Canada’s Boisvert-Lacroix wins gold in 500 metres at speedskating World Cup

CALGARY — Alex Boisvert-Lacroix needed to play the waiting game en route to a gold medal in the 500 metres at the World Cup speedskating event Sunday.

Boisvert-Lacroix posted a time of 34.31 seconds in the early stages of the race at the Olympic Oval, but had to watch as 14 more skaters — and then two re-skates — tried to better that time.

None did, handing the Sherbrooke, Que., native his first gold medal at a World Cup event.

“I was nervous till they crossed the line and I saw their times, and I was like, ‘Yes, I have it for real,’” Boisvert-Lacroix said of the two re-skates, awarded to Russia’s Ruslan Murashov and Germany’s Nico Ihlo due to lane interference.

“Everything is possible. If I can win here, why not at the Olympics?”

South Korea’s Cha Min Kyu won silver and Finland’s Mika Poutala took bronze. Boisvert-Lacroix’s gold-medal winning time was .01 of a second shy of his personal best.

“When I saw the time, my coach gave me a good high-five,” the 30-year-old said. “But we had no clue what would happen after that.”

Boisvert-Lacroix said the wait was “nerve-breaking.”

“After that, I was so happy … it was crazy. Then someone told me, ‘Oh, you have to wait. There’s a re-skate for two skaters.’ It’s never over till it’s over.”

Boisvert-Lacroix said he didn’t think his performance was podium-worthy.

“I thought it would be a fifth place, to be honest,” he said. “But it was good enough. It was just a good race. I’ll take that, for sure.”

Ottawa’s Vincent De Haitre finished sixth in the men’s 1,500 metres with a personal-best time of 1:43.13.

“I’m pretty happy … those don’t happen all the time,” said De Haitre. “Obviously, it’s not a podium finish. But, at the same time, these are all training races (for the Olympics) and I executed what I wanted to do during this race.

“We identified a few things that I could change for next time around. We’re going to do that in Salt Lake City (next weekend) and see what happens with that.”

Russia’s Denis Yuskov won gold followed by Netherlands skaters Koen Verweij and Kjeld Nuis.

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., placed eighth.

De Haitre, who finished fourth in the 1,000 metres on Saturday, said he was pleased with his weekend overall.

“I would rate (the weekend) eight out of 10, maybe nine,” he said. “It’s nice to get a medal but at the same time, that’s not the goal. The goal is to get better and I did that this weekend.”

In the women’s 500 metres, Japan’s Nao Kodaira picked up gold, while South Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee earned silver. Japan’s Ariso Go took bronze.

Japan’s Miho Takagi was on top in the women’s 1,500 metres. Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands took silver while Russia’s Yekaterina Shikhova got bronze.

Italy’s Andrea Giovannini captured the men’s mass start, while Germany’s Claudia Pechstein won the women’s race.

NOTES: Norway’s Allan Dahl Johansson set a world men’s junior record for 1,500 metres on Sunday afternoon. Johansson, 19, posted a time of 1:43.13, bettering the mark of Montreal’s David La Rue, who had broken the nine-year-old record only hours earlier. “It’s a huge (personal best),” La Rue said shortly after his race. “It’s close to 0.8 (of a second), so it’s very significant.”

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