Lintao Zhang - International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images - Mateusz Kielpinski (FIS)
Lintao Zhang - International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images - Mateusz Kielpinski (FIS)

Weekend Roundup: Massive medal rush weekend for Team Canada

It was another massive weekend of impressive Team Canada results, headlined by podium performances in figure skating, short track and long track speed skating, freestyle skiing, ski cross, fencing, and weightlifting.

Here are the highlights you don’t want to miss:

Figure Skating: Two Canadian duos reach podium at Grand Prix Final

Reigning Canadian pairs champions Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps took home bronze at the ISU Grand Prix Final in Beijing on Friday, while Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier added a bronze in ice dance on Saturday.

READ: Two bronze medals for Stellato-Dudek & Deschamps, Gilles and Poirier at Grand Prix Final

In a very tight competition in pairs, Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps finished just 2.13 points back of the gold medallists, finishing in third. Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud also qualified for the pairs final and placed sixth.

Meanwhile, Gilles and Poirier earned their second straight medal at the Grand Prix Final with their third place finish in ice dance. They ended up 1.93 points back of the silver medallists.

Also competing in ice dance were Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen, as well as Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, who finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

With the ISU Grand Prix season now complete, Team Canada skaters will be preparing for Canadian National Skating Championships in mid January where they aim to secure their spots at the ISU World Championships to be held on home ice in Montreal from March 18 to 24.

Short Track: Pierre-Gilles leads Canada to triple gold weekend

Jordan Pierre-Gilles won two solo gold medals and was part of one more at the third stop of the ISU World Cup Short Track, also in Beijing.

READ: Jordan Pierre-Gilles wins gold twice, Canada’s men’s 5000m relay captures top spot

On Saturday, Pierre-Gilles won the first 500m event of the weekend, following up the gold he won in the distance in October in Montreal. In a thrilling final, Chinese teammates Liu Shaoang and Lin Xiaojun collided with each other, which allowed Pierre-Gilles to zip on by and cruise to the victory.

Also on Saturday, William Dandjinou battled to a bronze medal in the 1500m for his third podium of the season.

The Canadian momentum carried over to Sunday, as Pierre-Gilles added a second gold medal and third straight win in the men’s 500m. He finished just ahead of teammate Steven Dubois, who grabbed silver. Moments later, the pair joined the men’s 5000m relay team, which also included Dandjinou and Pascal Dion, and helped them to gold to round out a hefty medal haul from the weekend. It was Dandjinou who made a great inside pass with four laps to go to move the Canadians from third place to first place.

The World Cup circuit heads to Seoul, South Korea next weekend.

Long Track: Dubreuil and Blondin each win two medals in Poland

Laurent Dubreuil had the kind of weekend he’s been waiting for all season. He skated to gold and silver in the two 500m races in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland.

READ: Dubreuil wins 500m gold, Blondin captures mass start silver at World Cup in Poland

On Saturday, his time of 34.77 put him on the second step of the podium, just 0.07 behind China’s Gao Tingyu. Dubreuil was faster on Sunday, stopping the clock in 34.73 to claim his first victory of the season. The two-time reigning overall World Cup champion in the distance now has 30 career World Cup medals.

While Dubreuil led the men’s side, Sunday saw Ivanie Blondin capture a silver medal of her own in the women’s mass start, only trailing Dutch skater Irene Schouten. She’s reached the podium in three of the four mass start races this season.

The day before, Blondin had teamed with Valérie Maltais and Beatrice Lamarche for the silver medal in the women’s team pursuit. This was a new combination for Canada, as Lamarche replaced the usual third member of the trio, Isabelle Weidemann, who chose not to compete at the December World Cups. It proved not to make a difference as Canada claimed a second straight World Cup medal in the event.

Moguls: Kingsbury adds two more gold to GOAT tally

After a slow start (by his standards) with a bronze on the opening weekend of the FIS Freestyle World Cup, Mikaël Kingsbury responded by taking home two gold medals in singles and dual moguls in Idre Fjäll, Sweden.

READ: Kingsbury wins back-to-back golds at FIS Freestyle World Cup in Sweden

Kingsbury finished more than five points ahead of his closest competitor in Friday’s moguls event. He then defeated Swede Rasmus Stegfeldt in the head-to-head final in Saturday’s dual moguls.

