St. Gelais, women’s relay team win silver at World Cup

Marianne St. Gelais and women’s relay team win silver at World Cup in Germany
Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club to receive $1,000 from World Cup Podium Tracker program

DRESDEN, Germany
- After breaking her own Canadian 500-metre record in the semifinals, Marianne St. Gelais faced three skaters from China in the four-women final and won the silver medal at the Samsung ISU World Cup #6 in Dresden, Germany. The Canadian women also captured the silver medal in the relay.

Today’s races, at Energie Verbund Arena, featured the 500-metre and second 1,500-metre races, as well as the relay finals.

In the women’s 500-metre, St. Gelais, of St. Félicien, Que., was in fight against three Chinese skaters. Meng Wang led from start to finish to take the gold medal in 42.913 seconds, and St. Gelais secured second place and the silver medal in 42.983 seconds. Qiuhong Liu was the bronze medallist with a time of 43.161 seconds.

In the women’s B final, Gabrielle Waddell, of Red Deer, Alta., was second for an overall ranking of sixth and Caroline Truchon, of Chicoutimi, Que., was fourth to take eighth overall.

Earlier in the women’s semifinal, St. Gelais, Truchon and Waddell battled against Wang for only two spots. Wang broke her own world record finishing in 42.597 seconds, while St. Gelais set a new Canadian record of 42.664 seconds. Waddell and Truchon were finished third and fourth, respectively, in the semifinal. St. Gelais had set the previous record, 43.241 seconds, during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

In the six-women 1,500-metre final, Korean skaters took the top two spots, while Marie-Eve Drolet, of Laterrière, Que., and Valérie Maltais, of La Baie, Que., finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Suk Hee Shim won gold and her teammate Min-Jung Kim had the silver medal. Jianrou Li of China was awarded the bronze medal, after Jihyun Choi of Korea was penalized. Both Drolet and Maltais won their semifinal heats to reach the final. Jessica Hewitt, of Kamloops, B.C., won the B final to take seventh place overall.

Canada’s women’s relay team skated to a silver medal after an eventful final two laps. The Netherlands, who trailed the three other countries for 25 of the 27 laps, claimed the gold medal and China took bronze. The Korean team finished first, but was penalized for interference. Drolet, Hewitt, Maltais and St. Gelais were positioned in second place for most of the 3,000-metre race, but with three laps to go they fell to third place behind Korea and China. With only two laps to the finish line, the Korean squad was penalized for causing the Chinese and Canadian skaters to fall.

In the men’s 500-metre final, Olivier Jean, of Lachenaie, Que., received a yellow card after attempting a pass in the first lap. Jean had won each of his previous three races to reach the A final. After qualifying through the morning repechage rounds, Guillaume Bastille, of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., won the 500-metre B final and placed fifth overall. Charle Cournoyer, of Boucherville, Que., who also had to skate through the repechage, was 10th overall after placing third in the quarterfinals.

Michael Gilday, of Yellowknife, won each of his three races to reach the 1,500-metre A final. He positioned himself in third place for the second half of the final, but lost an edge in the last turn and dropped to fourth place by only six one thousandths of a second. Gilday had a time of 2:18.549. Russia’s Victor An slipped his skate just ahead of Gilday at the finish line for a time of 2:18.543 and the bronze medal. Korean skaters Jinkyu Noh and Yun-Jae Kim earned gold (2:18.203) and silver (2:18.488), respectively.

François Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Que., took 10th place overall in today’s 1,500 metres. He had three races today before finishing third in the B final. He won both his repechage races and then placed third in his semifinal heat. Vincent Cournoyer, of Boucherville, Que., finished sixth in the semifinals to take 17th spot overall.

The World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance stands at $39,000 (10 gold, 17 silver; 12 bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win. The Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club will receive $1,000 from the program for St. Gelais’ silver medal.