Laurent Dubreuil finishes 8th overall at Long Track Speed Skating World Sprint Championships

Laurent Dubreuil finished eighth in overall standings at the ISU Long Track Speed Skating World Sprint Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, thus improving by one rank the result he earned at that event last year.

Dubreuil (Lévis, QC), skated to a 11th-place finish in the men's 1000m, Sunday, to end up eighth overall, 2.27 points away from Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov, who was crowned World Sprint Champion after finishing first in three of the weekend's four races (two 500m and two 1000m). Kulizhnikov, the only skater ahead of Dubreuil in overall World Cup standings in the 500m, was third in Saturday's 1000m.

Dubreuil was ninth overall last year at the World Sprint Championships held in Nagano, Japan, as his best result that year was fourth place in the 500m. This year, he was third in the first 500m, Saturday, thus earning his best career result in that distance at the World Sprint Championships.

Dubreuil was nonetheless disappointed with the outcome.

“My rank overall is not as good as what I aimed for, which was a spot among the top-5,” stated the 22-year-old skater. “In fact, I was one good race away from reaching my objective. My 500m was simply horrible today and in spite of another solid skate in the 1000m, I wasn't in it anymore. It's a bit disappointing, but I will learn from this and come back stronger next year. At the world level, it's important to have consistency.”

In Sunday's 500m, Dubreuil settled for 16th place with a time of 35.42 seconds, tied with teammate Gilmore Junio (Calgary, AB). Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) was 15th in 35.41. Dubreuil was not helped by the fact that the other skater in his pairing, German skater Nico Ihle, was disqualified after a second false start was signaled.

“So I had to skate by myself,” Dubreuil pointed out. “Any top-level athlete should be able to do that, but I lost my focus, and I wasn't as sharp as I should have been. I was extremely slow at the start, and it was by far my worst 500m in a long time. For the first time this season and for one of the few times in my life, it's my 500m that faltered.”

It was the very first time in 14 races at the international level this season that Dubreuil was unable to finish among the top-10 in that distance. In his first 13 events, be it at the World Cup, at the World Single Distance Championships or at these World Sprint Championships, he had always managed to be among the top-8. He was among the top-3 on six occasions, including Saturday, in the first men's 500m raced this weekend.

In Sunday's 1000m, Dubreuil skated to the same time he had Saturday, i.e. one minute and 10.28 seconds, but finished two ranks higher than in Saturday's race in that distance. Junio and Jamie Gregg both improved on their times compared to Saturday's 1000m, finishing respectively 18th and 21st, Sunday, in 1:11.00 and 1:11.64.

“I had a decent 1000m again, but it's my 500m (Sunday) that did me in. If I had merely come within one and a half tenths of a second from the time I had in Saturday's 500m, I would have made it in the top-5,” noted Dubreuil. “But I aim to come back stronger from this.”

Junio was 19th in overall standings, 3.69 points away from Kulizhnikov, while Jamie Gregg was 20th, 4.20 points back.

On the women's side, Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB), Marsha Hudey (White City, SK) and Heather McLean (Winnipeg, MN) respectively finished 19th, 20th and 23rd overall.

Hudey finished 14th in 38.98 in Sunday's 500m, while Jessica Gregg was 19th (39.08) and Hudey was 21st (39.48).

In the 1000m that followed, Jessica Gregg was 18th (1:19.16), Hudey 20th (1:19.57) and McLean 22nd (1:20.09).

American skater Britanny Bowe won the women's overall title, after winning all four races held over the weekend in Astana.

The World Sprint Championship titles were awarded on the basis of overall standings following Saturday's 500m and 1000m races, in addition to Sunday's 500m and 1000m events. The last time the Canadian team was able to find a spot on the podium in overall standings was in 2008 in the men's competition (Jeremy Wotherspoon, silver), and in 2012 on the women's side (Christine Nesbitt, silver).

Next weekend, the ISU World Allround Championships will take place in Calgary, AB, March 7-8. The 2014-15 long track speed skating season will then conclude with the World Cup Finals, in Erfurt, Germany, March 21-22.

More information can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website:
Final ranking M
8. Laurent Dubreuil
19. Gilmore Junio
20. Jamie Gregg

Final ranking W
19. Jessica Gregg
20. Marsha Hudey
23. Heather McLean

500m (2) W
14. Marsha Hudey (38.98)
19. Jessica Gregg (39.08)
21. Heather McLean (39.48)

500m (2) M
15. Jamie Gregg (35.41)
16. Gilmore Junio (35.42)
16. Laurent Dubreuil (35.42)

1000m (2) W
18. Jessica Gregg (1:19.16)
20. Marsha Hudey (1:19.57)
22. Heather McLean (1:20.09)

1000m (2) M
11. Laurent Dubreuil (1:10.28)
18. Gilmore Junio (1:11.00)
21. Jamie Gregg (1:11.64)

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 13,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Phone: 403-860-9525

Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Phone: 514 213-9897