This weekend we find ourselves back in Seoul, South Korea, for the short track speed skating world championships. Short track competitions are always a fan favourite with a lot of action, strategy and excitement.
Canada has a great history at this competition. Since 1976, Canadian men have won 12 titles and the women have won 10. Great names come to mind like Marc Gagnon, Sylvie Daigle and Nathalie Lambert.
The last Canadian male to win the title was Gagnon in 1998. Charles Hamelin, currently ranked fourth in the world, has had a wonderful season and would love to cap it off with a world championship title — something that has eluded him in his illustrious career. He feels confident and knows that the competition will be fierce, but the title is realistic.
For one, the reigning world champion, Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands, is still out with an injury. A second twist is that one of the top ranked skaters, Semen Elistratov from Russia, has been suspended due to his recently failed drug test. But the team from Korea is always strong and always a threat for the overall title.
On the women's side, Canada's Marianne St-Gelais hopes to end Korea and China's domination of the title; a Korean or Chinese skater has won the championships every year since 1995.
St-Gelais was 11th at last year's worlds but has confidence in how well she is currently skating. She has won 11 world cup medals this season, is second in world rankings, and has a goal of top 3 overall — ultimately with that title of world champion.
The Canadian team has a mixture of experience and youth, but will race with self-assurance in their pursuit of being called the best in the world.