Québec dominates 1000m short track competition

Québec short track speed skaters captured five of the six medals up for grabs today in the 1000m short track speed skating competition at the Halifax 2011 Canada Winter Games. With four women from Québec in the final, the sweep was an obvious one. Élizabeth Albert started out in front, closely followed by teammates Ann-Véronique Michaud, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier and Cynthia Mascitto. With five laps to go in the race, Michaud made her way to the front, and Harris-Gauthier quickly passed inside to take the lead. Two laps later, Michaud passed again, on her way to her second gold medal of the Games. She crossed the finish line in 1:36.521, Harris-Gauthier captured the silver medal, in 1:36.648 and Albert took the bronze (1:37.522) while Mascitto had to settle for fourth place. Michaud now has two gold medals at these Canada Winter Games, while Harris-Gauthier has two silver and Albert has two bronze.

"I wanted to race from the start," said Ann-Véronique Michaud afterwards. "I made sure to stay in first or second place the whole way, I knew that way I would be in control. I felt good physically during the race, and I'm really happy to come out of it with the gold."

The men's final also saw two Québec representatives at the start line, Maxime Gauthier and Yoan Gauthier, along with Charles Evans of New Brunswick and Vincent de Haître of Ontario. De Haître started out first, but with Maxime Gauthier, Yoan Gauthier and Evans closely behind. With six laps to go, Yoan took the lead and Maxime slipped into second position. The two skaters accelerated, creating a gap between them and the other two. Evans took third place with four laps to go. Meanwhile, Maxime Gauthier passed his teammate two laps before the end of the race and skated away to the gold medal with a time of 1:29.033. Yoan Gauthier followed for the silver medal in 1:29.663, while Charles Evans took the bronze (1:32.015) and Vincent de Haître finishes fourth (1:33.039).

This is Maxime Gauthier's second gold medal in Halifax, as he picked up gold in the 1500m on Day 1. Yoan Gauthier also had a bronze medal from the 1500m, and this is a first medal for Charles Evans, who follows suit to brother Andrew who took silver in Monday's 500m race.

"With two of us from Québec in the final, we wanted to be safe and not risk making each other fall," explained Maxime Gauthier. "So we took the lead early enough and stayed safely there until the end."

Races end tomorrow at St. Margaret's centre, with the Super 1500m final and the relay finals.