ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que. was golden on Sunday, earning his first international medal of the season on Sunday at the World Cup short-track speedskating event in Kazakhstan.
His time of 40.661 seconds in the men's 500 metres earned him first place, a position he held from start to finish.
"It was an excellent day for me on a personal level and for Canada as a whole," said Girard, who has won gold in the distance during each of the last four World Cup seasons. "We trained very hard after Salt Lake City because we didn't get the results that we wanted. We came back stronger and it helped us achieve our best overall day to date."
The mixed gender relay team — Girard, Kim Boutin, Cedrik Blais and Alyson Charles — also skated to a gold medal in a time of 2:39.615, the first in Canadian history. While the discipline was only introduced to international competition this season, it will be making its debut at the Beijing 2022 Olympics.
The Canadians sat in second place for much of the final race, but a well-timed pass by Girard in the last corner earned the team the top spot. Pascal Dion, Danae Blais and Steven Dubois joined the group on the podium, having competed in previous rounds of the mixed relay race. It marked the first World Cup medal for brother and sister duo Cedrik and Danae Blais.
"I am very proud of my two relays, especially the mixed relay," said Danae Blais, who was competing in only the second World Cup of her career. "It was super cool to be able to win that medal with my brother."
Charles Hamelin earned his first World Cup medal of the season, skating with Girard, Dubois and Dion in the men's relay. In an exciting race, the Canadians captured silver despite crossing the line third, as the Korean team was penalized for an arm push. Hamelin fell mid-way through the race but was able to continue skating en route to a time of 6:56.750. Charle Cournoyer joined the group on the podium.
Boutin, Charles and Danae Blais teamed up with Camille De Serres-Rainville to earn the women's relay team its second bronze medal of the season. The Canadians finished behind the Netherlands and Korea with a time of 4:12.193.
Boutin also earned a bronze medal for Canada in the women's 1,500 metres, her second podium finish of the weekend. The native of Sherbrooke, Que. posted a time of 2:28.476, finishing behind Min Jeong Choi of Korea and Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands.