Maltais and Gélinas-Beaulieu win gold as Canada earns four medals at Four Continents

QUEBEC — Valérie Maltais and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu both won gold as Canada earned four medals on Saturday in the second day of the Four Continents speedskating championships.

Maltais of La Baie, Que., won in the women's mass start event and Gélinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que., stood atop the podium following the men's 1,500 metres.

Ottawa's Jake Weidemann took bronze in the 1,500.

Alison Desmarais of Vanderhoof, B.C., earned a bronze in the women's 1,500 metres.

Maltais conserved her energy throughout much of the slow moving race, before breaking away from the pack with two laps remaining and sprinting her way to the top of the nine-skater field in a time of nine minutes, 14.700 seconds.

It was the 32-year-old’s best international result in the mass start, besting her fifth-place finish from a few weeks ago at the World Cup in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

"I'm very happy with my race today. It's a completely different style of race than what we see at the World Cups," said Maltais. "My objective was to be patient and pick up the speed at the end of the race.

"It's something that I need to work on — learning to time my sprint properly and picking up enough speed to end the race — and today I think I succeeded in doing that."

Gélinas-Beaulieu delivered a track record time of1:44.666. It's the first international medal in the distance for Gélinas-Beaulieu, who had until now only stood on the World Cup and World Championships podium in the mass start and team sprint.

Dmitry Morozov of Kazakhstan (1:46.305) and Weidemann (1:47.405) rounded out the podium.

“I didn’t have any expectations today in terms of medals or track records, I just really wanted to start fast," said Gélinas-Beaulieu. "In most of my races so far this season, I was more conservative, but today I wanted to go all-out from the very beginning.

"It hurts, it hurts a lot, but there’s a lot of potential when you race the 1,500 metres that way."

The 25-year old Desmarais, who previously competed internationally in short track, posted a time of 1:58.260, putting her behind only Kazakhstan skaters Yekaterina Aydova (1:57.528) and Nadezhda Morozova (1:56.378).

It was Desmarais’ second medal of the weekend, having also captured bronze yesterday’s team sprint alongside Rose Laliberté-Roy and Abigail McCluskey.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2022.

The Canadian Press