Canada's Félix Roussel earns short track bronze for 1st individual distance medal
Félix Roussel, who earned his first international speed skating medal in an individual distance on Saturday, continues to learn valuable lessons in his rookie season on the World Cup circuit.
Positioned at the back of the five-skater field in the men's 1,000-metre final in Dresden, Germany, he took advantage of a collision involving Korea's Tae Sung Kim and Japan's Shogo Miyata that took them out of contention with two laps remaining.
The 21-year-old Roussel moved into third spot and crossed the finish line in one minute 25.016 seconds for bronze behind Latvia's Roberts Kruzbergs (1:23.330) and Korea's Ji Won Park (1:23.231).
"My race was not perfect, not exactly how I wanted it to be. I think I mismanaged the start of the race a bit," Roussel, a native of Sherbrooke, Que., told Speed Skating Canada after his fifth race. "What I do remember the most today are the quarterfinals and the semifinals where I raced really well.
"I'm still really proud to have won a medal. I didn't exactly win the way I wanted to win, but I think it was a reward for the rounds before the final."
WATCH | Roussel clocks 1 minute 25.016 seconds in Germany:
Roussel's teammate, Courtney Sarault, also reached the medal podium, grabbing bronze in the women's 1,500.
Meanwhile, Roussel surpassed his career-best finish of seventh on the World Cup in the 1,500 two months ago in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
"I didn't think I would have this level of success internationally so quickly," he said. "When I think back to my first two World Cups, it was really more about gaining experience for me. My objectives evolved more and more when I managed to make top 10s and A Finals.
"This whole year has been surprise after surprise. I feel like I am impressing myself at each competition."
Besides Sarault, Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke and Claudia Gagnon of La Baie, Que., were also in medal contention in the 1,500.
Sarault (2:26.591) jostled for position throughout much of the race, eventually holding off Boutin around the final straight and corner to claim bronze behind Kristen Santos-Griswold (2:26.570) of the United States and South Korea's Choi Minjeong (2:26.536).
WATCH | Saturday bronze is Sarault's 3rd medal podium of season:
It was Sarault's third medal in the distance this season, having previously won silver and gold during the two World Cup stops in Kazakhstan.
"It feels really good [to medal today]," said Sarault of her third podium finish of the season in the distance. "I didn't race my best race, but I'm happy with how I managed it. Definitely feel ready to challenge again in the Netherlands [next week in Dordrecht]."
Boutin was fourth (2:26.802) and Gagnon sixth (2:27.762) to match a career best in the 1,500.
In mixed relay, Canada's squad of Rikki Doak, Pascal Dion, Maxime Laoun and Sarault placed fourth behind Italy, Korea and the Netherlands.
However, Canada's relay teams in the men's 5,000 and women's 3,000 won their respective semifinals and qualified for Sunday's A final.
Medals will also be awarded in the men's and women's 1,500(2) and 500.
Other Canadian results from Saturday:
Women's 1,000 metres
Renée Steenge, 7th
Danaé Blais, 9th
Rikki Doak, 18th
William Dandjinou, 13th
Pascal Dion, 16th
Mathieu Pelletier, 27th
Maxime Laoun: 7th
Steven Dubois: 19th