Speed skating: a first medal appreciated for Félix Roussel at the World Cup
MISE & Agrave; DAY
Third to cross the finish line, Félix Roussel did not display the smile that one can imagine in an athlete who has just won the first individual medal of his career in the World Cup. The short track speed skater benefited from a fall from his opponents on Saturday to sneak onto the 1000m podium in Dresden, Germany.
“This n is not really a fairy tale!” reported the Sherbrookois to Sportcom.
The indifference only lasted a few minutes, then it gave way to satisfaction. Although it was acquired following an incident that turned to his advantage, the bronze medal rewarded the rookie of the Canadian team for his whole day.
“It's not necessarily how I wanted to win it, but I was solid in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals. I impressed myself in every race and I knew that I deserved my place in the top 5”, admitted Roussel.
His coach, Marc Gagnon, had advised him to impose his rhythm quickly during the final. The Quebecer lacked aggressiveness at the start, but, in the end, he did not need any overtaking to claim third place. Japan's Miyata Shogo and South Korea's Kim Tae Sung collided just ahead of him, unrolling the mat to the podium for him.
“The intention was good, but my execution was not not assumed. If I had been able to take the lead, I would have been able to protect my place. Racing from the front, it suits me a little better,” shared the bronze medalist.
South Korean Park Ji Won won gold ahead of Latvian Roberts Kruzbergs. Maxime Laoun finished second in the B final to take 7th place in the 1000m, while Steven Dubois, stopped in the quarter-finals, finished 19th.
In the 1500m, William Dandjinou was the best Canadian by being the only one to reach the B final. He is in 13th place in the final standings. As for Pascal Dion and Mathieu Pelletier, they finished 16th and 27th.
In his place
“My progress? I don't know how to describe it!” replied Félix Roussel before developing his thoughts.
“I am proud and very impressed. I can't believe how quickly everything happened. I wasn't ranked on any national team, I was training with the girls and just trying to prove to the world that I was good.”
The 21-year-old skater's results keep going up improve this season. When he first skated at the World Cup in Montreal in October, he just wanted to take advantage of the experience.
Félix Roussel says he feels more confident since the stages in Kazakhstan. He feels like he belongs. The simple fact of being present in the World Cup no longer meets his expectations. Its approach has changed before the races and it will continue to evolve by the end of the calendar.
“I couldn't even say what next week's Felix will be able to do. I'm learning so much and I have a lot to practice. I find myself in a period where I absorb everything and I look at where it can lead me afterwards.”
Kim Boutin at the foot of the podium
Three Canadians took part in the A final of the 1500m in Dresden, namely Kim Boutin, Claudia Gagnon and Courtney Sarault.
The skaters exchanged heads at the start of the race. Sarault slightly lost her footing with two laps to go, but she still managed to pass Kim Boutin on the next corner to take third place.
The New Brunswicker maintained her rank to the finish line. Kim Boutin arrived at the foot of the podium and Claudia Gagnon finished sixth.
For his part, Danaé Blais took part in the B final of the 1000m on Saturday. She was the fourth skater to cross the finish line and she placed 9th.
In the mixed relay, Maxime Laoun and Pascal Dion teamed up with Boutin and Sarault. A fall by Laoun in the A final led the quartet to fourth place. The Canadian squad had more success in the men's and women's relays, both advancing to the A finals, scheduled for Sunday. 500m and 1500m races are also on the schedule.