Kim Boutin Breaks 500m World Record En Route to Gold Medal in Salt Lake City

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Kim Boutin is presented with a plaque commemorating her 500m world record at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City. Credit: Brennan Smith, Utah Olympic Oval

Kim Boutin established a new world record in the women’s 500m on Sunday at the World Cup in Salt Lake City, en route to her second gold medal of the weekend.

Boutin set the new mark of 41.936 in her quarter-final race, surpassing the previous record of 42.335 held by Elise Christie of Great Britain since 2016. In doing so, the Sherbrooke native became the first ever women to skate the 500m distance in under 42-seconds.

The 24 year old led from start to finish in the 500m final, posting a time of 42.336 to finish ahead of Qu Chunyu of China (42.452) and Lara van Ruijven of the Netherlands (42.858).

Boutin then anchored the Canadian women’s relay squad to a bronze medal, alongside Alyson Charles (Montreal, Que.), Claudia Gagnon (Saguenay, Que.) and Danaé Blais (Châteauguay, Que.). The team was in fourth position until the very last exchange, when Boutin was propelled into bronze medal position, behind Korea and China.

The men’s relay team of Charles Hamelin (Saint-Julie, Que.), Steven Dubois and Montrealers Pascal Dion and Maxime Laoun also earned a bronze medal, finishing behind Korea and Russia. It was the first World Cup medal of Laoun’s career, while Cédrik Blais (Châteauguay, Que.) will also bring one home after skating with the team in the quarter-finals.

“For my first World Cup, it was pretty incredible. Honestly, it lived up to the expectations I had in terms of the excitement of the crowd – it was intense. I’m returning to Montreal with a lot of things to work on. I had some pretty high expectations, in fact I wanted to reach the podium. I got there in my first relay and I’m excited about that. I think it’ll lead us to work even harder as a team so we can eventually win gold.”

– Maxime Laoun

The ISU World Cup Short Track season continues next weekend at the Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal, where Canada’s top skaters will try to utilize home ice advantage against the best in the world.

“I’m the first women to skate the 500m in under 42 seconds and that makes me incredibly happy. My plan was to skate relaxed, just as I have been doing since the start of the season. After my start, I told myself things were going well, and then I heard the crowd cheering after the first lap and I said ‘this is happening, let’s go.’ I’m very happy to have achieved a time of 41.9.” 

– Kim Boutin