And they're off!

World Cup Short Track Day 1 Notes

By Abby Andreasen / Photo: Dave Holland

Table set for an exciting weekend of racing

Calgary, AB - The opening day of ISU World Cup Short Track #1 in Calgary started off with a bang! All the participating countries put their best skate forward in today’s qualifying races. 

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The World Record in the men’s 500m was nearly broken again by Chinese skater, Dajing Wu, who skated to a 39.777 - just short of his own 39.584 World Record time. Wu will be chasing another historic moment on The Fastest Ice in the World tomorrow and Sunday as he qualified for both MNS 500m events.

There was a common theme of false starts in many of the races today. In one of the more shocking moments Canadian Skater and reigning World Champion Charles Hamelin, received a penalty for a second false start for his 500m race. Hamelin was not the only one to be penalized during this race as Hungarian skater, Alex Varnyu, was as well. An unfortunate circumstance for Hamelin as it means he will not be allowed to re-race during the repechage on Saturday.

For a FULL RECAP of Team Canada's Day be sure to visit the Speed Skating Canada website.

But the hometown crowd still had plenty to cheer about with Oval trained Alison Desmarais making her “return” to the Olympic Oval in her first ever World Cup races. Desmarais qualified for both her 500m (1) and 1000m races in front of family, friends and training partners.  The Pride of Vanderhoof, BC will continue her “homecoming” weekend Saturday in the 500m (1) to start the afternoon races.

Dutch skater, Suzanne Schulting, arrived in full force in her 1500m Qualifying race. When the race began she was in the middle of the pack but methodically made her move to the front and finishing with at near half a lap lead over the rest of the pack. A sign of exciting things to come from the Dutch star and her team this weekend!

The Korean team has been using a outside passing to get them to the finish line. They start in the back of the pack and make a large outside pass to get them into the lead - a strategy that has resulted in success in many of their qualifying races.

The day wrapped up with the Mixed Gender Relay, making it’s debut at and ISU Short Track World Cup. The new race format resulted in confusion for some athletes to ensure that they were completing the correct number of laps. In one of the particular races, France’s relay team was penalized for not respecting the number of laps each gender had to do. The new relay event allows countries that would not usually be able to field a relay team to participate. An example of a team that has benefited from this is the Ukrainian team. The event also shows off a balance between the strengths of both the female and male skaters.

Races will begin again tomorrow morning at 9:30AM MDT with the Women’s 500m repechage qualifications. The finals for the men’s and ladies 500m (1) and 1500m races will take place Saturday afternoon, while the final for the men’s and ladies 500m (2) and 1000m races and the three relays (men’s, ladies and mixed gender) are set for Sunday. 

CBCsports.ca and Radio-Canada will be live streaming the event on Saturday beginning at 1:20PM MDT and Sunday beginning at 1:00PM MST. CBC will also have live broadcast coverage from 3:00PM MDT to 4:00PM MDT on Saturday.

Doors open at 8:30AM MDT for the Repechage with the main program starting in the afternoon. The afternoon will also include the first of two special tributes planned this weekend as  Tania Vicent and Jessica Gregg are both added to the Olympic Oval Hall of Champions.

Tickets are still available for this world class event, be sure to visit the event website: http://oval.ucalgary.ca/worldcup