Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke won the bronze medal in the Pyeongchang Olympics Short Track Speed Skating 500m final. For her part, Marianne St-Gelais was disqualified in the quarters for a false start.
Short track speed skater Kim Boutin took full advantage of her second and third chances, while Marianne St-Gelais did not even have the opportunity to complete a single bend on Tuesday at the PyeongChang Olympics.
Boutin was advanced in the final by the judges under a penalty against China’s Chunyu Qu, then reached the third step of the 500m event when South Korea’s Minjeong Choi was disqualified.
“I was really moved before the race. I saw the crowd, my eyes were full of water, said Boutin, who took a six-month break during the 2015-2016 season to treat a back injury and work on his mental preparation. I thought it was not the time. It gave me the ‘go’, to tell me to go have fun.
“I am really happy. I had a great start, which is my trademark. After, I do not really remember the race, but a lot of things happened. I’m really happy with what I did. There has been a lot of work and I am very proud. ”
Italy’s Arianna Fontana, a bronze medalist in Vancouver in 2010 and a silver medalist in Sochi in 2014, came up on the top of the podium in 42.569 seconds. She was ahead of the Dutchwoman Yara van Kerkhof (43.246).
Boutin completed the test in 43.881 seconds. She won the first Canadian Short Track Games medal.
At the age of 23, Boutin was almost finished in the semi-finals.
“They did not let me go! But there, in the semifinals, my job was done, said the skater from Sherbrooke. These are my first Games and I am learning a lot running against these girls. It’s a lot of experience in a short time. It was one more round and one more round. It’s just a bonus. ”
Posted in the fifth position at the start of the final, Boutin was able to climb to second place in the first corner. She then pushed Choi’s attacks twice, before sliding to the back of the pack after an aggressive maneuver by the local favorite and Briton Elise Christie. The latter however dropped, allowing Boutin to cross the finish in the fourth position.
In the front, Fontana has preceded Choi at the photo-finish. After long minutes, the judges then disqualified Choi, likely for his second away attack on Boutin, according to coach Claude Blackburn, the Canadian women’s short track skating team.
“I was waiting for the decision. I saw the referees talking, “said Blackburn, himself a two-time Olympic medalist at the Albertville Games in 1992.” When I saw that, I broke out!
“At first, Kim impressed me. Go from fifth to second, we have rarely seen that. I’m having fun calling it “Kimi Gonzales” like the Speedy Gonzales Mouse!”
Unexplainable decision against St-Gelais
This medal was a balm for the Canadian team. Marianne St-Gelais, who is in her last Olympics, was disqualified in the quarter-finals for embarrassing Yara van Kerkhof in the first corner. The Saint-Félicien skater won the silver medal at this distance in Vancouver and at the last two World Championships.
“It’s normal to be aggressive at first, to take his place on the 500,” said St-Gelais, who was still wet eyes a few moments after the race. This is not the first time someone has fallen or has been brewing a bit, but this is the first time the fault is called. I spoke to Fred [Blackburn] before coming here and that’s incomprehensible. We do not understand.
“It’s like that, it’s life. Even if we look at the images or if we try to shoot the scene 14,000 times, the result will not change. We move on and there will be something else.”
St-Gelais, however, had found her usual smile at the end of the evening thanks to the success of her teammate. She made a long hug to Boutin near the ramp immediately after the announcement of the penalty against Choi.
“A chance Marianne was here. She said to me, ‘You stay here.’ She knew something was going on, said Boutin. Marianne has shown great maturity and leadership. Not all athletes would have stayed for a teammate who has a medal chance. I have no complaints. She is an incredible inspiration for Canada.”
And now, Boutin is one too. And she could very well recover by the end of the South Korean fortnight since she maintains that the 500m is the individual event in which she is least comfortable.