Gold, silver, bronze for Canada at short track speed skating World Cup

Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Montreal’s Steve Robillard neared world record times as they finished 1-2 respectively in the men’s 500-metres Friday while Montreal’s Anouk-Leblanc Boucher added a bronze in the women’s 500 at the short track speed skating World Cup final.

Canada also won three medals on Thursday to open the competition.

Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., who didn’t race Friday, still claimed the 500 World Cup title for the season. He finished tied for first at 197 points with American Apolo Anton Ohno but Turcotte takes the title on the strength of three wins. Ohno, who needed the gold Friday to take the season crown, was eliminated in the second round Friday.

In the men’s 500, Hamelin led from the start and took the gold in 41.640 seconds for his third individual victory in his first full season on the World Cup circuit. Robillard was second in 41.710 while Satoru Terao of Japan was third in 41.814. It’s the second straight World Cup that Canada finishes 1-2 in the 500.

"We didn’t think in training all week that week that we’d skate under 42 seconds," said Hamelin, who holds the world’s fastest time at 41.035 set at a non-sanctioned meet in November and palced third for the season in the 500 World Cup standings. "But we could feel the ice was much better today. The 500 is my only individual race this weekend and I wanted to leave here on a positive note."

Robillard, 20, passed Terao on the final lap to earn his second silver in two days.

"I won’t be racing individual events at the worlds (in March) so I wanted a strong finish to the World Cup," said Robillard. "Right now I feel in mid-season form and hopefully these performances are a step towards being on the relay at worlds."

Éric Bédard of Ste-Thècle, Que., was eliminated in the semifinals for sixth place.

In the women’s 500, Meng Wang of China was the winner in 44.585 with Evgenia Radanova of Bulgaria second in 44.646 and Leblanc-Boucher third in 44.721 for her first career World Cu

Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, B.C., was eliminated in the semis for sixth and Chantale Sévigny of Sherbrooke, Que., was ousted in the quarterfinals for 13th.

Canada qualified for both the men’s and women’s relay finals. In the men’s 5,000-metre relay, Canada won its semifinal heat with Turcotte, Hamelin, Robillard and Francois-Louis Tremblay of Boucherville, Que.

The women were second in their 3,000 relay semifinal with Leblanc-Boucher, Kraus, Sévigny and Amanda Overland of Cambridge, Ont.

Competition ends Saturday.