Montreal’s Mathieu Giroux breaks world record at short track speed skating competition

Mathieu Giroux of Montreal broke the world record in the men’s 3,000 metres on Sunday to highlight a medal bonanza for Canada at the 18-country Alta Valtellina Trophy short track speed skating competition.

Giroux clocked four minutes and 32.193 seconds for gold in the all-Canadian final to eclipse the previous mark of 4:32.646 set by South Korea’s Hyun-Soo Ahn in 2003. Marc-Andre Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., was second in the race in 5:01.380, Remi Beaulieu of Montreal third in 5:06.900 and Olivier Jean of Montreal fourth in 5:21.050.

“With five Canadians in the final our goal was for one of us to get the world record,” said Giroux, 19. “So initially we were just supposed to have a normal race and whoever finished first would have the record. But with 12 laps to go the other four slowed down and I just went for it. The crowd knew I was on track for the record and they rocked the place. It really helped me get that mark.”

It was also only Canadians in the men’s 1,000 final with Monette the winner in 1:24.867, Jean second in 1:27.070, Beaulieu third in 1:27.308 and Steve Robillard of Montreal fourth in 1:28.450.

The top-five overall for the meet were Canadians with Monette taking top spot, Robillard second, Jean third, Giroux fourth and Beaulieu fifth.

In the women’s 1,000, Canadians again swept the top-four spots. Annik Plamondon of Longueuil, Que., took the gold in 1:34.651 with Nita Avrith of Montreal second in 1:34.740, Jessica Gregg of Edmonton third in 1:34.858 and Melanie Gagnon of Montreal fourth in 1:35.449.

“This was the third week in a row we had a competition so I was feeling pretty tired,” said Plamondon. “But it was the same for everybody so I was happy to get through it with success. My strategy was to stay behind a bit and follow rather than take the front right away.”

In the women’s 3,000, Avrith was the winner in 5:25.876 with Plamondon second in 5:26.023. Gagnon was fourth and Gregg fifth.

In the overall standings, Plamondon took the title with Avrith second and Gregg fifth.

Canada ended the meet with 19 of the 24 medals at six gold, six silver and seven bronze.