As PyeongChang 2018 gets closer, Team Canada is out on the podium in full force.
Despite the poor weather conditions, Team Canada had a double podium in four-man and a women’s silver day one at IBSF World Cup in Park City, Utah.
Ranked 10th after the first run Justin Kripps, Lascelles Brown, Ben Coakwell and Neville Wright shocked the field with an epic comeback that won them silver. Despite a big corner skid, Kripps was able to steer his sled to the fastest time of the competition (48.29s). That dominating run gave the Canadians a combined time of 1:36.83s, which was only bested by Germany’s top sled of Nico Walther, Kevin Kuske, Christian Poser and Eric Franke (1:36.80s).
Canada’s team of Chris Spring, Jesse Lumsden, Alexander Kopacz and Oluseyi Smith opened with a bang, logging the fastest start time of 4.74 seconds, only 0.02s away from the track record. Spring’s team was able to repeat their own strong opening run, for a combined time of 1:36.86s, giving Canada two spots on the four-man podium.
Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz were Canada’s top sled down the track in heat one, registering 50.42 seconds. At the end of opening runs only Americans Jamie Greubel Poser and Lauren Gibbs were able to surpass the Canadians, thanks to quick start on their home track. With 0.10s between the two teams Humphries and Lotholz had some ground to make up on their final run.
Team Canada set the tone for the FIL World Cup season, sliding to a team relay silver in Innsbruck, Austria. Alex Gough, Mitchel Malyk, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith gave Canadian luge fans an exciting start to the Olympic qualification season.
The relay team raced clocked two minutes 11.025s to secure silver at the first World Cup event on Sunday. The Canadians finished +0.358s behind Germany’s winning team of Natalie Geisenberger, Felix Loch, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken.
Long Track Speed Skating
Marsha Hudey got the second World Cup of the long track speed skating season off to a sterling start for Team Canada, winning 500m silver in Stavanger, Norway. No one came close to catching her until the final pairing featured Japan’s Nao Kodaira. This is the first career individual World Cup podium for Hudey.
Ivanie Blondin and Ted-Jan Bloemen both won silver in the only pre-Olympic World Cup races for speed skating’s longest timed distances on Sunday in Stavanger, Norway.
Skating in the fifth of sixth pairings in the women’s 5000m, Blondin’s time of 6:57.34 slotted her behind 45-year-old German Claudia Pechstein (6:56.60), a three-time Olympic champion of the 5000m, but ahead of Czech Martina Sablikova (6:59.95), the two-time defending Olympic champion in the distance. Isabelle Weidemann finished just 0.87 of a second behind Sablikova in fourth place.
Bloemen finished second to Dutch superstar Sven Kramer in the men’s 10,000m. Skating head-to-head in the final pairing, Bloemen took the pace out early and held the lead through the first 8000m. But Kramer’s lap times had started dropping in the last quarter of the race and he completed his last lap in 29.5 seconds to finish in 12:50.97. Bloemen was 1.67 seconds behind in 12:52.64. Another Dutchman, Erik-Jan Kooiman took the bronze in 12:57.13.
Short Track Speed Skating
It was a busy weekend on the podium for Canadian short track speed skaters! On the first day of finals, Charles Hamelin claimed gold in the men’s 1500m. It is just his second individual medal in the four World Cup stops this fall.
In the women’s 1500m, Kim Boutin led for most of the final but eventually finished behind Koreans Choi Min Jeong and Shim Suk Hee. Choi won three of the four 1500m races this season. Boutin had previously won silver in the distance at the first stop in Budapest.
On Sunday, Boutin clinched her spot as an overall World Cup champion in a distance with her silver medal win. Boutin crossed the line behind Korean, Choi Min Jeong, while Yara van Kerkhof of the Netherlands took the bronze.
Also on Sunday, Samuel Girard won bronze in the men’s 1000m behind Hungary’s Liu Shaolin Sandor and Korea’s Hwang Dae Heon.
Kaetlyn Osmond claimed her second Grand Prix medal of the season, this one a bronze at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble.
Osmond had been the short program leader, but dropped to third place after a couple of jump errors in her free skate. That included a hard fall on a triple loop and the singling of a planned double axel. She scored 137.72 in the free skate for an overall total of 206.77.
Stéfanie Tremblay saw a victory against Dutchman Iris Iwema earning her the bronze in the under 63kg category at the Dutch Grand Prix in The Hague. Tremblay lost in the preliminary round against Dutch Juul Franssen, who won gold.