A masterful performance by Canada in the 5000m relay ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


16 février 2022

A masterful performance by Canada in the 5000m relay

Short track enthusiasts were treated to perhaps the best day of competition at the 2022 Olympics as the final races were held today in Beijing. 

By Carl Savard

Photo by Speed Skating Canada - Patinage de vitesse Canada / Greg Kolz

A thrilling final in the 5000m

All eyes were on the 5000m relay event today as all the elements were in place for a historic final. Despite the absence of the Hungarians, the defending champions of the 2018 Games, the race was almost sure to offer quite a show with five great teams taking place on the starting grid: China, South Korea, Italy, Canada and the athletes representing the Russian Olympic Committee. One thing was for sure, China had a lot of pressure on their shoulders, as they were skating at home. Moreover, the presence of the Koreans in the final added an additional pressure on China knowing the rivalry between these two countries. For Canada, this race was going to mark the end of the Olympic career of Charles Hamelin, the flagship of Canadian speed skating for over 15 years.  Korea could also count on a veteran, Kwak Yoon Gy, who managed to regain his place on the national team after an absence of a few years. After a strategic race led by the Koreans for a good part of the event, the first major incident occurred with eleven laps to go when a loss of balance before an exchange pushed China off the podium. If China made a serious mistake, the Canadian team had a perfect race. With twenty laps to go, the Canadian machine started and no one could stop it. From Pierre-Gilles' pass to move up from third to second, to the following exchange allowing Dubois to take the lead, to the increase of the pace by the veteran Hamelin and the incredible burst of speed by Pascal Dion in his last two presences on the track, all this culminated in a victory for Canada. A masterful performance. Korea won the silver medal while Italy took the bronze. The win made Charles Hamelin the most decorated short track skater in Canadian Olympic history with six medals and Steven Dubois completed his Beijing 2022 collection with a gold medal after winning silver and bronze earlier in the competition. 

The cream rises to the top in the women's 1500m

After some relatively quiet quarter-final races, three skaters clearly showed their true colors in the semi-finals. Choi Min Jeong with an Olympic record on the distance, Suzanne Schulting with confident passes in traffic and Arianna Fontana with a powerful outside pass. It was clear that Fontana, now 31 years old, wanted a chance to add to her legend by competing in the grand final. Lee Yubin, Xandra Velzeboer, Hanne Desmet and Han Yutong had the tough task of trying to beat these three favourites. Han made her move really early by going full speed after only two laps, but changed her mind when she saw Suzanne Schulting wouldn't let her get away. With four laps to go, the action started to heat up as Arianna Fontana moved from 5th to 2nd with an outside pass, putting pressure on Choi Min Jeong and the pace picked up. A pace that only Choi, Fontana and Schulting could sustain. At the finish line, Choi entered in first place winning her 3rd Olympic medal in Beijing and 5th in her career. Arianna Fontana once again sets a new mark for the number of medals won at the Olympics with her 11th career medal, her 3rd in Beijing. Meanwhile in 3rd place, Suzanne Schulting wins her 4th medal of the Games, her 6th visit to a podium in two Olympic participations. 

Now that the Beijing Olympics are behind them, the athletes will travel to Montreal for the World Championships which will be held from March 18 to 20. As for the best junior skaters in the world, the Junior World Championships will be held in Gdansk, Poland from March 4 to 6.

For the complete results click HERE

Read our previous articles about the Olympics 

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