Canada's relay team takes short-track speedskating gold at World Cup

SHANGHAI — The Canadian women's short-track relay team ended a five-year gold-medal drought Sunday by winning the relay race at the ISU speedskating World Cup.

Steven Dubois and Kim Boutin added to the Canadian medal haul on the final day of the weekend competition with bronze medals in the men's 500 and women's 1,000 respectively.

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Alyson Charles of Montreal, Courtney Sarault of Moncton, N.B., Danae Blais of Chateauguay, Que., Boutin of Sherbrooke, Que., helped Canada finish the race in four minutes 9.460 seconds to capture gold in the women's relay for the first time since the 2014-2015 season. It was the fourth medal of the season for the team, who won three consecutive bronze before Sunday.

"The relay went very well," said Charles. "Before the race we had one simple objective — to give it our all on the ice. Last week in Japan we won bronze and I think each of us was able to really surpass ourselves and improve the points we needed to in order to bring home the gold this weekend."

Canada was in the lead for much of the race, jockeying for position with eventual silver medallist the Netherlands (4:09.810) for only a few laps prior to the last exchange. The United States (4:13.280) were upgraded from fourth to bronze after Korea was disqualified.

Boutin won her first bronze medal of the season in the 1,000, completing the race in 1:29.218, behind Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands (1:29.089) and Whi Min Seo of Korea (1:29.114).

Boutin has earned a medal in all eight of her individual distance this season — six gold, one silver and one bronze — and is currently ranked first in the 500, fourth in the 1,000 and fifth in the 1,500.

" (The 1,000) was difficult. I lost a lot of energy making my outside pass at the start of the race," Boutin said. "But I'm happy with how I raced while in third place. I really prevented the Chinese skaters from passing me.

"And for the relay, I keep saying that each race we are getting better and better. This one was an incredible race. We were solid, and we wanted to win it."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2019.

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