A careful pass by Charle Cournoyer preserved Canada’s one-two finish in the men’s 1,000 metres Sunday in World Cup short-track speed skating.
When you duel a teammate for the lead in a sport known for its collisions and yard-sale crashes, the worst-case scenario is you and your fellow Canadian both go flying into the protective padding.
With two laps to go, Cournoyer squeezed by Samuel Girard without incident at the Olympic Oval in Calgary for gold and silver, respectively.
Cournoyer, a 25-year-old from Boucherville, Que., and 20-year-old Girard from Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., high-fived each other when they crossed the finish line.
“We try not to put the other one in trouble,” Cournoyer said. “I try to be as clean as possible on him.
“For sure, it’s tricky. But with Sam, with two or three laps left I thought ‘If I can do the pass, I’ll do it. If I can’t, I’ll just stay behind Sam and block [for] him.’ In the end, it’s two Canadian medals. It’s extremely good.”
Their double-medal performance was the highlight of a mixed World Cup season opener for the host Canadian team.
Their objective coming into Calgary was at least eight medals in eight individual races. They leave with five – two gold and three silver.
“We set the bar high. We put it out there and say, ‘This is what we want to win’ and sometimes we get there and sometimes we don’t,” Canadian men’s coach Derrick Campbell said.
“As long as we’ve got that bar high and we’re close, we’re good with that.”
Jamie MacDonald of Fort St. James, Que., earned silver in the women’s 500 metres Sunday.
Girard was a double medalist in Calgary after a gold in Saturday’s 500 metres. Marianne St.-Gelais of Saint-Félicien took silver in the women’s 500 Saturday.
It was a forgettable weekend for triple Olympic gold medalist Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que. He crashed out of his 500 and 1,000 metres and also went down in the final of the men’s relay Sunday.
The 32-year-old said he was pushed by a Hungarian competitor in the relay, but officials did not change the final result of Hungary first, the Netherlands second and South Korea third.
“It was a difficult weekend. I fell in every single distance I competed in,” Hamelin said. “When you put your hand on the back on anyone in front of you and you make them fall, it should have been a [penalty].”
Valérie Maltais of Saguenay Que., also fell in her leg of the women’s relay final, so the Canadian women did reach the podium.
Triple Olympic silver medalist St.-Gelais pulled up in her 1,000-metre semi-final after qualifying second in her earlier quarter-final.
The 26-year-old said she felt a recurrence of dizziness that she’d experienced prior to her arrival in Calgary. St.-Gelais insisted it wasn’t because of a concussion.
“Before the quarter-final I was feeling a little bit dizzy. I had a couple of episodes in Montreal,” St.-Gelais said. “We don’t know what it is. I was feeling dizzy, really weak. I wasn’t feeling my legs any more.
“If my body doesn’t want to go to war, I have to listen to it.”
MacDonald trained at the Oval in Calgary for four years before moving to the short-track national training centre in Montreal this summer.
The 21-year-old won her first World Cup medal, a 1,000-metre bronze, in last season’s finale.
“It is only my second medal on the World Cup circuit,” MacDonald said. “I feel like I left off really well last year and I’m starting off on the same foot.”Report Typo/Error