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Canadian Boutin wins women's 500-metre short-track gold medal

Kim Boutin Kim Boutin - The Canadian Press

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Canada's Kim Boutin won gold in the women's 500-metre final Saturday at the ISU world short-track speedskating championships.

Boutin, of Sherbrooke, Que., posted a winning time of 42.626 seconds. Dutch skater Xandra Velzeboer, the defending champion, was second (42.833) ahead of American Kristen Santos-Griswold (42.929).

The gold medal was Boutin's first at a world championship, having finished second six times and third on seven other occasions.

"It took me 10 years of racing in World Cups before winning a gold medal at the world championships and I'm really happy to finally have done it," she said. "I told my coach last year that I was tired of my second-place finishes.

"I didn't expect to win at (the) world championships at all after taking time off this season. For me, this was a huge bonus. I am really happy about what I was able to accomplish here today and also for choosing myself throughout this process."

Jordan Pierre-Gilles, also of Sherbrooke, took third in the men's event in 52.289 seconds, ahead of fourth-place finisher Steven Dubois, of Laval, Que. (55.412). China's Lin Xiaojun was first in 41.592 second, with Denis Nikisha of Kazakhstan second in 41.676.

Both Canadians fell with two laps remaining in the race after losing an edge. But when Italy's Pietro Sighel, who was third at the time, also fell, it presented opportunity for Pierre-Gilles, the World Cup 500-metre leader, and Dubois.

"I'm happy with my result and my first medal at the world championships," Pierre-Gilles said. "It's bittersweet . . . I wanted gold.

"When you fall in a race, you don't expect a podium. Since I was young, my parents always taught me to race to the finish line. I got up right after I fell to finish the race, not thinking for a minute I would win a medal."

Courtney Sarault, of Moncton, N.B., was fifth in the women's 1,500-metre event.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2024.