The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating rolls into Montréal this weekend - and Canada’s fans of the sport have a lot to look forward to.
Kim Boutin (CAN) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (USA) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Local girl Kim Boutin is in the form of her life. The 24-year-old secured six gold medals at the Canadian Nationals in September and obliterated the 500m World Record last weekend with the first Ladies’ sub 42-second skate at Salt Lake City’s Utah Olympic Oval.
The next step for Boutin is to try to skate her way to become the No.1 Ladies’ Short Track Speed Skating athlete – a tough ask, with the likes of Suzanne Schulting (NED) and Choi Min Jeong (KOR) on the circuit.
Boutin has already changed her training methods to try to achieve this dream. On home ice this weekend will be a great time to show that she means business.
Boutin also won the 1500m gold in Salt Lake City, ahead of ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Champion Schulting, and added Relay bronze – ably supported by her Canada team-mates Claudia Gagnon, Danae Blais and Alyson Charles.
Charles Hamelin (CAN) at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Canada’s Men will almost certainly be in contention this weekend, too. In Charles Hamelin they have a legendary racer who can still threaten podiums, while 22-year-old Steven Dubois looks like the country’s future.
Dubois, like Boutin, took six golds at the Canadian Short Track Speed Skating Championships, and should feel confident rolling that form into Montréal’s Maurice-Richard arena. He combined with Hamelin, Maxime Laoun, Cedrik Blais and Pascal Dion to win relay bronze in Salt Lake City.
Schulting and Hwang aim to continue reigns
Suzanne Schulting (NED) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (USA) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Suzanne Schulting may have been overshadowed slightly by Boutin last weekend but the Dutch athlete kept her seemingly impregnable grip on the 1000m, winning ahead of Han Yutong and Zhang Chutong of China – who were both impressive in their first races on the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating circuit.
Qu Chunyu (CHN) also impressed, with a silver in the 500m (2), suggesting that China’s Ladies may have a stronger season this year than last time around, while Choi is unlikely to be as low-key as she was in Salt Lake for long.
Hwang Dae Heon (KOR) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (USA) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Hwang Dae Heon remains the man to beat in the Men’s field heading into Montréal. The Republic of Korean won two golds in Salt Lake City. For the first, he beat a thoroughbred line-up in the 500m – Victor An (making an impressive comeback, although the Russian is not listed to skate in Montréal), Shaoang Lui of Hungary and Wu Dajing of China.
Hwang’s second gold was the 1000m, where he finished ahead of An, and his Korean compatriot Park Ji Won.
It’s tough to see who can truly rival Hwang this season – in Montréal or elsewhere. Semen Elistratov (RUS) was highly impressive winning the 1500m, ahead of Kim Dong Wook (KOR) and Alexander Shulginov (RUS), while Wu, who won the 500m (2) gold, and the Liu brothers, Shaoang and Shaolin Sandor, also showed moments of brilliance. But the Korean’s steely consistency looks ominous for his opponents.
Maurice-Richard arena set to shine
Maurice Richard Arena during the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating circuit didn’t visit Montréal last season – instead heading to Calgary – meaning that this is the venue’s first senior ISU Short Track Speed Skating event since it hosted the 2018 ISU World Championships.
That tournament, and the venue, will bring back happy memories for Choi, who won the 500m and 1500m, enough to secure her the Overall ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships title for the third time.
But Charles Hamelin got the biggest cheers that weekend: he triumphed in the 1500m and 1000m (Hwang won the 500m) – which was enough to give Canada its first Short Track Speed Skating World Champion since Marc Gagnon, two decades earlier, in 1998. The Quebecois supporters would love to see a repeat of such feats this weekend.
Where to watch and follow the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating 2019/20?
Viewers will be able to watch via their national broadcaster/channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. You will find the full list in the Where to watch news here.
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Highlights, clips, interviews, behind the scenes:
YouTube: ISU Skating
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For further information on ISU Short Track Speed Skating visit: https://www.isu.org/short-track.
ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Series events 2019/20: