Gilmore Junio captures bronze in the 500m race at the World Cup Final

Heerenveen, Netherlands, March 11, 2016 – Olympian Gilmore Junio of Calgary, AB won bronze and Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB placed 6th in the first 500m races of the competition, Friday, on the opening day of the World Cup Final taking place until Sunday in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

Junio raced to third with a time of 35.123 seconds, edging out Mika Poutala of Finland in fourth position by five thousandths of a second. Topping the podium was Russian skater Ruslan Murashov with a time of 34.96. Silver went to Ronald Mulder of the Netherlands in 35.05.

“It was nerve-racking being in the last pair with all eyes watching, but I wanted to approach today as just another day of training”, explained Junio who was racing against Alex Boisvert-Lacroix in the sixth and last pair. “I have a tendency to get myself worked up for bigger races and psych myself out. In training I have a good level of execution and I brought that to my race today.”

“I’m always looking to be better, but it was great to stand on the podium today. I’m in a good position for the overall ranking going in to the last 500m race of the season on Sunday,” added Junio, who is currently sitting third in this season’s World Cup ranking with 561 points.

Alexandre St-Jean (35.18) of Québec City, QC was 7th, William Dutton (35.31) of Humboldt, SK was 9th, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (35.52) of Sherbrooke, QC was 11th and Laurent Dubreuil (35.56) of Lévis, QC was 12th. In the World Cup ranking, Boisvert-Lacroix moved down from second to fourth position with 487 points, Dutton, 8th with 440 points, Dubreuil, 9th (432), and St-Jean, 12th (314).

500m leader Pavel Kulizhnikov from Russia, who is missing from action this weekend, is already assured to win the World Cup title while Ruslan Murashov, also from Russia, is sitting in second place with 585 points.

“Obviously it wasn’t a good race today. I had no punch in my legs. In this race, it was all about the start because I was two tenths slower than usual and that is where I lost my speed. The rest of the race was a solid performance,” said Boisvert-Lacroix, who won bronze in the 500m at the World Single Distance Championships this February.

“I’m not feeling stressed. I will rest tomorrow and come out like a grenade on Sunday,” quipped Boisvert-Lacroix.

On the women’s side, Heather McLean finished in 6th position with a time of 38.28 seconds. In her break-out year on the international circuit with two World Cup medals under her belt and only one last 500m race to go in the season, McLean is 7th in the overall 500m World Cup ranking with 463 points.

“My race was consistent with training. I had one mistake going into the last corner, but overall it was a good race. My goal was to be extra aggressive in the backstretch and I accomplished that,” explained McLean. “I’m satisfied with my race, but I'm also looking to take what I learned today to be better tomorrow.”

The World Cup Champion will be crowned in the 500m when the final races of the year in this distance will take place on Saturday for the women and on Sunday for the men.

Competitions also continue on Saturday with Heather McLean competing in the women’s 500m, St-Jean and Vincent de Haître of Cumberland, ON, in the men’s 1000m, Jordan Belchos of Toronto and Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary in the men’s 5000m and Junio, St-Jean and De Haître in the men’s Team Sprint.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m (1) M
BRONZE: Gilmore Junio (35.123)
7. Alexandre St-Jean (35.180)
9. William Dutton (35.31)
11. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (35.52)
12. Laurent Dubreuil (35.56)

500m (1) W
6. Heather McLean (38.29)

More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's web site at 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.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, City of Montreal, Calgary Olympic Oval and WinSport Canada.

- 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

Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Email: kdankers@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-589-8960
Website: www.speedskating.ca  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC