The Canadian men were golden at the 2019 ISU World Cup Short Track in Germany on Sunday, taking first place in the 5000m relay at Dresden’s EnergieVerbund Arena.
Charle Cournoyer, Pascal Dion, Samuel Girard and Charles Hamelin completed the 45 laps in 6:44.646, ahead of Japan and Hungary. They were joined on the podium by Steven Dubois, who participated in the relay quarter-finals. While it was a close finish between Girard and the Chinese skater at the line, the team from China was penalized for impeding earlier in the race, securing Canada’s victory.
“This was a great return to the top of the podium for the Canadian men’s relay team,” said a pleased Girard. “It’s our first gold medal with Éric [Bédard] coaching the team, so we’ve achieved one of our top objectives.”
Girard rebounded after disappointing results earlier in the weekend: “My individual distances didn’t go according to plan. But we are used to coming back and refocusing after those types of performances, so I was able to transition well into the relays.”
In the ladies relay final, the Canadians crossed the line in third place but were penalized for an arm push, ending their hopes at the podium. The mixed relay team, skating in the B final after an untimely fall during the last laps of Saturday’s semi-final race, finished seventh overall.
In an impressive race against some of the world’s top ranked skaters, Cédrik Blais of Châteauguay, Que. also captured his first individual World Cup medal on Sunday, earning bronze in the men’s 500m. Blais was able to keep pace with Korean gold and silver medalists Lim Hyo Jun and Hwang Dae Heon, stopping the clock in 40.344 to find his way onto the podium.
“At each competition, it’s always our objective to bring home a medal,” affirmed Blais after his race. “So I’m very happy to not only have skated my way into my first final in the 500m, but to have also won the bronze medal at the same time.”
The lone other Canadians in individual medal contention Sunday, Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, Que. and Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., finished off the podium. Boutin was advanced through to the final of the ladies 500m but crossed the line in fourth position, while Hamelin fell after losing his footing in the men’s 1000m (2) final and placed fifth.
Skating in the B finals, Dion of Montreal, Que. earned an eighth-place finish in the men’s 1000m (2). In the 500m, his teammates Kasandra Bradette (St. Félicien, Que.) and Dubois (Lachenaie, Que.) finished seventh and eighth overall in the ladies and men’s races.
Other Canadian skaters in action on Sunday:
- Alyson Charles (Montreal, Que.) – Fifth in the ladies 500m semifinal
- Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que.) – Fourth in the men’s 500m quarter-finals
- Courtney Sarault (Moncton, NB) and Claudia Gagnon (Saguenay, Que.) – Fourth and fifth respectively in the ladies 1000m (2) quarter-finals
- Cournoyer (Boucherville, Que.) – Fourth in the men’s 1000m (2) quarter-finals
The Canadian team will aim to add to their medal haul – which currently stands at 17 for the season – at the final World Cup competition in Torino, Italy on February 8-10.