Road To The Olympic Games

Boutin, Girard skate to silver medals at short track worlds

​Canadian Olympic speed skating medallists Kim Boutin and Sam Girard have returned to the podium at the short track world championships, each capturing silver medals in their respective 1,500-metre events on Saturday.

Canadian women's relay team qualifies for Sunday's 3,000m final in Bulgaria

Canada’s Kim Boutin, left, puts pressure on South Korea's Min Jeong Choi during the women’s 1,500-metre final at the world short track speed skating championships on Saturday. Boutin earned a silver medal after last year's bronze finish. (Ivo Paunov/Associated Press)

​Canadian Olympic speed skating medallists Kim Boutin and Sam Girard have returned to the podium at the short track world championships.

Boutin posted a time of two minutes 29.803 seconds over 1,500 metres on Saturday for a silver medal in Sofia, Bulgaria, while Girard also finished second on the men's side in 2:31.685. Each sits third in the overall classification after two distances.

Competing at her fourth worlds, the 24-year-old Boutin, from Sherbrooke, Que., improved upon her bronze-medal effort from last year and now has three medals in the 1,500 this season.

Boutin led the pack several times in Saturday's final but was passed by eventual gold medallist Min Jeong Choi of Korea in the final laps. Russia's Sofia Prosvirnova was third.

WATCH | Boutin skates to silver:

Canada's Kim Boutin finishes 2nd in the women's 1,500 metres final at the short track world championships. 4:01

"I am vice champion of the world in the 1,500 so that is definitely satisfying for me," Boutin told Speed Skating Canada. "It's the best world championships result of my career, so I am very happy. I made good choices during the race and worked hard right to the end."

Consistent

Boutin won three medals in her Olympic debut a year ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and was named Canada's flag-bearer for the closing ceremony.

She's been consistent after delaying the start of her 2018-19 season until December.

Boutin was second in her season debut on Dec. 8 in the 1,000 at Almaty, Kazakhstan before grabbing bronze the following day.

She opened February with silver in the 1,500 at Dresden, Germany. From there, Boutin won bronze in the women's 500 A final at the final short track World Cup event of the season in Turin, Italy, where she captured gold in the 1,000 the next day.

Meanwhile, Girard, the lanky 22-year-old native of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., has had mixed results this season after claiming Olympic gold in the 1,000 at Pyeongchang.

But he did win the men's 500 in Almaty and teamed with Charle Cournoyer, Charles Hamelin, and Pascal Dion to prevail in the men's 5,000 relay.

Girard catches break

The men's 1,500 on Saturday was halted at the halfway point of the first race after Girard was taken out by a Japanese competitor. He led the field with four laps remaining in the second start before two Koreans took over.

However, a penalty to June Seo Lee, who crossed the finish line first, vaulted Girard into second spot behind Hyo Jun Lim.

WATCH | Penalty leads to Girard silver medal:

Canada's Sam Girard finishes 2nd in the men's 1,500 metres final at the short track world championships. 6:53

"Being able to perform at the world championships and finish the year strong was really my objective," said Girard, who also won silver in the 1,500 at the 2017 worlds.

He added a strategy to set the pace at the start allowed the Canadian to "surprise my competitors a bit and be in good position to win a medal."

I'm really going to try and focus on my technique to give myself a chance at another podium.— Canada's Kim Boutin on  the women's 1,000-metre quarter-final on Sunday

Steven Dubois of Lachenaie, Que., placed fourth.

In the women's 3,000 relay, Kasandra Bradette, Camille de Serres-Rainville, Alyson Charles and Boutin qualified for Sunday's final, finishing second in their semifinal despite a fall in a time of 4:24.368. The Netherlands, Russia and Korea will provide the competition.

Also Sunday, Dubois, Hamelin and Boutin will compete in the 1,000 quarter-finals.

"The races here are taken to another level," Boutin said. "I'm really going to try and focus on my technique to give myself a chance at another podium."

The 3,000 super final will be comprised of the top eight athletes per gender over the 500, 1,000 and 1,500 distances.

Other Canadian results Saturday:

Kim Boutin: Fifth in 500 semifinal, ninth overall
Charles Hamelin: Third in the 500 quarter-final, 11th overall
Alyson Charles: Fourth in 500 quarter-final, 14th overall
Courtney Sarault: Fifth in 500 quarter-final, 19th overall
Steven Dubois: Penalized in 500 quarter-final, 19th overall

Canada won six medals at last year's worlds, including three gold by Charles Hamelin.

Live streaming coverage from Bulgaria continues Sunday at 8 a.m. ET at CBCSports.ca.

About the Author

Doug Harrison

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

Broadcast Partners

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.