Weekend Roundup: St-Germain strikes gold at World Championships, Blondin & Maltais make history
While many Canadians were enjoying a long weekend, Team Canada athletes were up to their winning ways around the world.
Laurence St-Germain did something no on saw coming at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais achieved a Canadian first ever on the oval. And Cynthia Appiah secured her spot among the best in the world in the monobob.
Check out what else you might have missed:
Alpine Skiing: St-Germain surprises all with slalom gold
Laurence St-Germain became the first Canadian woman in more than 60 years to win a world title in slalom.
She delivered Canada’s fourth medal of the alpine worlds in Courchevel and Méribel, France, making it Canada’s most successful world championships ever. On Saturday, St-Germain sat in third place after the first run. She then flew down the course on her second run to take the lead with two rivals still to go. One of them was American Mikaela Shiffrin, a heavy favourite as the season’s overall World Cup leader in the slalom who has more career World Cup wins than any other alpine skier.
Shiffrin was more than a second slower than St-Germain in the second run, giving the Canadian her first major international podium. She joins Anne Heggtveit, who won slalom gold at the 1960 Olympic Games (which doubled as the world championships), as the only Canadians to win world titles in the slalom.
Long Track Speed Skating: Double podium for Blondin and Maltais
Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais made Canadian history in Poland on Sunday as they stood side-by-side on the ISU World Cup podium. Maltais captured the silver while Blondin took bronze in the mass start, making it the first time two Canadian women had shared a World Cup podium in the event.
In a neck-and-neck race, the pair were conquered by Momoka Horikawa of Japan, who beat Maltais by a slim 0.17 of a second. Blondin snagged the remaining podium spot by beating Italy’s Laura Peveri by a tenth of a second.
The silver is Maltais’ first individual World Cup medal. The bronze secured the overall World Cup title for Blondin in the mass start as she reached the podium in five of six events this season.
Canada’s other medals of the weekend came in the team sprint. In the men’s event, Anders Johnson, Laurent Dubreuil and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu were 1.36 seconds faster than the runners-up from Norway. Canada finished second in the overall World Cup standings for the event, which is not part of the Olympic program.
On the women’s side, Blondin, Brooklyn McDougall and Carolina Hiller raced to their third World Cup silver medal of the season. Canada also finished second in the overall World Cup standings in this event.
A trio of Canadians finished 4-5-6 in the women’s 3000m. Isabelle Weidemann missed the podium by three-quarters of a second as she finished 0.25 ahead of teammate Blondin, who was almost a second and a half faster than Valérie Maltais. Weidemann ends the season ranked second overall in the women’s long distance (3000m/5000m) standings.
Gélinas-Beaulieu placed fifth in the men’s 1500m, missing the podium by 0.38 of a second. Although he only finished 14th on Friday, Connor Howe ends the season ranked second overall in the 1500m. Dubreuil took the overall World Cup title in the men’s 500m despite missing the podium for the first time all season.
Bobsleigh: Appiah slides to a Crystal Globe in Latvia
Cynthia Appiah concluded her monobob season by winning the bronze medal in the final IBSF World Cup race of the year in Sigulda, Latvia. Posting the top start times in both heats on the 16-corner track, Appiah battled to third place for the second straight week which secured the crystal globe for third place in the overall World Cup standings.
On Sunday, Appiah and her brakewoman Leah Walkeden placed sixth in the two-woman bobsleigh event.
Ski Cross: Marielle Thompson grabs silver ahead of world championships
Marielle Thompson won silver in the first World Cup ski cross race of the weekend in Reiteralm, Austria. It was her fifth podium of the season. She holds onto second place in the overall World Cup standings behind only Swede Sandra Naeslund who has literally won every World Cup race. On the second day of racing, Tiana Gairns was the top Canadian, winning the women’s small final to finish fifth overall.
The best performance by a Canadian man came from Kevin Drury, who finished fourth in the big final on Thursday. No Canadian man advanced to either the big or small final on Friday. Reece Howden led the way with a ninth-place finish.
Judo: Five Canadians on the podium in Tel Aviv
Jessica Klimkait and Christa Deguchi met in the final of the women’s 57kg event at the IJF Grand Slam in Tel Aviv. Klimkait came out the winner, earning her first head-to-head victory against her compatriot after Deguchi had won their first six meetings. The gold and silver medallists also hold onto the top two spots in the world rankings for their weight class.
Another world number one, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, won the gold medal in the women’s 63kg event for her third career Grand Slam victory.
François Gauthier Drapeau won bronze in the men’s 81kg event as he stood on the podium at a second straight Grand Slam competition. An excellent week for Team Canada ended with Kyle Reyes on the third step of the podium in the men’s -100kg event.
Freestyle Skiing: Team Canada fifth in mixed team aerials
Team Canada placed fifth in the mixed team aerials event at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Bakuriani, Georgia on Sunday. The trio of Marion Thénault, Miha Fontaine, and Alexandre Duchene totalled 228.17 points. The world championships will continue until March 5.
Skeleton: Rahneva places sixth in IBSF World Cup final
At the final stop of the IBSF World Cup season in Sigulda, Latvia, Mirela Rahneva placed sixth in women’s skeleton. She had been in second place after the first run, but struggled to control her sled through a couple of turns in the second run, dropping her out of podium position. Still, she finished the season ranked third in the overall World Cup standings on the strength of two medals, a trio of fourth-place finishes, and never placing lower than eighth.
Jane Channell finished ninth in Sigulda after having been sixth-fastest in the first run. She ends the season ranked eighth in the World Cup standings.
Biathlon: Lunder into top 10 for career best at world championships
Emma Lunder placed seventh in the women’s 12.5 mass start at the IBU World Championships in Oberhof, Germany. It is her career-best result at the world championships and follows an 11th-place finish for the two-time Olympian in the sprint event.
Badminton: Canada victorious at Pan American Cup
Canada won the gold medal at the Pan American Cup, defeating the United States 3-0 in the final of the continental team tournament. Three straight wins by the mixed doubles tandem of Ty Alexander Lindeman and Josephine Wu, men’s singles player Brian Yang, and men’s doubles duo Dong Adam and Nyl Yakura locked up the best-of-five matches victory for Canada, which has now won 13 straight mixed team continental titles.
Wrestling: Wiebe wins gold in return to mat
Erica Wiebe was among Canada’s three gold medallists at the Klippan Lady Open in Sweden. Wiebe earned the victory in the 76kg event as she returned to international competition for the first time since the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Diana Weicker took gold in the 55kg event while Olivia Di Bacco was victorious at 68kg.
Hannah Taylor (59kg) and Katie Ann Dutchak (50kg) added silver medals while Samantha Stewart came home with 53kg bronze.