Kim Boutin earned a pair of silver medals on the opening day of the ISU World Short Track Championships in Montreal, while hometown skater Pascal Dion brought home one of his own in front a of sold out crowd at the Maurice Richard Arena.
After a perfect day of qualifying on Friday, which saw all six Canadian skaters advance in each of their three individual distances, the Canadian team reached five A Finals and captured three medals to kick off the final event of the season on Saturday.
Boutin captured Canada’s first medal of the day, winning silver in the women’s 1500m. It was the Sherbooke native’s third career World Championship medal in the distance, having also won silver in 2018 and 2019.
Boutin, who finished 10th in the 1500m at the recent Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, held the lead for much of the final race, before getting passed by Korea’s Choi Minjeong with three laps remaining. Choi, the reigning 1500m Olympic champion, crossed the finish line in first-place (2:23.594), with Boutin (2:24.201) and fellow Korean skater Seo Whimin (2:24.455) joining her on the podium.
Teammate Courtney Sarault finished just off the podium in fourth-place (2:24.537), while Alyson Charles didn’t advance passed the semifinals and finished 17th.
Boutin then captured silver in the 500m (42.570), with Dutch skaters Xandra Velzeboer (42.476) winning gold and teammate Yara van Kerfhof (42.642) bronze. It marked the first career World Championship medal in the distance for Boutin, who happens to be the reigning world record holder.
On the men’s side, Montreal native Pascal Dion reached the World Championship podium for the first time in his career, bringing home silver in the men’s 1500m in a time of 2:15.644. Liu Shaoang of Hungary (2:15.096) captured gold, while Stijn Desmet of Belgium (2:15.716) brought home bronze.
Jordan Pierre-Gilles earned a fouth-place finish the in B-Final of the 1500m, ranking him 11th overall in the distance, while Steven Dubois crashed in the semifinals, relegating him to 19th place in the standings.
Dion also earned Canada’s top result in the men’s 500m, winning the B-Final to finish fifth overall (40.829). Dubois finished third (41.046) in that same race, putting him eighth in the standings.
Canada’s relay teams ended the day by qualifying for their respective finals. The men’s team finished behind the Dutch in their semi-final, while the women were second to the Koreans.
After the first two distances, Kim Boutin has a narrow lead atop the overall women’s standings with 42 points, with Choi (39) and Velzeboer (37) at her heels. Meanwhile, Hungary’s Liu (68) has a commanding lead on the men’s side, with Dion and Desmet tied for second with 26 points.
The World Championships in Montreal conclude tomorrow, where medals will be awarded in the men’s and women’s 1000m and relays. Sunday’s 5000m men’s relay final will be the last ever race for the legendary Charles Hamelin, who is set to retire after an incredibly successful 20 year international career.