Courtney Sarault regains her confidence

Courtney Sarault regains her confidence

Unsurprisingly, Kim Boutin and Courtney Sarault dominated the short track skating stages at Place Bell that ended on Sunday, but most importantly they showed that they have made huge strides since the World Championships in Montreal in late October and are ready to attack last leg of the season.

Sarault was particularly dominant with four wins in six races. Boutin won both 500m races and finished second four times.

Since the events of the Olympics where the women’s relay botched the last rally to be pushed off the podium, Sarault has had a rough time.

After a post-game hiatus in training where man came before athlete, the Moncton skater wasn’t at her best at the World Championships in Montreal, but she got through this difficult period.

“When you’re going through tough times, you get stronger when you manage to get out of it,” Sarault said. The turning point of my season came in Salt Lake City when I had a good race and realized I could compete with the best. I won a medal at the next World Championships in Kazakhstan. Since that podium, I believe in myself and have changed my attitude. I am myself and am constantly improving. »

“I’m back to the level of Courtney of 2021 who won the runner-up and champion titles, but I’m a better version to continue Sarault. For me, the mental aspect accounts for 50 percent of my success. When I’m in good shape, I run well. I’m very proud of my performance this weekend. »

Healthy rivalry

The comeback is also a good thing for Boutin.

“We both push each other a lot and it’s very healthy,” said the three-time PyeongChang 2018 medalist with her prettiest smile. Courtney is one of the best in the world over 1500m and 1000m. In my case the long-term motivation is not obvious and this internal competition is very good. I’ve noticed this year that I have to keep working hard to stay at the top level and that’s the part I’m most excited about. I can’t just show up at the right time. »

Women’s team unchanged

Boutin did not have the desired start to the season.

“My performances in Kazakhstan gave me peace of mind because it’s difficult to reach the B final when you’re successful. The goal this weekend was to do well in the 1500m to have a chance to compete in this race in the World Cup. I was sixth before the trials, so I couldn’t do 1500m in the first four World Cups. I don’t want to forget the distance. »

The second selection will not have changed anything in the picture of the women’s World Cup team. Behind the two leaders, Sarault and Boutin, we find Renée Steenge, Rikki Doak, Claudia Gagnon and Danaé Blais.

The top 5 World Cup stations in Dresden and Dordrech in February secure their tickets for the World Championships in Seoul from 10th to 19th March
until March 12th.

For men, the portrait will be slightly different. Three-win author William Dandjinou had a thunderous selection to finish first and qualify for the World Championships, something he failed to do in the autumn. Followed by Maxime Laoun, Pascal Dion and Félix Roussel. Steeve Dubois is ill and will get a pass given his performance in the first half of the season and in the first selection.

The last position goes to Jordan Pierre-Gilles, if his health allows (see other text) or to Mathieu Pelletier, who is prequalified for the Junior World Championship.

retirement for Alyson Charles

It’s time for retirement for Alyson Charles.

Her absence during this weekend’s selection at Laval suggested she wanted at least a break, but the main prospect confirmed her decision was final.

“I quit completely,” said Charles, who is 24 years old. Skating is over and I’m retiring. In the year after the Olympics, motivation is lower. When I went into the arena, the flame was lower and the motivation was gone. By fall I knew I needed a break. Whether it was the end or just a break remained to be seen. »

open door

Charles left the door open to a possible return, but the first few weeks of autumn confirmed his decision.

“I left the door open and told myself that maybe seeing my team-mates compete might bring the motivation back,” she said. I continued to train on my own, but without having a comeback plan in mind. If I wanted to come back, I would have had to return to Laval during selection. »

turn the page

Charles quickly realized it was time to turn his athletic career around.

“When the World Championships started in October, I wasn’t at all tempted to compete,” she explained. It confirmed that my time was up and the time had come to move on. My decision to quit was very simple. »

Did her participation in the Beijing Olympics influence her decision?

“Participating in the Olympics has been a big goal since I was very young and I achieved it, she agreed, but in my heart I also had other goals. I also wanted to win an Olympic medal, but I didn’t want to go on for four years to be successful. I didn’t want to stay for the wrong reasons. »

In Beijing, the Canadian squadron that Charles was part of finished fourth after a difficult final stint that knocked them off the podium.

full-time study

Charles has been a finance major at McGill University since September and is a full-time student.

“I have always combined both and it was no problem to continue to do so. It requires discipline and prolongs your completion, but I’m not in a race to finish as soon as possible. I just wanted to move on to something different. »

Crazy Friday the 13th for Jordan Pierre-Gilles

The Quebecer was injured in a collision while first in his wave

Jordan Pierre-Gilles injured his right ankle on 14 October and then again on Friday, forcing him to withdraw from the selection.

Photo Didier Debusschere

Jordan Pierre-Gilles injured his right ankle on 14 October and then again on Friday, forcing him to withdraw from the selection.

Jordan Pierre-Gilles wants to take the necessary time to treat his right ankle, even if it could mean missing the next stage or two of the World Cup.

Pierre-Gilles was involved in a collision in the first 1000m of his qualifying run on Friday and saw his blade stab in the ice before walking onto the mats.

Even though the definitive diagnosis won’t be known until the next few days, when he meets the Canadian team doctor on his return to the National Center at Maurice Richard Arena, the Sherbrooke skater is aware that a period of rest will require his ankle completely heal.

“Since my first injury in Quebec in October during the early attempts, my ankle has become more fragile,” he said. It will be important to give me time to come back one hundred percent. It’s the first year of the Olympic cycle and I have to make sure it doesn’t become a chronic injury. Rehabilitation will be important. »

Not fully recovered

With hindsight, Pierre-Gilles has to admit that he wasn’t recovering as well as he said when he returned to the World Cup in Montreal at the end of October.

“I told you I was 85 or 90 percent recovered, but it was more than 80,” he said. It was less painful, but the pain came back. I saw that my right ankle was not like the left one. It’s not a concern because I have the time and I’m well surrounded by the medical team. »

As the rules provide, Pierre-Gilles will request an exception.

“The team is going to the next World Cup in two weeks and it’s clear that I want to go there, but the question is whether I can go there,” he concluded. The focus is on my rehabilitation and taking part in the World Championships in Seoul in mid-March. When I come back I want to be able to fight for medals. »

Pierre-Gilles, author of his first career individual podium at the World Cup in Kazakhstan in December, is happy with his first half
the season.

“I’m happy with my bronze medal in the 1000m and our three gold medals in the relay, but I want to keep making progress in both the individual and team events. My goal for the end of the season is to consolidate my place in the top 5 and on the podium. »

hectic day

Friday the 13th was not easy for Pierre-Gilles. Only in a qualifying run was he unable to avoid a boulder picker who had ventured onto the track at the wrong time.

The skater following him rammed him and his blade caught the face of the third skater who was directly behind him. The unfortunate had to be taken to the hospital. The competition was suspended for 50 minutes.

After surgery, Justin Bessette was back at Place Bell on Saturday to watch the second day of testing.

“It was a typical Friday the 13th,” concluded Pierre-Gilles.