HAMAR, NORWAY – With just hours to go before the start of second day of the World Speed Skating Championships in Norway, Speed Skating Canada received the unfortunate news that medal hopeful Laurent Dubreuil tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw from the competition.
The native of Lévis, Que. underwent three different COVID tests Friday morning, two PCR tests and a CT Value Test. Unfortunately, the CT values of the reigning Olympic silver medalists in the 1000m were too low for the ISU doctors to allow him to skate, forcing him to withdraw.
“I was in disbelief this morning when my coaches told me that I tested positive. I have continued to follow all possible social distancing measures during my time here, but luck just wasn’t on my side. I feel good physically and I’m really disappointed that I wasn’t able to take part in today’s races today. I’ve waited two years to have another chance at winning this competition and was on track to do just that. There’s no doubt in my mind that I could have won today, so I can’t help but feel like these World Championships are being stolen from me. Hopefully I’ll be able to lace up my skates at next weekend’s World Cup Final in the Netherlands and finish off my season with some races.”Laurent Dubreuil
Dubreuil, who was crowned vice-champion at this very competition in 2020, kicked-off this year’s event with a pair of podium performances on Thursdays, finishing first in the 500m-1 with a time of 34.58 and third in the 1000m-1 with a time of 1:08.85. The 29-year old stood atop the standings after the opening day of competition with 69.005 points, 0.18 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Thomas Krol of the Netherlands (69.180).
While Canada’s only male participant was forced to retire from the competition, a pair of Canadian women were in action on Friday.
Fresh off making their Olympic debuts in Beijing, NextGen skaters Maddison Pearman (Ponoka, Alta) and Brooklyn McDougall (Calgary, Alta.) finished the first ever World Sprint Championships of their careers ranked 12th and 15th, respectively. Pearman earned a pair of 11th place results in the 1000m races, while McDougall’s 14th place finish in the first 500m was her best result.
With Dubreuil unfortunately out of the equation, the men’s podium consisted of Thomas Krol and Kai Verbij of the Netherlands and Norway’s Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen. The medal winners on the women’s side were Dutch skaters Jutta Leerdam and Femke Kok, along with Vanessa Herzog of Austria.
While the Sprint portion of the ISU World Speed Skating Championships has concluded, the Allround portion of the competition continues into Saturday and Sunday, where champions will be crowned based on the combined times from the 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m/5000m races. Canada will be represented by Ted-Jan Bloemen, Jordan Belchos, Ivanie Blondin, Valérie Maltais and Lindsey Kent.
CBC Sports will have live streaming coverage of all the races on both Saturday and Sunday, while Brenda Irving and Anastasia Bucsis will have the call during CBC TVs recap shows on Sunday at 3:00PM ET (Sprints) and Sunday at 2:00PM ET (Allround).
- Laurent Dubreuil: 1st in 500m-1; 3rd in 1000m-1
- Maddison Pearman: 17th in 500m-1; 11th in 1000m-1; 17th in 500m-2; 11th in 1000m-2
- Brooklyn McDougall: 14th in 500m-1; 16th in 1000m-1; 16th in 500m-2; 15th in 1000m-2