Rémi Beaulieu takes bronze in 1500m at Short Track World Cup

Rémi Beaulieu (Alma, QC) captured the second World Cup medal of his career, today, when he skated to a bronze medal in the 1500m. Beaulieu was the only Canadian to step on the podium in Dresden today, but the three men skating the 1500m made the A final and all skaters achieved top-10 finishes in the 500m.

The top three male and female canadian short track athletes are not skating in Dresden, as they came back on home soil last week to prepare for the upcoming World Championships, so to see so many top 10 finishes (10 out of 12 today) is extremely encouraging and speaks a lot to the depth of the team.

Beaulieu lined up in a 7-men final along with teammates Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, NT) and Marc-André Monette (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC), who had to skate through the repechage this morning. American skater J.R. Celski crossed the finish line first in 2:14.532 for gold, followed by Italian Yuri Confortola (2:14.820) and Beaulieu (2:15.207). Gilday settled for 5th place in 2:16.243 and Monette was strangely disqualified when a Korean skater fell and brought him down in his fall, and was awarded 7th place.

“We were seven in the final, it was a very fast race led by J.R. Celski”, explained Beaulieu. “I had 2-3 chances to go in front but I didn’t take them, that was my mistake. I was 7th most of the race, there was a lot of action, including the fall of Marc-André and the Korean, so I was keeping my energy for the lsat laps. I managed to make my way to 3rd place in the last straight away, but it was too late to go further. If I had followed my race plan which was to be more aggressive, my medal would be of a different colour.”

In the 500m, Canadians were strong, but no one was able to make the A final. On the men side, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, QC), was disqualified for impeding in his semi-final, for 8th place overall. Teammate François Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC), who posted the fastest time on the distance during yesterday’s qualification rounds, was unable to skate his semi-final round. In quarter final, Hamelin fell along with an other skater and while he was advanced to the semi-final, an important contusion on his left leg made it impossible for him to skate and he had to settle for 9th position, while Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) took 10th place. Hamelin shows mild symptoms of concussion and will not be able to skate tomorrow either.

On the women side, both Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC) and Jessica Hewitt (Kamloops, BC) qualified for the B final. The close race was won by Bulgarian Evgenia Radanova in 44.322, Lambert took 2nd place in 44.394 and Hewitt followed in 44.454, for 6th and 7th place overall. Anne Maltais (Québec, QC) was stopped in quarter finals for the 10th place.

Finally, in the women’s 1500m race, Marie-Ève Drolet (Saguenay, QC), skating in her second World Cup since coming back to the sport after a six years break, made her way to the final, showing the world she is still very strong despite her break and can be a serious medal threat. Drolet crossed the finish line 3rd, but she was disqualified for impeding after a slight touch with an American skater, so she gets 7th place, her best result so far this season in a World Cup.

“At the beginning of the race, I was behind a Korean at the back, I wanted to be relaxed in order to be strong for the end of the race”, said Drolet when asked to describe her race. “When the Korean passed I followed her and ended up 4th with 3-4 laps to go. I felt strong, the other girls were far behind. I tried to pass the American skater who was 3rd, I didn’t want to settle for 4th. There was a very slight touch and they disqualified me. I’m still happy because I felt strong and I raced really well, I don’t see what I could have changed, and it’s good to see that I can be up there against the best skaters in the world already.”

Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau (Montréal, QC) was the only other Canadian racing the 1500m and she took 20th place. Laurie Marceau (Dolbeau, QC) was disqualified yesterday.

The women’s relay team (Hewitt, Maltais, Marceau and Mendes-Campeau) was disqualified of their semi-final race once again because of a slight touch with another team. Four women’s teams were disqualified in today’s relay, and there will be no B final tomorrow.

The men’s team, however, took second place of their heat, just behind Korea. Skating for Canada in today’s relay were Bastille, Beaulieu, Boisvert-Lacroix and Gilday.

Competition ends tomorrow in Dresden, with finals in the 500m and 1000m, as well as the relay.