Final Day at the Canada Winter Games Oval

With this being the final day of competiton at the Canada Games Oval, the athletes continued to impress the crowds with their speed and sheer determination. The conditions today were not idea with winds gusting to 55kph and windchill values of -25.

First up were the semi finals in the 100m sprints. Each and every skater pushed the envelope to try and advance to the final medal round. There were some new faces this time on the podium as Heather McLean MB captured the gold in the distance with a time of 11.33. For her second podium appearance Isabel Dilger took the silver while Kate Hanly took home the Bronze. Due to the conditions, no Canada Games records were  broken in this distance.

In the men’s 100,  Laurent Dubreuil Que, who previously broke the Canada Games record in the time trials, reached the top of the podium one more time proving that he was the skater to beat at these Games in the sprints.  An extremely happy Hewson Elliott from Manitoba earned the silver medal with an impressive time of 10.30. Earning his second medal of these Games was  Benjamin Tam of Alberta.  He finishes these Games with 2 broze medals.

On an exciting note, Alex Peppard of New Brunswick finished 10th with a time of 10.83 and while Evan Tara of Nova Scotia slipped in his race, he finished a very respectable 12th.  

 As the temperature started to rise a little and the winds calmed somewhat, the women’s team pursuit proved to be excellent racing for the fans.  Relying on a sound strategy and great team work, the skaters from B.C took home the gold.  Coach Nancy Goplen was extremely happy with her athletes’ results given the fact that two out of the four girls only train short track. In second was the team from Quebec followed by Team Alberta.  A new Canada Games Record was set at 3:36.62. The previous record was 3:47.11

The men’s team pursuit, proved equally as exciting as once again the skaters from Quebec smashed the previous Games record with a time of 4:23.65. The old record set in Whitehorse was 4:31.09. The fans watched in anticipation as to who would win the silver and bronze. Earning their first medal of these Games, Saskatchewan just edged out Manitoba for the silver with a time of 4:30.56. Manitoba’s time was 4:32.30 earning them a bronze medal.

As the last medal was handed out and the media wound down their interviews, there was a common feeling among the crowd. With 97 results skated under previous Games records, these were exeptional Games with great fans, good weather and last but not least, superb facitilies. Thank you Halifax!

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Fast Ice Continues to be the Story at Canada Games Oval

It is starting to sound like a broken record (no pun intended!) but the Canada Games Oval had another outstanding day.

An executive decision was made to switch the order of the skaters due to the forcasted rain. Normally at an event such as the Games, the events run slowest skaters to the fastest. Not this time though as 3 time medalist Antoine Gelias-Beaulieu (Quebec) set the bar high after going out and breaking another Canada Games record in the men’s 5000m.  Antoine skated an impressive 7:09.62 smashing the old record which was 7:39.34. Earning the silver was team mate Francois Dery Que. with a time of 7:15.56.

Connor McConvey Ont, a member of the Men’s Canadian Junior team that will be going to Finland next week, stepped onto the podium for the first time these Games by earning the bronze medal. His time was 7:28.50.

With the temperature hovering around 1c, with little or no wind, most skaters skated personal bests.  Noah Furgeson-Losier of Nova Scotia was nothing but smiles when he came off the ice. The Nova Scotia coaches are extremely proud of their athletes accomplishments this week and so they should be!

And did the rain hold off? Yes it did! Thank you Nova Scotia for giving the skaters great conditions to race in.

Later in the day, the ladies took to the ice to skate their longest and most challenging race.  The 3000m is seven and a half laps of the track and keeping constistant lap times is the key to success.

Victoria (Tori) Spence B.C. earned the gold, her third medal of these Games, by skating an impressive record breaking time of 4:46.70.  The old record was set in Campbellton in 2003 and was 5:05.01.

The women skated exceptionally well and the crowd was kept in suspense waiting to see whose names would appear on the leader board. Tori set the bar while the others fought it out for the silver and bronze. The names kept changing making the racing very exciting to watch.

When it was all said and done, the silver medal went to Lea Thibault Que. Lea is the first female skater from Quebec to reach the podium. She skated a time of 4:54.72.

 Coming in third, with a time of 4:55.01, was none other than Josie Spence from B.C. Josie is Victoria’s younger sister. It was an emotional moment when both girls took to the podium to receive their medals.

 The conditions today were once again near perfect as the temperature was significantly warmer with little if no wind.

The racing concludes on Wednesday with the semi-finals and finals in the 100m. as well as the Team Pursuit.

Records Continue To Fall at the Canada Games Oval

Another extremely successful start to the day at the Canada Winter Games Oval.  The women were the first up having to skate the first of two 500m in what was described as a very chilly morning.  The winds were much stronger than the previous day but the athletes rose to the occasion by setting a new record in the event.

