Canada’s short track team earned a pair of bronze medals at the ISU World Cup Short Track in Dresden on Saturday, as Felix Roussel won bronze in the men’s 1000m, and Courtney Sarault captured bronze in the women’s 1500m.
Roussel (Sherbrooke, Que.) was nestled at the back of the five-skater field in the 1000m final but took advantage of a collision that saw Korea’s Tae Sung Kim and Japan’s Shogo Miyata eliminated from contention with two laps remaining. The 21-year-old Quebecker moved into third place as a result and crossed the finish line with a time of 1:25.016 to secure his spot on the podium, behind Latvia’s Roberts Kruzbergs (1:23.330) and Korea’s Ji Won Park (1:23.231).
The bronze medal was the first of Roussel’s international career in an individual distance, which he earned in just his fifth competition, having only joined the World Cup circuit this fall. The result eclipses his previous career-high finish, a seventh place in the 1500m at the World Cup in Almaty this past December.
Meanwhile, a trio of Canadians – Courtney Sarault, Kim Boutin and Claudia Gagnon – were in medal contention in the women’s 1500m, but only the New Brunswick native managed to bring home a medal.
Sarault (2:26.591) jostled for position throughout much of the race, eventually holding off her teammate Boutin around the final straight and corner to claim bronze behind Kristen Santos-Griswold (2:26.570) and Choi Minjeong (2:26.536). It was Sarault’s third medal in the distance this season, having previously won silver and gold during the two World Cup stops in Kazakhstan.
Boutin (2:26.802) finished just off the podium in fourth place, while teammate Claudia Gagnon (2:27.762) was sixth, tying the best result of her career in the 1500m.
Canada’s mixed relay squad of Sarault, Rikki Doak, Pascal Dion and Maxime Laoun came up just short of the podium, settling for a fourth-place finish behind Italy, Korea and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, both the men’s and women’s relay teams won their respective semifinals and qualified for tomorrow’s A Final.
The ISU World Cup Short Track in Dresden continues Sunday, where medals will be awarded in the men’s and women’s 1500(2) and 500m, as well as the women’s 3000m and men’s 5000m relays.
“My race was not perfect, not exactly how I wanted it to be. I think I mismanaged the start of the race a bit. What I do remember the most today are the quarter-finals and the semi-finals where I raced really well. I’m still really proud to have won a medal. I didn’t exactly win the way I wanted to win, but I think it was a reward for the rounds before the final. I was really happy – maybe not right after crossing the line, but a few minutes afterwards. I was proud because it was not something I expected.”
“I didn’t think I would have this level of success internationally so quickly. When I think back to my first two World Cups, it was really more about gaining experience for me. My objectives evolved more and more when I managed to make top-10s and A Finals. This whole year has been surprise after surprise. I feel like I am impressing myself at each competition.”
“It feels really good [to medal today]. I didn’t race my best race, but I’m happy with how I managed it! Definitely feel ready to challenge again in the Netherlands. It was very great having us all in the A final but of course it makes the race hard as well because we are all strong and we know how each other skate. But I think it’s really great we all reached the A – it’s always super nice for Canada when that happens.”