Weekend roundup: Chartrand, Blondin breakthrough; beach dominance & more

Canadian figure skating witnessed a breakthrough performance this weekend with Alaine Chartrand winning bronze in the ladies’ event at the ISU Grand Prix stop in Moscow.

Moscow podium

Chartrand was leading after the short program with a score of 61.18 ahead of eventual gold and silver medallists Rika Hongo of Japan (59.85) and Russian Anna Pogorilaya (59.32).

In the free skate portion, Chartrand under-rotated three jumps and was deducted for a wrong edge on a triple flip. That allowed Hongo and Pogorilaya to move ahead of the Canadian on the podium.

The bronze is the first international medal for Chartrand. The 18-year old from Prescott, Ontario is in her first full senior international season after finishing fifth at the 2014 World Junior Championships.

‘’Definitely I reached a new level today to win a medal in my first season on the senior Grand Prix,’ Chartrand said. ‘’I didn’t feel any extra pressure today because I had won the short program.  I’m always nervous anyway.’’

Beach domination

In Trinidad and Tobago, Canadian men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams captured gold medals in the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) circuit.

Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke took the women’s title while Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton took the men’s event.

Canada’s national beach team head coach Steve Anderson said “Our top ranked teams have been focused on playing the FIVB World Tour, and winning gold in both genders shows the growth that our teams have accomplished in the last two years.”

This was the final tournament in the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit this year.

Golden in Japan

Another first for a Canadian athlete on skates occurred in Japan, where Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, Ontario won her first individual World Cup gold medal.

The 24-year old Blondin’s victory came in the mass start, which the International Skating Union has proposed to be included in the Olympics starting with PyeongChang, South Korea in 2018.

The mass start is a 16-lap (approximately 6400m) skate that sees a certain amount of physicality reminiscent of short track speed skating. Blondin’s short track background and endurance makes her an ideal participant. She has previously won

“I’m extremely pleased with how the race turned out,” Blondin said. “All my experience skating short track for so many years paid off, because in mass start you have to fight to find a good lane. There was shoving and pushing, so it’s a good thing I can be aggressive.

Blondin finished in 8:33.34, edging out Japan’s Nana Takagi (8:33.44) and Irene Schouten of Netherlands (8:33.54).

Heartbreak at home

Canadian short track speed skaters came to Montreal for the second stop in their ISU World Cup circuit but finished with a disappointing tally. The lone medal from the weekend arrived via Marianne St-Gelais, who won silver in the women’s 500m. It was St-Gelais’ fourth medal in two competitions this season.

Sparring in South Korea

Canadian female boxers are at the 2014 AIBA Women’s World Championships in South Korea. Mandy Bujold won her first bout, as did Myriam da Silva. In the preliminaries Caroline Veyre lost her match and was eliminated in her division.

Ariane Fortin has her first fight ahead of her as the tournament progresses toward its conclusion next week.

Martial plan

Canadian taekwondo athletes competed in the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships this weekend. The sixth edition took place in Edinburgh, Scotland with Canadians winning multiple medals. A full breakdown of results is available at the Taekwondo Scotland website, and a list participating athletes through Taekwondo Canada.