St. Jean win bronze in 500 metres at the World Junior Short Track Championship

St. Jean win bronze in 500 metres at the World Junior Short Track Championship in Australia

Canadian women in relay final

MELBOURNE, Australia – Quebec City’s Alexandre St. Jean won the bronze medal today in the 500 metres at the 2012 World Junior Short Track Championship (event website) at the Medibank Icehouse in Melbourne, Australia. The Canadian junior men and women competed today in the 500 metres and the women’s relay semifinals.

St. Jean, who had Canada’s best results in the 1,500 metres yesterday, was third in the final in a time of 42.461 seconds behind gold medalist Hyo Been Lee of South Korea (42.108) and Tianyu Han of China (42.308). St. Jean reached the final by winning his first three rounds and then coming in second in an odd semifinal race.

“In the semifinal it went well until the last 10 metres,” said St. Jean. “I was leading the race and looking to move to the final, and then I fell. Actually, three of us fell, but nobody passed me. So I got up as quickly as I could and fell again just as I crossed the finish line in second place behind the South Korean skater.

“I had the fourth (of five) starting spot (in the final) and I had a good start,” added St. Jean, who earned his first international medal. “I was able to move up to the third position and then one of the two Koreans and Chinese skaters fell, so we (top three) kept our positions until the end.”

MP3 audioSt. Jean (from Friday, French), St. Jean (today, French), Bélanger (French) and Phaneuf (French)

Yoan Gauthier of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., finished 10th in the 500 metres and teammate David Goulet of Montreal was 14th. Gauthier won his preliminary race and was second in his next race to reach the quarter-finals, where he was third behind the eventual silver and gold medalists, Han and Lee. Goulet also reached the quarter-finals, but was fourth in his heat.

Léa Thibault from Laval, Que., was the only Canadian to qualify for the women’s 500-metre quarter-finals and ranked 11th overall. She was in second place in her first race and then qualified for the quarter-finals as one of the fastest third place skaters. Thibault was third in her quarter-final race behind bronze medalist Xue Wang of China and finalist Se Jung Ahn of South Korea.

Courtney Shmyr from Langley, B.C., and Audrey Phaneuf from Boucherville, Que., placed third in the preliminary 500-metre heats and did not advance. Shmyr ranked 25th overall and Phaneuf was 26th.

In the women’s relay semifinal, Montreal’s Genève Bélanger, Phaneuf, Shmyr and Thibault teamed up for second place behind China. They will meet China, Russia and South Korea in the Sunday’s final.

“At the beginning I was really stressed because I didn’t know what to expect,” said Bélanger, skating for the first time during the championship in the women’s relay. “When I stepped on the ice, I relaxed and it went well. I kept my energy for the end and I didn’t quit.”

“It was a great idea to have Genève finish (the relay),” Phaneuf added. “She’s strong, quick and in great shape.”

The world junior championship ends tomorrow with the 1,000 metres, the Super 1,500 metres for the top skaters, and relay finals. For the Super 1,500 metres, the skaters are ranked in heats from total points from the first three races.