It was a Saturday to remember for Canada’s Florence Brunelle, who won silver medals in both the 500m and 1500m at the 2020 ISU World Junior Short Track Championships in Bormio, Italy.
The 16-year-old becomes only the second Canadian women in the past decade to win multiple medals at a World Junior Short Track Championship, joining current national team skater Courtney Sarault, who won a pair of medals in 2018. Marie-Eve Drolet (2001, 2000) and Catherine Dussault (1995) also accomplished the rare feat many years ago, at a time when the event format was quite different.
Brunelle, a native of Trois-Rivières, Que., continues to excel against the world’s best junior aged skaters, something she first demonstrated earlier this month at Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne where she made history by winning Canada’s first-ever medals in short track speed skating with bronze in the 500m and 1000m.
“I’m super excited and proud of myself. It’s nice to see that I was once again rewarded for my efforts. I think the Youth Olympic Games really helped prepare me for the World Junior Championships. It was my first international competition and helped me learn a lot about some of my fellow competitors.”
At the Ghiaccio Ice Stadium in Bormio, her time of 2:38.507 was good enough for second in the 1500m, a race she was in charge of for the first eight laps. Geonhee Kim of Korea (2:38.292) finished in gold medal position, while Xuan Li of China (2:38.616) claimed bronze. She then worked her way through three rounds of 500m races to reach the finals, where she posted a time of 44.383 to win her second silver medal of the day. Joining her on the podium were gold medalist Xandra Velzeboer of the Netherlands (43.924) and bronze medalist Corinne Stoddard of the United States (44.760).
The women’s relay team will race in tomorrow’s B-Final after a falling during the 10th lap of their semifinals. Meanwhile, the men’s relay squad was forced to withdraw from racing altogether due to an injury to Matej Pederson (Calgary, Atla.), who crashed into a track steward during Friday’s relay qualifications. Pederson will also miss out on his individual distances because of the injury.
The ISU World Junior Short Track Championships concludes Sunday, where medals will be handed out in the 1000m along with the men’s and women’s relays. The races will be live streamed on the ISU YouTube channel beginning at 7:15AM ET.