Canada's Marianne St-Gelais added another gold medal to her already-decorated season with a World Cup short track win in Dordrecht, Netherlands, Saturday.
The St-Felicien, Que., skater handily won the 1,500 metres event in two minutes, 27.618 seconds, over a full second ahead of China's Yihan Guo, who finished second. Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands earned the bronze.
It marked the third straight gold for St-Gelais, who won the 500 and 1,000 a week ago in Dresden, Germany.
Sitting fifth with two laps remaining in Saturday's 1,500, she made her way to the front of the pack, joining China's Yihan Guo (silver) and Dutch skater Suzanne Schulting (Bronze) on the podium.
'I didn't have strong legs like I did last week, so I knew I was going to have to overtake quickly and cleanly. I put everything into it.' - Marianne St-Gelais on Saturday's victory in the women's 1,500 metres
"I changed my game plan during the race," St-Gelais told Speed Skating Canada. "Originally, I wanted to race from up front to be sure, not fall into any trap set by my opponents. But it ended up being a very slow race and when things started to go faster, I found myself in the back.
"I didn't have strong legs like I did last week, so I knew I was going to have to overtake quickly and cleanly. I put everything into it."
St-Gelais, who will turn 26 on Feb. 17, has earned 10 medals in 11 individual races this season.
Canadian Audrey Phaneuf also qualified for the 1,500m final, finishing sixth in 2:29.137. Valerie Maltais finished 12th overall, racing in the 'B' final.
Canada's Jamie MacDonald, 21, earned her first-ever medal at her fourth World Cup with a bronze in the women's 1,000. Elise Christie of Great Britain and Min-jeong Choi of South Korea finished 1-2.
"It's definitely a big plus getting my first-ever World Cup medal," MacDonald said. "It was a tough race with Elise and Min-jeong. They are so strong."
In the relay, Kasandra Bradette, Maltais, Phaneuf and St-Gelais were penalized after winning their semifinal heat and eliminated after they made contact with a Russian skater during an exchange.
Canadian men Charle Cournoyer and Patrick Duffy narrowly missed the podium in the 1,500 and 1,000, respectively, placing fourth.
Cournoyer was the top Canadian in his event, as Sasha Fathoullin was fourth and Francois Hamelin came in eighth following a fall prior to the final lap.
Vladislav Bykanov of Israel won the race, with South Korea's Yoon-Gy Kwak and Jung-Su Lee rounding out the podium.
In the 1,000, South Korea's Joon Chun Kim overtook Duffy during the last lap to quash his medal hopes.
"It was a near-perfect race until that point," said Duffy. "What was missing in the last two or three laps was a little bit of legs. It was hard to stop that Korean train when it started rolling."
Cournoyer and Duffy teamed with Fathouillin and Hamelin in the relay, winning their semifinal heat to earn a spot in Sunday's final.
Also Sunday, the repechage heats and final rounds for the second 1,000 and 500 will be contested along with the relay finals.
Other Canadian results:
- Namasthee Harris-Gauthier: 5th semifinals and eliminated (Final ranking: 9th)
- Kasandra Bradette: Yellow card in the quarter-finals and eliminated (Final ranking: 36th)
- Cedrik Blais: 4th in the A final (Final ranking: 4th)