Canadians Tremblay, Jean win gold & silver at short track speed skating World Cup

Double Olympic medallist François-Louis Tremblay of Montreal and national team rookie Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., won gold and silver respectively on Saturday in the men’s 500-metres at the season opening short track speed skating World Cup competition.

Tremblay rocketed from the start and was unchallenged until the finish in the four-man final clocking 42.139 seconds. Jean was second in 42.271 with Kim Byeong-jun of South Korea was third almost two seconds behind Tremblay.

The Canadians capitalized on a new rule for this season with the starting positions determined by the fastest times from the previous round. Previously the start positions were determined in a draw.

"It’s great to start the season on such a strong note," said Tremblay. "The key for me today was to skate fast through every round (quarterfinals, semifinals, final). That way, I guaranteed myself the best starting position on the line. In the final, I just did the same as in the previous round by gaining the lead right from the start."

Jean, the overall champion last season at national team trials, is making his World Cup debut this weekend. He kept second spot from start to finish in the final

"I guess I’m a little surprised to be on the podium," said Jean, 22. "I just feel in great shape right now and as I went through each round I gained more and more confidence. The final was a very fast race and I was focusing on just maintaining my position."

Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., was disqualified in the semifinal.

In the men’s 1,500, world record holder Ahn Hyun-soo led South Korea to a 1-2 finish clocking 2:20.432 while Lee Ho-suk, the Olympic silver medallist, finished second in 2:20.585.

Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., and Canadian champion Mathieu Giroux of Montreal, also World Cup rookies, reached the final and placed fourth and fifth respectively.

In the women’s 500, Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., was second in the B final for sixth overall while Anouk Leblanc-Boucher of Montreal and Anne Maltais of Quebec City were eliminated in the quarterfinals. Meng Wang led China to a medal sweep in the final.

In the women’s 1,500, Nita Avrith of Montreal and Raphaele Lemieux of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., were eliminated in the semis. Jin Sun-yu led South Korea to a 1-2-3 finish in the final.

Competition ends Sunday.

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