A pair of Albertans fought through brutal conditions to earn spots on the podium on Saturday in the 1,500-metre long track speedskating event.
Calgary’s Brooklyn McDougall took gold in the women’s event and Lethbridge’s Kaleb Muller took silver in gusty conditions with a windchill close to -30 C at the Setters Place oval at Great Chief Park.
It was a fantastic start for Team Alberta in the first event to kick off the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Canmore’s Cassidy Peterson just missed a medal, finishing fourth. Calgarians Anne Bourgeois, eighth, and Kayla McNeely, 10th also did well putting the entire Alberta contingent in the top 10 of 26 skaters.
Two Quebec speedskaters silver medallist Rose-Anne Grenier and bronze medallist Emanuelle Côté joined McDougall on the podium.
McDougall said her game plan wasn’t complicated.
“I just tried to keep it simple and not do anything too crazy and just race the way I know how to race and just stay low and keep my tempo up,” said McDougall.
“I think it went pretty amazing today so I’m really happy about it.”
McDougall took the challenging conditions in stride.
“It was a little interesting getting the big headwind on the back stretch but as long as you’re staying low and you’re just kind of grinding it out it should go well.”
Competing in the great outdoors just “makes it that much more fun,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen out there.”
She gave a big shout out to the small army of volunteers who kept the track clear. “It’s amazing. It’s really tough with this weather to keep the ice in good condition but they’ve been doing an amazing job.”
There is plenty more speedskating action coming up this weekend. Go to www.canadagames.ca for a schedule.