This article was originally published on Speed Canada's website.
Three-time Olympic medalist Marianne St-Gelais collected a medal in a fifth straight ISU short track speed skating World Cup event this season, Saturday, as she earned bronze in the women's 1000m raced in Dresden, Germany.
After winning all of her heats on her way to the A final, the skater from Saint-Félicien, Que., finished her third-place performance in one minute 30.466 seconds, behind China's Fan Kexin, second in 1:30.451, following a tight finish between the two skaters. South Korea's Kim Alang won gold in 1:30.368.
“I was going for gold and it's too bad that it didn't work out, because I had the legs to win,” said St-Gelais. “Things were going well in the final and, towards the end, overtaking inside would have been too risky, so I tried it on the outside and it worked. In the position I was in, the silver medal was a sure thing, but I decided to go for one more spot, so I tried it again on the outside. Unfortunately, I ended up closer to the Korean that I expected, and my turn ended up being too wide.”
“It's too bad, but I always said that the goal this season was to try things and go for more. I still had some pretty good races today.”
St-Gelais has now picked up at least one medal in each of the five World Cup events held this season. Saturday's result earned her a 9th podium finish in 2014-15. Following her gold medal in 1000m and bronze in 500m and in relay events in Salt Lake City, she won a silver medal in 500m in Montreal. In Asia, the 24-year-old skater won a silver medal in 500m, bronze in 1000m and in women's relay in Shanghai, then a gold medal in 1000m in Seoul.
Patrick Duffy, the only other Canadian to reach the A final of a race, Saturday, finished 5th in the men's 1000m. The 23-year-old skater from Oakville, Ont., was in 4th position when he fell in the last turn. This was his second career A final, as he finished 4th in a 1000m raced in Salt Lake City to start the season.
“I was up against guys who all had won medals in the past, and I wanted to prove I could go in there and compete. But I decided to hold back a little bit, to avoid doing too much too early,” said Duffy. “I fell after a technical mistake, when I hit a block. I had a good race nonetheless.”
Charles Hamelin, for his part, was eliminated in the 1000m semi-finals after being penalized.
“I had a good race in a high-calibre group with two Russians and one Hungarian, but I was penalized for overtaking too tightly early on in the race,” said the skater from Sainte-Julie, Que. “ I was surprised I was disqualified, but decisions like these are part of short track skating. You have to live with it, and you have to move on.”
Veteran skater Olivier Jean, who is skating in his first World Cup this season after spending the fall completing his university studies in kinesiology, won the men's 1500m B final, which earned him 8th place overall. The athlete from Lachenaie, Que., qualified for the B final after finishing third in a high-calibre heat in the semi-finals, which included another Canadian skater – François Hamelin – as well as South Korea's Sin Da Woon, who leads the World Cup standings. Sin subsequently won the A final, later on Saturday.
In the women's 1500m, all three Canadians in the event - Valérie Maltais, Genève Bélanger and Audrey Phaneuf – ended up in the B final following a top-notch semifinal where all three were pitted against one another, as well as against South Korea's Choi Minjeong, who leads the World Cup standings. Choi won the A final later on.
Maltais, of Saguenay (La Baie), Que., won the B final while Bélanger, a 17-year-old Montrealer who is taking part this weekend in her first career competition at the senior level, finished 3rd for 9th place overall. Bélanger, who skated in front for a good part of the B final, therefore earned a top-10 result in her very first event at the world senior level. Audrey Phaneuf, of Boucherville, Que., was 5th in the B final and 11th overall.
“I was going for a spot in the A final, but I fell after a contact in the semifinal and it cost me,” said Maltais. “In the B final, I chose to stay back and observe, and wait for the right time to overtake at the end. That's what I did and it worked.”
“I played it a little too safe in the semifinals, but in the final I told myself I had nothing to lose,” said Bélanger. “I did well and I was in front with a lap to go, but then other skaters started going by me. I'm still happy with making it to the final in my very first race at the World Cup.”
The Canadian women's relay team, comprised of St-Gelais, Bélanger, Kasandra Bradette (of Saint-Félicien) and Kim Boutin (of Sherbrooke) won their heat to qualify for Sunday's final. On the men's side, Charles Hamelin, Jean, Duffy and Samuel Girard (of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que.) finished third of their heat, behind China and the Netherlands, to settle for a spot in Sunday's B final.
In addition to the relay races, more 1500m races will follow Sunday, as well as 500m events.
Charles Hamelin, Girard and Duffy will skate in the men's 1500m, Sunday, starting in the semi-finals, while the women's 1500m will feature Maltais and Boutin as of the semi-finals, and Bélanger starting in the repechage heats.
In the 500m, St-Gelais and Bradette will be in action on the women's side starting with the quarterfinals and Phaneuf, as of the morning repechage heats. In the men's 500m contest, Olivier Jean and François Hamelin will kick off their day in the quarterfinals and Bastille, in the repechage heats.
TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
-Patrick Duffy: 5th in the A final (final ranking: 5)
-Charles Hamelin: penalty in the semi-finals and eliminated (final ranking: 8)
-Samuel Girard: 4th in the repechage semi-finals heats and eliminated (final ranking: 21)
1500m M (1)
-Olivier Jean: 1st in the B final (overall ranking: 8)
-François Hamelin: 7th in the semi-finals and eliminated (final ranking: 18)
-Guillaume Bastille: penalty in the heats and eliminated (final ranking: 42)
-Canada: 3rd in the semi-finals and qualified for the B final Sunday (Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean, Patrick Duffy, Samuel Girard)
-Marianne St-Gelais: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
-Kim Boutin: penalty in the semi-finals and eliminated (final ranking: 8)
-Kasandra Bradette: penalty in the semi-finals repechage heats and eliminated (final ranking: 22)
1500m W (1)
-Valérie Maltais: 1st in the B final (overall ranking: 7)
-Genève Bélanger: 3rd in the B final (overall ranking: 9)
-Audrey Phaneuf: 5th in the B final (overall ranking: 11)
- Canada: 1st in the semi-finals and qualified for the A final Sunday (Marianne St-Gelais, Kasandra Bradette, Genève Bélanger, Kim Boutin)
More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.