Mateusz Kielpinski/FIS - International Skating Union - THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
Mateusz Kielpinski/FIS - International Skating Union - THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Weekend Roundup: Boutin & Dandjinou are world champions; Canadian sweep of women’s ski cross podium

As the winter sport season winds down, Team Canada athletes are making the most of every moment.

It was a medal-laden weekend at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, as well as FIS World Cup events in ski cross, ski slopestyle, and dual moguls.

Here’s a quick recap of this weekend’s top stories:

Short Track: Boutin, Dandjinou top world championship podiums

Two Canadians stood atop the podium at the biggest event of the short track speed skating season: the ISU World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

READ: Dandjinou strikes 1000m gold, Boutin claims first career world title in 500m

On Saturday, it was Kim Boutin‘s moment in the spotlight as she claimed the world title in the women’s 500m. It is her first career world championship gold medal. Only two other Canadian women — Isabelle Charest (1996) and Kalyna Roberge (2007) — have become 500m world champions in the last two decades. For Boutin, who has more than a dozen world championship medals in her career, the result was proof that she can still compete with the best in the world, even after choosing not to race in the first half of the season while she focused on her education.

Starting the final from the second position, Boutin took the lead early and never gave it up. Her time of 42.626 seconds put her just ahead of defending champion Xandra Velzeboer of the Netherlands (42.833) who claimed silver and Kristen Santos-Griswold of the United States (42.929) who claimed bronze.

On Sunday, William Dandjinou took gold in the men’s 1000m in a dramatic photo finish. A pair of South Korean skaters — Hwang Dae Heon and Park Ji Won — collided with three laps to go, allowing Dandjinou, who had been battling for the lead, to glide to the front of the pack. He edged out Italy’s Pietro Sighel for the victory by just 0.021 seconds.

The 22-year-old Canadian had had a great World Cup season, which saw him finish third in the overall standings, despite missing the last stop with an injury.

In an eventful 500m men’s final on Saturday, three of the five racers took a fall, including Canada’s Jordan Pierre-Gilles who somehow managed to recover to win bronze. It’s the 25-year-old’s first individual world championship medal.

The women’s 3000m relay team also claimed a bronze medal, finishing behind the Dutch who grabbed gold on home ice and the United States, who claimed silver.

Ski Cross: Canada sweeps podium for first time in 14 years

Canada’s women’s ski cross team added incredible accomplishment to what was already an impressive 2023-24 season.

Marielle Thompson (gold), Brittany Phelan (silver), and India Sherret (bronze) swept the podium in the penultimate FIS World Cup stop in Veysonnaz, Switzerland. That had not been achieved by a trio of Canadian women in a World Cup ski cross race since March 2010.

READ: Canada sweeps the podium in ski cross

“I’ve never been part of a podium sweep,” said Thompson, who hit a milestone with her 30th career World Cup win. “I knew we had some good odds with the three of us in the big final and to share the podium with these two gals is very cool.”

Thompson has been on a remarkable hot streak, recording five wins in the last seven races. She leads the overall World Cup standings by 72 points heading into the last two races of the season next week in Idre Fjäll, Sweden. Phelan is in third place overall, after her sixth podium of the season. It is Sherret’s second podium of the season.

Dual Moguls: Another milestone win for Mikaël Kingsbury

After clinching two Crystal Globes the previous week, Mikaël Kingsbury continued to rack up more accolades.

In the season finale for the mogulists in Chiesa in Valmalenco, Italy, Kingsbury won the men’s dual moguls for his 90th career FIS World Cup victory. It was his 10th victory of the season, a personal record for the moguls GOAT.

Kingsbury was presented with the 25th and 26th Crystal Globes of his career, after having mathematically earned the overall World Cup titles for dual moguls and moguls/dual moguls combined.

Another Canadian also received a season-ending accolade. Louis-David Chalifoux was named the FIS Rookie of the Year for men’s moguls. In his first full World Cup season, the 21-year-old earned three top-six finishes, including a fourth-place result in dual moguls in December.

Ski Slopestyle: Olivia Asselin is back on the podium

At just 20 years old, Olivia Asselin continues to be one of Canada’s most promising young skiers. She finished third at the second last stop of the FIS World Cup season for ski slopestyle in Tignes, France. It is just her second career World Cup podium, following a third place finish in big air in December 2022.

Asselin’s top score of 74.81 on her second run of the final left her just 0.75 back of Swiss skier Mathilde Gremaud who placed second. Tess Ledeux thrilled her home French crowd by taking the win with 80.43 points.

Canoe/Kayak Slalom: Canada qualifies two Olympic quota spots

Canada will have entries in both the women’s and men’s C-1 slalom events at Paris 2024. Those quota spots were secured at the 2024 COPAC Canoe Slalom Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Rio de Janeiro where Lois Betteridge and Alex Baldoni won their respective events. Who will actually be in those boats at this summer’s Olympic Games will be determined at a later date.

Betteridge went on to win gold in the women’s K-1 event and silver in the women’s C-1 event at the Pan American Championships that also took place this weekend.

Cross-Country Skiing: Cyr cracks top 10 in season standings

Antoine Cyr has completed the best season of his young career, finishing 10th in the men’s overall FIS World Cup standings for cross-country skiing.

His best result of the season came in the final week, as he placed fourth in a classic sprint race in Drammen, Norway last Tuesday. At the World Cup Final in Falun, Sweden this pas weekend, he finished 11th in a 10km classic race.

Curling: Team Canada starts off worlds with win streak

Team Canada won its first three games of the World Women’s Curling Championship in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Comprised of skip Rachel Homan, vice-skip Tracy Fleury, second Emma Miskew, lead Sarah Wilkes, and alternate Rachel Brown, Canada opened with a 7-6 victory on Saturday over Sweden’s Team Hasselborg. Later that day, they defeated Denmark’s Team Dupont 7-4. In their only game on Sunday, they took down Team Peterson of the United States 10-6.

There are still nine more games to play in the round robin. Of particular note is Tuesday evening’s match against Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland who have won the last four world titles.