SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of – Canada’s Marianne St-Gelais set two goals for the world short-track speedskating championships: a gold medal, and a top-three finish in the overall standings.
The 26-year-old from Saint-Felicien, Que., crossed one of them off in spectacular fashion Saturday, winning the 1,500 metres for her first world title.
“I wanted a title and I got it,” she said.
St-Gelais’ victory was the first for a Canadian woman since Kalyna Roberge won the 500 in 2007, and the first on a two-medal day for St-Gelais. She would add a silver in the 500 later.
“I went on the podium, they gave me my medal and all that, but it seems that it still didn’t dawn on me for a big part of the day,” St-Gelais said. “But it turned out to be a good thing. I had to keep my emotions in check for a while anyway because I had another race to do.”
Her two medals boosted St-Gelais to the top of the provisional standings for the overall title.
“I had some good races,” she said. “It’s funny because I didn’t feel particularly well when I got here in Seoul. It just goes to show that no matter what the circumstances, you just need to be confident in what you can do.”
St-Gelais will race the 1,000 metres on Sunday, and then the top eight skaters in the overall standings will race a 3,000 Super-Final to battle for additional points.
“I won’t change anything to my game plan or my routine,” St-Gelais said of Sunday. “I won’t be thinking about the hat I’m now wearing, I’ll just focus on what I have to do on the ice. I will try to earn the most points possible in the 1000 to give myself a wider margin after that in the 3000.”
Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., had another rough day. Already eliminated in Friday’s 500, the veteran skater was disqualified in the 1500 final for contact with another skater, losing another chance to earn points in overall standings.
“It’s unfortunate because my race was going quite well until I tried to overtake on the inside. I had what it took to win that race,” said Hamelin, who had been aiming for the overall title. “I will now focus on Sunday’s 1000 and try to collect the most points possible to try and qualify for the 3000, and climb back up in the standings.”
Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., was fourth in the men’s 1500.