In their first competition on what will be Olympic ice, Canada’s short track speed skaters started the World Cup at the newly constructed Gangneung Ice Arena by winning five medals.
“I got into it pretty quickly, in the sense that we wanted to win together, do things and succeed together,” St-Gelais said in a Speed Skating Canada release about her sixth podium finish in seven World Cup events this season. “It had been a while since I had raced (in a final) with a teammate!”
“I was proud of what Kim was doing during the race. At the end I didn’t want to risk anything and, at the same time, I wanted to help the situation. I overtook wide on her. I knew I wouldn’t do anything that would harm her. I thought we would be able to get to the South Korean (gold medallist Suk Hee Shim) at the finish line, but we didn’t. Still we finished second and third. It’s a great podium result and I’m quite proud of what we’ve accomplished – especially considering this is the test event (for PyeongChang 2018). We can have high hopes for the future.”
For Boutin, it was her first individual World Cup medal since the first stop of last season. It was also a welcome birthday present, having turned 22 on Friday.
“The race gave me a good boost of confidence, because it’s my first medal since I stopped for a little while season,” Boutin noted, referring to her decision to not compete in the second half of the 2015-16 season due to fatigue. “To be on the podium with Marianne, it brought back some good memories. We raced well and I’m happy about that.”
The second shared podium of the day for Canada represented a couple of career breakthroughs. For Dion, it was his first ever individual medal in his sixth career World Cup stop. For Duffy, it was his first individual World Cup medal since February 2015. Kazakhstan’s Nurbergen Zhumagaziyev claimed the 1000m gold after taking the lead from Dion with three laps to go.
“Friday was really an exceptional day for me because I was at my best in all my races,” Dion said of the preliminary rounds. “And in today’s final, I had nothing but fun racing and everything fell into place. I was able to position myself well and I raced well. I think that was one of my best races ever. It was also great fun to share the podium with another Canadian!”
“The best way I can describe this medal is that it’s the bee’s knees,” said Duffy. “It feels pretty great. It was quite shocking to finish third, to be honest. I couldn’t ask for a better finish, having Pascal on the podium with me. I had to fend off three South Koreans over the last two laps, which was quite tough to do. I thought I was going to be consumed by the Korean train, but it ended up for the better. I was sharp all day in finding the right tracks and defending against other skaters.”
Drolet’s bronze is her second individual medal of this World Cup season, which is her return to international competition after taking a two-year break to have a baby. She finished behind Great Britain’s Elise Christie and South Korea’s Min Jeong Choi.
“This is the first 1000m I raced this World Cup season, so it certainly gives me confidence,” said Drolet. “My goal in this distance was a top-8 result, so I can say that’s been fully accomplished! I’m quite satisfied and I can’t wait for my next race on Sunday.”
That’s when the World Cup and Olympic test event concludes with a second 1000m and the 500m. Both of Canada’s men’s and women’s relay teams will compete in the A finals.