Canada’s short track speed skating team got off to an impressive start at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, qualifying for the next stage in 14 of 15 individual distances.
It is an impressive feat for a number of reasons: it is the team’s first international competition in over a year and they are up against European skaters who have had the opportunity to train and compete on a consistent basis this season, including at last month’s European Short Track Championships.
All three members of the men’s team –Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Que.), Steven Dubois (Lachenaie, Que.) and Maxime Laoun (Montréal, Que.) – were successful in their three qualifying races on Friday, moving forward in the 500m, 1000m and 15000m.
On the women’s side, Courtney Sarault (Moncton, N.B.) is still in medal contention in all three distances, while rookie Florence Brunelle (Trois-Rivières, Que.), who was dominant at the junior level last season, will move on in all but the 1000m.
Medals will be up for grabs in the 500m and 1500m on Saturday, while those for the 1000m, along with the overall title of world champion, will be handed out on Sunday. Canada’s men’s and women’s relay teams will also hit the ice this weekend, competing in the semifinals tomorrow.
CBC Sports will have live streaming coverage of this weekend’s races, starting at 4:35am ET on Saturday and 5:10am ET on Sunday. They will also have televised coverage as part of their ‘Road to the Olympic Games’ program, which airs Saturday at 4:00pm ET and Sunday at 1:00pm ET. Visit the schedule to confirm broadcast and streaming times in your area.
“There was for sure a little excitement today; everyone was a little nervous. I was excited to race against other countries and show how hard we have worked this year despite the covid situation.” – Charles Hamelin
“I would say that my first day [of senior international competition] was okay, but that I’m excited to experience even more. I am learning and trying to profit from the moment to take in as much as I can from what is going on around me.” – Florence Brunelle
“I felt super good today. My first race was a little more challenging because I had trouble managing my stress, but it was good stress. I usually don’t get nervous in the morning [before my races], but today I felt my whole body shaking. My objective today was to move on in all of my races and I made that happen. The hard work is done and now all that’s left are the fun races for medals.” – Maxime Laoun
“It was definitely stressful this morning; I was a little bit nervous. Going into the first race I was confident and thought I would do well, but all of a sudden, during the last lap, I almost forgot that people could pass me. I think I was just getting all the rust out and I’m glad that that happened during that race rather than happen tomorrow. It was just the wakeup call that I needed to take all the nerves away.” – Courtney Sarault