SALT LAKE CITY — Montreal's Alyson Charles won the first gold medal of her career in the women's 1,000 metres on Sunday at a World Cup speedskating event.
She found the top of the podium after skating through the morning repechage rounds, earning first-place performances in all five of her races in the distance .
"Winning a gold medal in my second World Cup is really incredible and far above my expectations for myself," said Charles.
"At the start of the season, I came to learn and gain experience. After last weekend in Calgary, when I came to Salt Lake City I knew more of my potential and that I could compete with the best."
In the final, Charles completed an outside pass from the back of the pack mid-way through the race to move into first place. Charles held on at the line for the win, narrowly edging out silver medallist Anna Seidel of Germany by three one-thousandths of a second.
"My goal this morning was to get myself into the main competition," said Charles.
"After that, I went one race at a time. It was a long day — in total I did six races. So, my legs are pretty tired. But in the final, I told myself that I would give everything I had left, and it paid off with the medal."
In men's action, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., advanced to the A final of the men's 500 metres after contact from another skater in the semifinals impeded his race. He came fifth in the finals, skating to a world-record pace set by gold medallist Wu Dajing of China.
Danae Blais of Chateauguay, Que., finished second in the B final of the ladies 500 metres, missing the top spot by one one-thousandth of a second. The mixed relay team also competed in the B final, skating to a first-place finish in that event.
Penalties to Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, Que.) in the men's 1000 metres quarterfinals and Courtney Sarault of Moncton, N.B., in the ladies semifinals of the same event ended their runs at the podium.
Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., and Cedrik Blais of Chateauguay, Que., failed to advance out of the men's 500-metre quarterfinals, with Montreal's Camille De-Serres Rainville and Pascal Dion meeting the same fate in the ladies 500 metres and men's 1,000-metre quarterfinals, respectively.
The Canadian Press