'I was skating for my life': Canada's Steven Dubois wins 2nd short track medal in Beijing

Steven Dubois has picked up his second short track medal of the Beijing Olympics, earning bronze in the men's 500 metres on Sunday after making headlines in his Games debut with a silver-medal performance in Wednesday's 1,500.

Holds off Kazakhstan's Abzal Azhgaliyev for 500m bronze; women's relay team 4th

Canada's Steven Dubois celebrates his bronze-medal finish in the men's 500-metre short track final at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, on Sunday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Jamais deux sans trois — Never two without three.

Flashing bronze and silver medals in Beijing, Canadian speed skater Steven Dubois says it's time to go for short track gold in the men's 5,000-metre relay to complete his first Olympics.

"I feel I'm going to have to trust myself, I know I can go fast," the Terrebonne, Que., native told Radio-Canada's Roseline Filion. "I have the legs and showed that in the [1,500 metres] and the [500]. Now, it's just going fast for a long time."

Dubois and his relay teammates won their 5,000 semifinal in six minutes 38.752 seconds on Friday at Capital Indoor Stadium, qualifying third overall for Wednesday's medal race at 7:44 a.m. ET.

In Sunday's 500, Dubois crossed the line third in 40.669 seconds to hold off Kazakhstan's Abzal Azhgaliyev. Shaoang Liu won gold for Hungary, clocking 40.338 to defeat Russia Olympic Committee's Konstantin Ivliev (40.431) while . Jordan Pierre-Gilles of Sherbrooke, Que., fell without being impeded in the fourth and final quarter-final.

"I train the whole year and before that just for the 500 … my specialty," Dubois said. "I showed what I can do [on Sunday] and I'm just so happy."

"I knew I had to make a pass at the beginning of the race because it was going to go fast. I knew I have one of the best starts in the world, so I was waiting for a chance to maybe pass in the first lap. I knew [Ivliev] was fast also.

"When I got in the first turn it was just a mind game with me and [Azhgaliyev], [I] won that … and then I was skating for my life until the end and got the bronze medal," continued Dubois, who won World Cup silver in November for his first individual medal of the season. "From four laps to go [in the 4 ½-lap race] it's just a blur."

WATCH | Dubois takes bronze after being advanced to 500m final:

Canadian Dubois wins bronze in 500m short track

8 months ago
Duration 4:11
Steven Dubois added a bronze medal to his resume after taking silver in the 1,500m at Beijing 2022.

Canada remains the only country with more than one champion in the men's short track 500 since the event's 1994 Olympic debut in Lillehammer, Norway — Marc Gagnon (2002) and Charles Hamelin (2010).

Advanced to 500 final

The 24-year-old Dubois also made headlines on Wednesday when he took silver in the men's 1,500.

Dubois earned Canada's ninth bronze of these Games and 14th medal overall, joining long tracker Isabelle Weidemann and snowboarders Éliot Grondin and Meryeta O'Dine with two podiums apiece.

His path to bronze was aided by China's Ren Ziwei not getting through Sunday's quarter-finals after the 24-year-old had won gold in mixed relay and the men's 1,000. Dubois was advanced to the final after South Korea's Hwang Dae-heon, who beat the Canadian for gold in the 1,500, was penalized and eliminated in the semifinals for an illegal pass causing contact.

Hwang, the 2018 silver medallist in the 500, attempted to cut to the inside against Dubois on the final curve near the finish but his right hand touched his opponent's left hand.

Hwang was also disqualified in the 1,000 semifinals on Monday and South Korea officials subsequently filed a complaint with the International Skating Union and International Olympic Committee.

World and Olympic record holder Wu Dajing of China, the 2018 Winter Games champion, won Sunday's B final in 41.157 over ROC's Pavel Sitnikov (41.217).

We knew we had to give everything on the ice. I think we give everything we could.— Kim Boutin on Canada's 4th-place finish in the women's 3,000m relay

Elsewhere on Sunday, Canada's women's short track relay team was held off the medal podium for a second consecutive Olympics.

Kim Boutin, Courtney Sarault, Alyson Charles and Florence Brunelle placed fourth in four minutes 4.32 seconds in the 3,000-metre final behind bronze medallist China, which sat fourth behind the third-ranked Canadians entering the Olympic competition.

WATCH | Canada's relay women miss medal podium:

Canadian women miss podium in 3,000m short track relay

8 months ago
Duration 4:17
Kim Boutin, Courtney Sarault, Alyson Charles and Florence Brunelle fell from second to fourth after the final exchange at Beijing 2022.

"We knew we had to give everything on the ice," a teary Boutin told CBC Sports while kissing a dejected Sarault on the right side of her head. "We knew that it was a hard race. A good start.

7 podiums in Olympic women's relay

"Being part of that final was our goal for these Games. I think we give everything we could. There's a lot of [talented] athletes in that race."

Four years ago, the Canadian women were penalized and bumped from the podium in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where Boutin — who was not racing at the time — briefly crossed into the field of play and impeded the Chinese and South Korean teams after the 24th of 27 laps as they raced to cross the finish line.

Canada's lone gold medal in the event came 30 years ago in Albertville, France and was followed by six podiums, including four silver.

Boutin, the lone returnee on the Canadian relay squad from 2018, won her second straight Olympic bronze in the women's 500 earlier this week and appeared a lock to push for a medal in the 1,000 until she tumbled on the final curve in a routine quarter-final on Wednesday.

Sarault and Charles were also eliminated in the 1,000 quarter-finals, while Sarault, Boutin and Brunelle were members of Canada's mixed short track relay team left off the podium on Feb. 5 when it was penalized for a push from behind.

The Netherlands won gold on Sunday for the first time since the women's relay was added to the Olympic programme in Albertville, with Suzanne Schulting skating the final two laps and raising her arms in triumph after stopping the clock in an Olympic record 4:03.409 for her second gold and third medal in Beijing.

Schulting, who earned silver in the 500 and gold in the 1,000, was also part of the Dutch team that held the previous Games mark of 4:03.471 from Pyeongchang.

South Korea, aiming for a third consecutive gold, grabbed silver on Sunday in 4:03.627.

Italy won the B final with Arianna Fontana skating. Russia was penalized, as was the United States for a lane change causing an obstruction. On Monday, Fontana won the women's 500 for her record-extending 10th Winter Games medal.

WATCH | Full event replay: Men's and women's short track:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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