. Oliver Jean took the gold medal, followed by teammates Liam McFarlane with silver and Charles Hamelin, who fell in the final, claimed the bronze. Today’s races featured the men’s and women’s 500 and 1,500 metres and relay finals.

Jean of Lachenaie, Que., won in time of 41.080 seconds. McFarlane of Medicine Hat, Alta., winning his first individual World Cup medal, was 0.157 seconds behind for second place. Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., was third in a time of 1:12.418. American Simon Cho was penalized and had to settle for fourth place.

“This is our second podium sweep of the World Cup season. It goes to show the depth of the Canadian team,” said Jean. “I believe we would have liked for everyone to stay on their skates in the final. There was some back luck.”

Canadians last took all three medals in a final when Hamelin, Yellowknife’s Michael Gilday and Jean were gold, silver and bronze medalists in the 1,000-meter final on Oct. 30, 2011 in Saguenay, Que.

Two other Canadians skated in A finals today. Marianne St. Gelais of St. Félicien, Que., was fourth in the 500 metres in a time of 45.240 seconds. Kexin Fan of China won the gold medal in 45.013 seconds, followed by Italian Arianna Fontana (45.088) and Qiuhong Liu of China (45.158). In a crowded 1,500-metre six-skater final, Marie-Eve Drolet of Laterrière, Que., was fifth in a time of 2:28.135. Only 0.335 seconds separated her from the winner, Eun-Buyl Lee of Korea (2:27.775).

Also the women’s 500 metres, Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., finished seventh overall and Gabrielle Waddell of Red Deer, Alta., was 13th. Truchon qualified through the quarter-finals, but was penalized in her semifinal. Waddell was fourth in her quarter-final and did not advance to any of the finals.

Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que., yesterday’s bronze medalist in the 1,500 metres, finished ninth today. She was third in her semifinal and again in the B final. Jessica Hewitt of Kamloops, B.C., won her repechage semifinals, but was then sixth in the main semifinals for a 16th overall ranking.

In today men’s 1,500 metres overall ranking, François-Louis Tremblay finished eighth and Rémi Beaulieu was 12th. Both skaters are from Alma, Que. Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., took 14th spot. Tremblay was fourth in his semifinal and then second in the B final, while Beaulieu and Bastille were both in fifth place in their semifinals.

Skating in the lead for 16 of the last 45 laps, Canada took the gold medal in the men’s relay final in a time of six minutes and 46.739 seconds. Korea was second (6:50.704) and China third (6:50.848) – both teams had falls in the final. Bastille, Beaulieu, Hamelin and Jean represented Canada in today’s final, but teammates McFarlane and Tremblay skated in earlier races to also earn a gold medal.

“It was a good race from the start,” said Bastille. “We followed the game plan of trying to stay in the lead. We controlled the race pretty well. There were a lot of falls, but we stayed out of trouble by staying out front.”

In the women’s relay, Drolet, Hewitt, Maltais and Truchon finished in second place but were penalized and given fourth. China took gold, followed by the United States and the Netherlands.