Weekend Roundup: Team Canada strikes multiple silver and bronze medals on ice around the world
Team Canada dominated the ice this weekend, reaching many podiums on the global stage. Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen danced to silver at the Grand Prix Espoo, Canadian speed skaters raced to four World Cup medals on the big oval in Beijing, while Mirela Rahneva slid to a podium finish at the skeleton World Cup season opener.
Here’s a roundup of the action you may have missed:
Figure Skating: Second Grand Prix silver for Fournier Beaudry & Soerensen
Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen took silver in the ice dance event at the Grand Prix Espoo in Finland on Saturday. It came two weeks after they won silver at the Grand Prix de France and secured their spot in December’s ISU Grand Prix Final where only the top six in each discipline will compete.
There is one more Grand Prix event next weekend, NHK Trophy, but it is likely that three of the ice dance duos at the Final will be Canadian, with Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier already qualified and Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha anticipated to qualify.
Fournier Beaudry and Soerensen earned a season best total score of 206.32 as they finished second to the reigning world champions, Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States, who totalled 209.46 for their two programs. The free dance was especially tight, with the Americans only defeating the Canadians in that portion of the competition by 0.15.
Also in Espoo, world junior bronze medallists Nadiia Bashynska and Peter Beaumont made their senior Grand Prix debut and finished eighth in the ice dance while Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar finished seventh in pairs.
Long Track Speed Skating: Canadians race to four medals in Beijing
Team Canada continued to shine at the second stop of the ISU Speed Skating World Cup series. Over the weekend in Beijing, Canadian long track speed skaters collected a total of four medals.
Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais secured a double podium in the women’s mass start. Reaching the podium together for just the second time ever in this event at a World Cup, the Canadians finished second and third behind a breakaway victory by Marijke Groenewoud of the Netherlands.
Laurent Dubreuil earned his first World Cup medal of the season, taking silver in the second 500m of the weekend on Saturday. He had finished sixth in the first 500m on Friday but after dealing with some injuries is showing signs of the skater that won the overall World Cup title in the distance last season.
The final medal of the weekend came from Brooklyn McDougall, Blondin and Maddison Pearman in the women’s team sprint, which is not an Olympic event. In their first race together this season, the trio overcame a slow start to secure the silver medal.
Some other notable results include another near-podium finish for Ted-Jan Bloemen, who was fourth in the men’s 5000m for the second straight week. This time, he was just 1.47 seconds out of the bronze medal position. Maltais and Isabelle Weidemann finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the women’s 3000m.
There is now a weeklong break in the schedule for the long trackers before the next World Cup stop in Stavanger, Norway takes place December 1-3.
Skeleton: Rahneva slides to bronze at season opener
Mirela Rahneva started off the 2023-24 IBSF World Cup season by sliding her way onto the podium. She won the bronze medal in women’s skeleton at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre, the venue at which she placed fifth during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Rahneva completed her two runs in 2:03.99, which left her 0.18 of a second back of the winner, last season’s overall World Cup champion, Tina Hermann of Germany. The 35-year-old Canadian now has 14 career World Cup medals. The next IBSF World Cup won’t start until December 8 in La Plagne, France.
Beach Volleyball: Bronze for Pavan & McBain at Beach Pro Tour Challenge
Sarah Pavan and Molly McBain won the bronze medal at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is the first international medal for the duo who only began playing together in June. Their previous best result had been a quarterfinal appearance at the Challenge event in Haikou, China at the start of the month.
“This weekend held a lot of firsts for our team, but winning our first medal together definitely tops the list,” said two-time Olympian Pavan. “It is so exciting to see the improvement our team has made in such a short time, and I am really proud of Molly for her performance.”
Pavan and McBain defeated China’s Jie Dong and Fan Wang 2-1 (15-21, 21-16, 15-9) in the bronze medal match.