Laoun wins first career World Cup medal in an individual distance
SALT LAKE CITY, USA – Maxime Laoun and Kim Boutin won gold in their respective 500m races at the ISU World Cup Short Track in Salt Lake City.
It was a memorable Saturday night for Montreal’s Laoun, who captured the first individual distance World Cup medal of his career, winning gold in an exciting men’s 500m final.
Laoun was right behind Korea’s June Seo Lee from the opening gun, but Lee had a wobble and lost his balance in the second lap, which allowed Laoun to move into the lead. The 26-year old was passed by Kazakhstan’s Abzal Azhgaliyev in the straight of the final lap, but the Kazakh skater came out of the last turn too wide and Laoun pounced on the opportunity, passing him from the inside to regain the top spot.
Laoun posted a time of 40.946, close to his personal best, putting him comfortably ahead of Azhgaliyev (41.054) and Lee (41.350).
Boutin, meanwhile, earned her first World Cup medal of the season, crossing the finish line of the women’s 500m with a time of 43.095 to reach the top step of the podium.
The Sherbrooke native used a blistering start to gain the lead position and raced defensively the rest of the way to hold off perennial sprint medalist Natalia Maliszewska (43.145) from Poland and hometown skater Kristen Santos-Griswold (43.170) from the USA.
Teammate Rikki Doak (Fredericton, N.B.) also took part in the 500m final, but had an unfortunate slip with two laps remaining, relegating her to a fifth-place finish.
A pair of Canadian women also took part in the 1500m final, with both falling just short of the podium.
Nestled at the back of the pack, Courtney Sarault made an outside pass midway through the race to move into second. She held onto that position until Belgian skater Hanne Desmet collided with her with three laps remaining, causing her to lose all her speed. The Moncton native settled for a fifth-place finish, her best so far this season.
After working her way through the morning repêchage to earn a spot back in the main bracket, 23-year old Danae Blais (Châteauguay, Que.) finished sixth in the final, one spot behind teammate Sarault.
The ISU World Cup Short Track in Salt Lake City concludes tomorrow with the 500m-2 and 1000m, along with the men’s and women’s relay finals. The races will be live streamed by both CBC Sport and Radio-Canada Sports.
My plan in the final was to give it all I had. I had never won an international medal in an individual distance, and I knew that I could bring home gold today. My strategy was to be as relaxed as possible, while still being aggressive, and I was able to execute that to perfection!Maxime Laoun
It felt nice to be back on the podium! Things didn’t go as planned at the last World Cup in Montreal, so we focused on recovery since then to get me ready for this weekend. I was excited to race my first 500m of the season, but I knew my legs weren’t where I wanted them to be. We put in place a strategy that allowed me to race from the front a little slower and defend my position. My times were not very fast, but I was able to use that strategy to win my races.Kim Boutin
- Kim Boutin: 1st in 500m
- Rikki Doak: 5th in 500m
- Courtney Sarault: 5th in 1500m
- Danaé Blais: 6th in 1500m
- Renée Steenge: 12th in 500m
- Claudia Gagnon: 17th in 1500m
- Maxime Laoun: 1st in 500m
- Steven Dubois: 9th in 500m
- Mathieu Pelletier: 10th in 1500m
- Jordan Pierre-Gilles: 16th in 500m
- Pascal Dion: 22nd in 1500m
- Félix Roussel: 28th in 1500m