With her first attempt at the distance, Jennessa Kemp (Alberta) broke the Canada Games record with a time of 43.01.  The old record set in 2003 was 44.69.  Eight skaters in the race skated under the Canada Games record time.

The second 500m race saw a repeat winner as Jennessa Kemp broke her previous time by skating 42.09 establishing a new Canada Games record. This time around, eleven skaters skated under the 500 time set in 2003. The combined results of the two 500 m races resulted in Jenenessa winning the gold with fellow team mates Isabel Dilger (Alberta) and Kate Hanly (Alberta) taking the silver and bronze.

The winds combined with a -9c temperature produced a cool -16 windchill.  That didn’t stop the men from conquering the 1500m by setting another Canada Games record.

With the old record of 2:02.23, Antoine Gelineas-Beaulieu (Quebec) skated  a very impressive time of 1:59.03.  After winning the gold yesterday in the men’s 3000m as well as a silver in the 500m, he has now established the time to beat for the next up and coming athletes that will participate in future Canada Winter Games.

His team mates Laurent Dubreuil (Quebec) and Francois Dery (Quebec) stood alongside him on the podium with silver and bronze medals. 

The men’s team from Quebec lead the medal count as Laurent and Antoine each have three medals at these Games while Francois has earned two. They are the skaters to watch in the next couple of days as they still have the 5000, 100 and team pursuit to complete.

With the temperatures slowly starting to climb, the men took to the ice to race the very fast 100m sprint.

Given all the records that have already been broken at this oval, the 100 proved to be no exception. Some new players in the medal hunt have emerged as the fans thoroughly enjoyed the power that these young up and comers could produce.

Finishing first in what will be his first of three 100m attempts was Laurent Dubreuil with a time of 10.02.  The record which was set in Whitehorse in 2007 was 10.03. 

Second spot is currently held by Elliott Hewson from Manitoba with a time of 10.25. He had a superb race powering through to the finish.  Asked how it was, he said “better now that it’s over!”. Elliott false started but still managed to stay calm and finish his pair with the fastest time.

The surprise of the event is Evan Taras from Nova Scotia.  He skated an excellent time of 10.62 and is currently tied for 9th spot.  The fans at the oval screamed and yelled as they truly appreciated the effort that he put in to this very tough distance.

The next round of the 100m continues on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 with the semi-finals beginning at 10:15 followed by the gold medal final at 11:45.

The final event of the day was the Women’s 1500m. Despite the cold and wind that was felt throughout the day, it did manage to get a little less windy and a just little warmer.

The girls all skated exceptional times and just like Saturday and  Sunday morning a new Canada Games record was set.  Being the last distance of the day, team mates flocked to the sidelines to cheer on the athletes.

The Alberta girls which have proven to be very strong at these Games once again found their way to the top of the podium.  Finishing first with a time of 2:15.35, Jennessa Kemp earned her second gold of the day.  Her time was more than good enough to break the old Games record which was 2:24.70.

Team mate Kate Hanly earned the silver with a time of 2:18.10. Finishing with a time of 2:18.56 Tori Spence (B.C) won her second bronze medal of these Games.

Tomorrows’ events will see the longest distances being raced. The men take on the 5000m while the women do the 3000m.  One thing is for sure, the ice is fast and if the weather holds, we could see more records fall.

Fast Ice at CWG Oval

Records fell left, right and center today as the Oval was tested for the first time at these Games. As many as 16 skaters broke combined CWG records in the Men’s 500m, Ladies 1000 and the Men’s 3000!  Interviewed athletes are extremely pleased with the artificial ice surface.  The general consensus is that it is very fast.

A very exciting day to start the events at the Oval. The men skated the 500m race twice and each time 5 skaters broke the Canada Games record.  Set in Whitehorse with a time of 39.98, the new final and official record was broken by Laurent Dubreuil Que. with a time of 37.17.! The silver went to his team mate Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu. This was an exceptional race for Antoine as he is better known for being a long distance skater.  Both Dubreuil and Gelinas-Beaulieu competed in the Junior Worlds last season. Benjamin Tam from Alberta took the bronze. 

Continuing the men’s record breaking streak, the women today took the opportunity to smash another Game’s record. Kate Hanly from Alberta took the gold with a time of 1:23.98.  Fellow team mate Jennessa Kemp finished second with a time of 1:25.35 and the bronze went to BC’s flag barer Victoria Spence (Tori). The Canada Games record set in 2003 was broken 5 times today.  The old record was 1:28.83.

The first round of the women’s 100m ran as well today and while no records were set, 2011 Junior World team member Alexandra Ianculescu (Ontario) feels that she can go much faster. She missed the podium in the 1000 but is hungry to skate the 1500 tomorrow and continue with the next round of the 100.  Alexandra finished second today in the women’s preliminary round with a time of 11.30.