Québec Short Track speed skaters dominated all races held to conclude their sport competition at the Halifax 2011 Canada Winter Games. Skaters from La Belle Province swept the podiums of both the men and women’s Super 1500m events, before capturing the two relay gold medals up for grabs.
The first final of the day was the women’s 1500m, featuring four skaters from Québec (Cynthia Mascitto, Ann-Véronique Michaud, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier and Élizabeth Albert) as well as two from British Columbia, Courtney Shmyr and Jesse Keca. Skaters spent the first few laps fighting for positions and with seven laps to go, Shmyr was leading the race, followed by Michaud and Harris-Gauthier. Michaud went in first place with a beautiful inside pass four laps before the end of the race. Mascitto then completed a long outside pass to get to the front, but Michaud claimed back the lead and the win in the last lap, crossing the finish first in a time of 2:31.149. Mascitto took silver in 2:31.292 and Harris-Gauthier won the bronze medal (2:31.561). Élizabeth Albert (2:31.777), Courtney Shmyr (2:31.970) and Jesse Keca (2:36.568) followed in that order.
Encouraged by their teammates, Maxime Gauthier, Alexandre St-Jean, Yoan Gauthier and Benoît Thériault lined up for their own final moments later, along with New Brunswick representatives Evan Brideau and Andrew Evans. Maxime Gauthier did not waste any time and he sprinted off the start line and tried to create a gap with the pack. Brideau and Evans made sure he couldn’t lap the pack by giving it a fast pace too, but with nine laps to go, as Gauthier was leading by a half lap, Yoan Gauthier went to the front of the pack, followed by Thériault. Maxime Gauthier started tiring and the pack was slowly catching up, but he was able to hold on to his lead to win the race in 2:17.183. Meanwhile, Alexandre St-Jean made his way to second place with a powerful outside pass in the last lap, and he captured the silver medal with a time of 2:18.369. Yoan Gauthier was able to secure his third place (2:18.463), while Benoît Thériault (2:19.110) finished fourth, followed by Evan Brideau (2:19.336) and Andrew Evans (2:25.977).
In the relay, Team Québec took the lead of the women’s race after nine laps, and they flew to the finish in 4:32.466. British Columbia captured the silver medal with a time of 4:34.517 and Team Ontario skated to bronze in 4:43.612. In the men’s final it was a similar scenario, with Team Quebec leading 26 of the 27 laps of the race and winning gold in 4:18.311. Team Ontario fought hard to remain second (4:19.632) as New Brunswick was trying to pass them, but it was too little to late, and New Brunswick had to settle for the bronze medal (4:21.438). Alberta finished fourth in 4:26.330.
Overall in the competition, Team Quebec captured 21 of the 30 medals up for grabs, including nine gold. British Columbia was the only other province to win a gold medal, and they are also taking home one silver and one bronze. New Brunswick had an impressive showing with one silver and three bronze medals, and Ontario was able to take one silver and one bronze.