As some of you reading this may know, we had a World Cup last weekend on home soil and I managed to put together a nice result with my teammates in the 1000m. I finished second while Charles Hamelin won and Olivier Jean finished third to complete the first Canadian sweep of a World Cup podium since 1994. I'm sorry for spoiling the story for anyone who was planning on watching the race here, or the entire CBC broadcast of the weekend here, but it has been a week, soooo....
Anyways, on to an update of the weekend that was the World Cup in Saguenay. I think the best way I can describe the weekend is that experience pays. In fact the weekend felt like deja vu of the 2008 World Cup in Vancouver.
Flashback to 2008. After failing to qualify for the final rounds in my 1500, I have a near breakdown in between races and end of having a long, long conversation with my Mum about all sorts of things, skating related and not. Following that conversation, I manage to cobble together a decent set of races in the afternoon to qualify to the final rounds in the 1000m. On Saturday I don't make it through the repechage, but gain a lot of confidence in my skating setting me up for a good day on Sunday and my first World Cup medal, a silver in the 1000m.
Flash forward to last weekend. After a stupid mistake costs me a spot in the final rounds in the 1500 (I toed in with one to go) I am shaken a bit but manage to put together a couple good, but nervous, races and qualify for the 1000m final rounds on Sunday. On Saturday morning, I feel that I should easily qualify though the repechage and into the finals that afternoon. But I don't. Instantly in an awful mood, I storm out of the arena and go for a walk by myself. While walking, I realize the parallels between the two world cups. I realized that this years world cup was shaping up almost exactly like the one in Vancouver in 2008 and that I would be capable of good result if I could get my head back in the game. Sure enough, Sunday came around, and because I was able to draw upon my experiences from the past, I ended up with a very similar result, a silver in the 1000m.
The World Cup in Saguenay turned out to be a resounding success. Canada did very well, winning 11 out of 26 possible medals. The crowd support was absolutely phenomenal. I have never been at a speed skating competition where they had a huge screen on a flatbed in the parking lot for people to watch the races on. Inside the arena, the noise was deafening, and I know each and every one of the skaters, Canadian or not, appreciated the noise of an educated and enthusiastic crowd.
Lastly, I have to give a huge shout out to the organizing committee and all of the volunteers that made this event happen. The event was not only a weekend of racing, but a week long celebration of Short Track. The bar has been set very high and I would like to say thanks for the great weekend Saguenay!