Louis-David Chalifoux was the sole Canadian other than Kingsbury to qualify for a men’s final. He finished seventh in the moguls, just missing out on the super final, and was sixth in the dual moguls after being eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Freeski Halfpipe: Fraser kicks off World Cup season with bronze

Amy Fraser captured her first FIS World Cup medal of the season, taking bronze in the halfpipe opener in Secret Garden, China.

Ranked fifth in qualifying, Fraser scored 79.25 points as the best of her three runs in the final. It’s her first World Cup podium in nearly a year, as she last won silver at Copper Mountain in December 2022. Also in the final was Dillan Glennie, who earned her second career top five finish on the World Cup circuit.

Ski Cross: First career win for Schmidt, return to podium for Phelan

Jared Schmidt earned his first career FIS World Cup victory in interesting fashion on Friday in Val Thorens, France. Though he crossed the line in second place, he was bumped up to the top step of the podium after Frenchman Youri Duplessis Kergomad was relegated for contact with another racer in the men’s big final. It is his Schmidt’s third career World Cup podium, but the first in two years.

READ: First career World Cup ski cross win for Jared Schmidt, silver for Brittany Phelan

Brittany Phelan won silver in the women’s big final a day after she had finished fourth in the season opening race on Thursday. It is her 13th career World Cup podium. She had been unsure of how her body would respond after undergoing another knee surgery at the start of the fall. She had missed all but the last stop of last season with an injury.

Fencing: Two Canadians battle to World Cup bronzes

Canadian fencers stood on the podium at FIE World Cup stops in Vancouver and Serbia over the weekend.

Ruien (Angel) Xiao won bronze in women’s individual épée in Vancouver. Still just 16-years-old, Xiao is the top-ranked Canadian in the discipline at number 17 in the world. This is her first career senior World Cup medal and follows the bronze she won at the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games.

Xiao defeated Japan’s Miho Yoshimura in the quarterfinals before falling to Argentina’s Isabel De Tella in the semifinal, eventually sharing bronze with France’s Camille Nebeth. Another French fencer Coraline Vitalis secured gold with a win in the final over De Tella.

Jessica Guo took a bronze medal in the women’s foil event in Novi Sad, Serbia. She defeated American Lauren Scruggs in the quarterfinals before falling to France’s Alice Volpi on her way to sharing a bronze medal finish with Leonie Ebert of Germany. Volpi took gold in the event, while Lee Kiefer of the United States captured silver.

Guo came close to another medal as the Canadian women’s foil team finished fourth. They were defeated 44-31 by Japan in the bronze medal match.

Weightlifting: Big bronze for Charron in Qatar

Maude Charron won a bronze medal at the IWF Grand Prix II in Doha, Qatar, a key event that will count towards the Olympic qualification rankings for Paris 2024.

Charron went six-for-six on her lift attempts, totalling 233kg. She also won bronze medals for her lifts in the snatch and clean and jerk, which were 104kg and 129kg, respectively. This is the most Charron has lifted since dropped down to her new weight class of 59kg. She had lifted 226kg to win silver at the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games.

Over the last few months Charron has been nursing a knee injury, which kept her from competing at the world championships in September. But she says this is the best she has felt in some time and has learned how to better prepare her body for competition at the lower weight.

Snowboard Big Air: Four finalists at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium

In what has become one of the spectacles of the FIS World Cup in snowboard big air, Canadian athletes came just short of the podium at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday night.

The top Canadian was 23-year-old Nicolas Laframboise, who finished sixth in the men’s competition. He was one spot ahead of 20-year-old teammate Liam Brearley, who matched his career-best World Cup result in big air.

On the women’s side, Jasmine Baird finished as the top Canadian in seventh, one spot ahead of Laurie Blouin.

While Canadian athletes weren’t able to post podium results in Edmonton, they won’t have to wait long for another World Cup opportunity as the tour heads to Copper Mountain, Colorado for this coming weekend.

Beach Volleyball: Quarterfinals in Qatar for Melissa & Brandie

Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson played their way to another quarterfinal appearance, this time at the Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha, Qatar. In their first year as partners, they have achieved at least a fifth-place finish in every tournament they have entered.

After defeating the reigning world champions Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes of the United States in their opening match, their only loss in pool play came to the world number ones, Ana Patricia and Duda of Brazil. Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson were eliminated by Americans Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss in the quarterfinals.