Sport Shorts: Blazing Start for Speed Skaters

On the Short Track in Montreal: Canadian short track speed skaters started the season with a real bang over the weekend, and they were lucky enough to do it in their own backyard as the first World Cup of 2010-11 took place in Montreal at the Maurice Richard Arena. On Saturday, the homecoming included two silver and two bronze medals. Winning silver were Marianne St-Gelais (St-Félicien, Que.) and Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, NWT) in the 1,000 metres. Canada’s Valérie Maltais (La Baie, Que.) and Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, Que.) captured bronze in the 1,500 metres. It was Maltais’s first career World Cup individual medal, St-Gelais’s first medal in the 1,000 metres, and Bastille’s first in 1,500 metres.

On Sunday, Canadians came out blazing with seven medals. That included gold medals by Bastille in 1,500 metres and by Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, Que.) and St-Gelais in the 500 metres. Hamelin later joined the men’s relay team to win gold – mimicking his double gold Olympic experience last February. Marie-Ève Drolet (Laterrière, Que.) took silver in the 1500 metres, Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, Que.) won bronze in the 500m, and the women’s relay team won bronze.

Their long track compatriots had a busy weekend too, racing for spots in the Fall World Cup team at the Calgary Oval. That team will be announced in the coming weeks.

Weaver & Poje Win Silver: At a figure skating Grand Prix in Japan, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (Waterloo, Ont.) had career-best scores en route to capturing a silver medal in ice dance. Olympic silver medallists Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S., won gold with 161.25 points and the Canadian duo followed at 141.57. They had personal bests in short dance, free dance and overall scores. In the men’s competition on Sunday, Shawn Sawyer (Edmunston, N.B.) took 5th place on the strength of a career-best short program on Friday.

Alpine Action: On Saturday, Marie-Michele Gagnon (Lac-Etchemin, Que.) finished 13th in giant slalom at the first alpine World Cup of the season. It is just four spots off her career mark of 9th in giant slalom. On Sunday, a heavy fog settled over the glacier in Sölden, AUT, cancelling the men’s giant slalom season opener. Next up for the skiers is a slalom World Cup in Levi, FIN in mid-November. Watch an interview with Gagnon here: