Canadian Roundup: Historic weekend for figure skating and bobsleigh
We may still be waiting for the winter World Cup season to kick into full swing, but that doesn’t mean there was a lack of podium performances by Canadian athletes this past weekend.
Figure skaters, swimmers and wrestlers all captured international hardware while Kaillie Humphries led a national history-making moment.
With a seven medal performance, Canadian figure skaters enjoyed their most successful Skate Canada International since it gained Grand Prix status 20 years ago, surpassing the previous best haul of five medals in 2004, 2005 and 2010. There were three double podiums this past weekend in Mississauga, all for gold and bronze. In the men’s event, Patrick Chan won his sixth career Skate Canada gold while Kevin Reynolds finished third for his first career Grand Prix podium. In the first Grand Prix event of their comeback from a two-year hiatus, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir also captured their sixth Skate Canada title, sharing the podium with Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier. Two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won their third straight Skate Canada gold ahead of third place teammates Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch who earned their first Grand Prix medal together. Finally fully recovered from a broken leg, Kaetlyn Osmond won silver in the ladies’ event for her first Grand Prix medal since she won Skate Canada gold in 2012.
It was a golden sweep for Kaillie Humphries and Justin Kripps at the Canadian championships, as the competition featured a women’s four-man event for the very first time. Teamed with Melissa Lotholz, her brakeman from last season, Humphries won the women’s two-man event in her brand new sled, Jezabelle. A day later they brought Genevieve Thibault and Cynthia Appiah into the mix to win that historic first women’s four-man title. Thibault had competed in the two-man event with Alyssia Rissling, finishing second. On the men’s side, Kripps and Jesse Lumsden, returning to bobsleigh after two years away, won the two-man title ahead of Chris Spring and brakeman Lascelles Brown, who had moved from third to second in their final run. Kripps and Lumsden were joined by Ben Coakwell and Josh Kirkpatrick for the four-man victory over Nick Poloniato (with crew Tim Randall, Derek Plug and Kennan McDougall), who surprised with his second place finish ahead of two-time Olympian Spring (with crew Cam Stones, Neville Wright and Brown).
Canadian swimmers won three medals at the last two stops of the short course FINA World Cup circuit. In Tokyo on Tuesday, Michelle Williams earned her first individual international medal, winning bronze in the 50m freestyle. She moved up one spot to silver in that same event on Saturday in Hong Kong.
“I was pleased with my performance particularly because I was able to move up my placing,” said Williams. “These World Cups are a great chance to race under any circumstances. You always have to be ready to go no matter how tired you are and with all the travel.”
Katerine Savard capped the World Cup tour on Sunday with a bronze medal in the 200m butterfly. Canada will host the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Windsor, Ontario in early December.
Canadian women won five medals at the FISU World University Championships, highlighted by gold medals for Justine Di Stasio (75kg), Linda Morias (60kg) and Allyssa Cleaves (48kg). Samantha Stewart (53kg) also made it to a gold medal match, but had to settle for silver. Jessica Brouillette (63kg) added a bronze to the medal haul. Steven Takahashi (57kg) won bronze for the lone men’s freestyle podium finish.