Team Medals for Canada at World Junior Championships

Canadian speed skaters showed their team spirit, today, when they captured two medals in short track relay, and one in long track team pursuit at the respective World Junior Championships.

In Courmayeur, Italy, the top junior speed skaters were competing in their World Junior Championships. Skaters from Canada were still unable to reach the individual podiums, but they were able to join forces to capture two medals in the relay.

The women’s team, made of Laurie Marceau (Dolbeau-Mistassini, QC), Ann-Véronique Michaud (Amqui, QC), Cynthia Mascitto (Laval, QC) and Courtney Shmyr (Langley, BC) skated a strong 4:20.166 in today’s final, to capture the silver medal. They were close to gold medal winners from Italy, who completed the race in 4:20.004. The bronze medal went to the Chinese in 4:32.995, and the Korean Team was penalized during the race, finishing fourth.

On the men side, Alexandre St-Jean (Québec, QC), Pier-Olivier Gagnon (Québec, QC), Patrick Duffy (Oakville, ON) and Maxime Gauthier (St-Lambert, QC) teamed up for Canada. They skated to a bronze medal in 4:15.867, while France won the gold (4:08.911) and Japan silver (4:09.923). Skaters from Kazakhstan finished fourth in 4:16.766.

In individual racing, St-Jean was the strongest today, with a sixth place finish in the 1000m. Duffy finished 13th in the same event, and Gagnon, who cut his ankle in a fall yesterday, did not skate in order to be part of the relay later in the day. In the overall World Junior Championships rankings, St-Jean finishes 14th and Duffy 17th.

Michaud was today’s top Canadian woman, taking 11th place in the 1000m. Marceau finished 17th and Mascitto 21st. In overall rankings, this places Michaud 12th, Marceau 13th and Mascitto 16th.

Also this weekend, long track junior athletes were competing in the World Junior Championships in Seinajoki, Finland. Today’s top finish was that of the women’s pursuit team, made of Kali Christ (Regina, SK), Jennessa Kemp and Kate Hanly, both of Calgary, and Brianne Tutt (Airdrie, AB). The four women first took the third position of the qualification round, which qualified them for the bronze medal final. In their second race, their time of 3:22.78 was enough to beat the Americans, who completed the race in 3:23.37. Team Korea (3:14.95) easily outskated the Japanese (3:18.66) in the gold medal final.

Earlier in the day, skaters raced their second 500m of the weekend. Kali Christ was once again the top Canadian, with a 9th place finish (41.54). Kemp completed her race in 41.63, good for 11th place, while Hanly finished 12th (41.88) and Alexandra Ianculescu (Toronto, ON) was 19th (42.72). The race was won by Karolina Erbanova of Czech Republic in 40.34, while silver and bronze respectively went to Kim Hyun-Yung of Korea (40.661) and Yekaterina Aydova of Kazakhstan (40.669). In overall 500m competition, Kemp finishes 8th, Christ 9th, Hanly 16th and Ianculescu 20th.

On the men side, the 1000m and Team Pursuit were scheduled. Martin Corbett (Uxbridge, ON) was the top finisher of the day, with a time of 1:15.19, good for fifth place. Teammate and silver medalist in yesterday’s 500m Laurent Dubreuil (Lévis, QC) finished just behind in 6th place (1:15.22). Alec Janssens (Chiliwack, BC) was 13th (1:16.89) and Axel Morin (Saskatoon, SK) completed the race in 1:18., for 19th position.

Kim Sung-Kyu once again won the race, in 1:13.95. Tommi Pulli of Finland finished second in 1:14.90, closely followed by Maurice Vriend of the Netherlands (1:14.91).

Corbett, Janssens, Dubreuil and Connor McConvey joined forces in the team pursuit. They completed the qualification round in 4:13.84, placing them 9th with a time 9.71 seconds slower than the winners from Norway. Only the top four teams from qualifications move to the finals.

This puts an end to the 2011 World Junior Championships both in short and long track speed skating. Skaters will head back to Canada tomorrow.