Bieber (MB) wins double gold on final day; Veeman (SK) and Doan (AB) also victorious
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – Canada’s top long track speed skaters battled snowy conditions at the Emera Oval in Halifax on Friday to close out the 2023 Canada Winter Games, which saw gold medals handed out to Sofia Bieber (MB), Jalen Doan (AB) and Luca Veeman (SK).
Manitoba’s Bieber captured her fourth and fifth medals of the competition on Friday, racing to gold in both the women’s 1000m and Mass Start. The Winnipeg native and reigning Canadian junior long track champion previously won gold in the 500m and silver in both the 1500m and Team Pursuit.
Bieber’s time of 1:28.14 in the 1000m put her comfortably in first place. She was joined on the podium by a pair of recent ISU World Junior Championship teammates in Quebec’s Cloé Jelonek (1:29.36) and Alberta’s Maya Lueders (1:30.10), who also won silver in the 500m earlier in the week.
The Manitoba flag bearer followed her 1000m performance up with a gold medal skate in the women’s Mass Start, posting a time of 7:34.84 and earning 30 points to grab the win. Quebec’s Émilie Greenfield (7:35.10, 25 points) was second, while Alberta’s Isabelle Champagne (7:35.27, 13 points), already a two-time medalist this week, was third.
Alberta’s Doan continued to show that he is in a class of his own in the men’s sprint and middle distances, capturing his third gold medal in as many days. The Olympic Oval based skater stopped the 1000m clock in 1:17.53, ahead of teammate Yankun Zhao (1:18.23), who won his second silver medal, and Saskatchewan’s Veeman (1:18.36).
Veeman got the better of Doan in the final race of the day, earning gold in the men’s Mass Start to finish the competition with four individual distance podiums. The Saskatchewan flag bearer’s time of 6:35.26 and 32 points placed him ahead of Doan (6:35.62, 20 points) and Quebec’s Zacharie Després (6:35.645, 10 points).
After four consecutive days of racing, the 2023 Canada Winter Games long track speed skating competition comes to an end. Five provinces reached the podium across the 12 distances, with Alberta brining home the most medals.
Long Track Medal Totals
- Alberta = 6 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze
- Saskatchewan = 1 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze
- Quebec = 2 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze
- Manitoba = 3 gold, 2 silver
- Ontario = 1 silver
“The start of the week in Halifax was very warm and the ice conditions were not something I am used to, and then as it got windier, stormier, and very snowy, it reminded me a lot of Winnipeg. I felt more prepared because I do train in this type of weather all the time. The mass start race was a very unexpected win for me, due to the fact that I have not had much success in this race before. I had so much adrenaline going today. During that race, because it was so cold, and given that it was the last race of the competition, I just gave it all I had.”Sofia Bieber
“I have been chasing the gold all week. I couldn’t have been happier to cross the finish line, I almost didn’t believe it when I did. I’m happy to bring home the gold on the last day here.”Luca Veeman
“I think the tailwind coming off of the start helped a lot. It ended up being a really fast start for me and I think Zhao, so going into going into the first lap it was definitely a bit weird hitting the wind. My coach told me that the wind was picking up as well and I also felt Veeman on the back stretch kind of sitting in my draft which was a bit nerve wracking, but that reminded me where I needed my head to be. Going into the last lap, I knew that I had to give it my all going into the headwind and I’m just glad I was able to clinch out first.”Jalen Doan
Women’s 1000m Top-5
- Sofia Bieber (MB) 1:28.14
- Cloé Jelonek (QC) 1:29.36
- Maya Lueders (AB) 1:30.10
- Skylar Van Horne (MB) 1:32.06
- Serena Dallaire (SK) 1:32.30
Women’s Mass Start Top-5
- Sofia Bieber (MB)
- Emilie Greenfield (QC)
- Isabelle Champagne (AB)
- Rachelle Mallard (ON)
- Camille Tremblay (QC)
Men’s 1000m Top-5
- Jalen Doan (AB) 1:17.53
- Yankun Zhao (AB) 1:18.23
- Luca Veeman (SK) 1:18.36
- Kieran Hanson (BC) 1:19.62
- Zacharie Després (QC) 1:20.21
Men’s Mass Start Top-5
- Luca Veeman (SK)
- Jalen Doan (AB)
- Zacharie Després (QC)
- Alex Giannotti (ON)
- Daniel Hall (AB)