The Canadian men’s relay team ended the World Cup season on a high thanks to a gold medal performance at the ISU World Cup Short Track in Dordrecht, Netherlands, on Sunday.
Steven Dubois (Lachenaie, Que.), Charles Hamelin (Saint-Julie, Que.), Pascal Dion (Montreal, Que.) and Jordan Pierre-Gilles (Sherbrooke, Que.) guided Canada to it’s first medal in the men’s relay since they claimed bronze at the opening World Cup of the season in Salt Lake City. They completed the 5000m race in 6:54.542, just a hair faster than the Netherlands (6:54.573) and China (6:54.839).
The Canadians took the lead after a Korean skater fell with 16 laps to go and jockeyed for position until the very end. Pierre-Gilles, who was making his relay finals debut, skated one quick lap during his last turn before exchanging with Hamelin, a half lap before the other teams, a strategy that helped them overtake the Dutch team for first place. Dubois then fended off the home team for the final two laps of the race, outstretching his opponent at the line to win gold in a photo finish.
Not to be outdone, the women’s relay team – who were without Kim Boutin (Sherbrooke, Que.) after she withdrew from the competition earlier in the week – raced to a silver medal (4:10.740), their fifth medal of the season. Courtney Sarault (Moncton, N.B.), Alyson Charles (Montreal, Que.), Danaé Blais (Châteauguay, Que.) and Claudia Gagnon (La Baie, Que.), the same four skaters that earned silver at last month’s Four Continents Championships in Montreal, were defeated by the Netherlands (4:10.255), who won gold in front of their fans, while Korea (4:10.772) took home the bronze.
The lone Canadian to qualify for an A-Final on Sunday was Dubois, who made the opportunity count by winning bronze in the 1000m, his fourth individual medal of the season. He made an outside pass coming out of the final turn to edge out Chinese skater An Kai. He was joined on the podium by Korean’s Park Ji Won (1:29.402) and Kim Dong Wook (1:29.528).
Other Results to Note
- Jordan Pierre-Gilles (Sherbrooke, Que.) won his 500m B-Final to finish fifth overall. It was the 21-year old skater’s fifth top-10 result in the first four World Cups of his career.
- Charles Hamelin (Saint-Julie, Que.) and Courtney Sarault came second in their respective 1000m B-Finals and both finished the distance ranked seventh.
- Alyson Charles (Montreal, Que.) finished third in the 500m B-Final, ranking her eighth overall in the distance.
The Canadian short track team ends the season with 25 World Cup medals, their highest total since the 2016-2017 season. Both Boutin and Dubois finish the campaign ranked in the top-10 in all three individual distances: Boutin is first in the 500m, fifth in the 1500m and ninth in the 1000m, while Dubois is fifth in the 1000m, ninth in the 500m and tenth in the 1500m. Sarault also has a pair of top-10 rankings, sixth in the 1500m and seventh in the 1000m.
The Canadian short track team is back in action from March 13-15 in Seoul, South Korea for the ISU World Short Track Championships. The action will be live streamed by CBC Sports.ca and will also be available on television, Saturday from 14:00 to 15:00 EST and Sunday from 14:00 to 15:00 ET, as part of the networks ‘Road to the Olympic Games’ program.
“In the 1000m, I got to the finals and didn’t really have any objectives. I thought the Koreans might try to take the lead, so I wanted to be in a good position and maybe try to catch up to them eventually. That’s not what happened at all. We waited until the very end, where I managed to win bronze with an outside pass. For the relay, we came into the competition with our backs against the wall. We had to finish ranked eighth to secure our spot at the World Championships, and we currently in seventh, pretty close to being on the outside looking in. The guys worked very well together in the finals. They were the ones making the passes to try and put me in a good position. They managed to put me in first at the end and all I had to do was maintain my position and hold onto my speed. We’re definitely happy to finish the last World Cup with a gold medal!”
“Even without Kim, we were still united and wanted to fight it out for first place. The four of us have been together for a long time, so our chemistry was evident both on and off the ice. We won the World Junior Championships a few years ago, so to relive a relay with the same four girls and win a silver medal was a lot of fun. In our heads, I know for a fact we were all thinking of Kim. We did it for her and I know she’s super proud of us.”
– Claudia Gagnon