Alberta’s Max Poulin and Ontario’s Aaralyn McGill join four Quebec skaters on the podium
NORTH RUSTICO, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND – The first short track medals of the 2023 Canada Winter Games were handed out at the newly opened Eliyahu Wellness Centre at Canada Games Place in North Rustico on Tuesday, with Quebec’s Roselyn Pigeon and Alexis Bélanger bringing home gold.
Pigeon (Saint-Pie, Que.) set a new Canada Winter Games record of 2:26.581 to bring home gold in the women’s 1500m, breaking the mark of 2:27.276 previously held by Léa Chamberland-Dostie (QC). The 18-year-old from Saint-Pie, Que., was joined on the podium by silver medalist Aaralyn McGill of Ontario (2:26.632) and Quebec teammate Alice Vaillancourt (2:26.961).
Bélanger (Trois-Rivières, Que.), who represented Canada at the ISU World Junior Short Track Championships in January, earned a decisive victory in the men’s 1500m, crossing the line over a second faster than his closest competitor in 2:20.981.
Calgary’s Max Poulin (2:21.269), who recently returned from Germany where he was competing in long track alongside the national team at the ISU World Junior Speed Skating, earned a silver medal despite not having skated much my short track these past few months. Quebec’s Samuel Darveau (2:21.373) rounded out the podium in bronze medal position.
The short track skaters have a rest day tomorrow before returning back to action on Thursday with the 1000m qualifications and 500m finals. The 1000m medals will be awarded on Friday, while the 3000m points race and 3000m relays will finish things off on Saturday.
“I was full of stress going into the final. Winning a gold medal definitely wasn’t one of my objectives this week. I wanted to make at least one podium, which I’ve accomplished. The fact that I won a gold medal is a bonus and it makes me even happier. And I’m pretty proud to have reached the podium with Alice [Vaillancourt]. It’s always fun when you’re standing there with someone else from your province.”Roselyne Pigeon (QC)
“I feel really happy. Becoming 1500m champion was one of my objectives for this competition, so it’s mission accomplished! The race played out pretty much how I had visualized it. I was able to take the lead near the end and hang onto it to win gold.”Alexis Bélanger (QC)
“Today’s race was really great. I knew I would have to get out in front because everyone in the race was very strong. From that point on, it was just me desperately trying to hold on to the lead. Roselyne got by me, and that was my fault for not knowing what was behind me a little better, but all in all I think the race went better than I could have ever hoped.”Aaralyn McGill (ON)
“Winning a Canada Games medal feels amazing! Coming off the World Junior Championships in long track and not having skated short track for a long time, it feels amazing to be on the podium. The race went a lot slower than I expected. I fell to the back but as people were fighting in front, I saw a chance and took it, passing from the outside to finish second.”Max Poulin (AB)
Women’s 1500m Top-5
- 1st Roselyne Pigeon (QC) 2:26.581
- 2nd Aaralyn McGill (ON) 2:26.632
- 3th Alice Vaillancourt (QC) 2:26.961
- 4th Andria Scarpelli (ON) 2:29.703
- 5th Courtney Charlong (NB) 2:29.833
Men’s 1500m Top-5
- 1st Alexis Bélanger (QC) 2:20.981
- 2nd Max Poulin (AB) 2:21.269
- 3rd Samuel Darveau (QC) 2:21.373
- 4th Ryan St.Rose (AB) 2:21.384
- 5th Mathieu Charest (QC) 2:23.019