The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre was rocking during the bell lap for Alberta’s Matej Pederson.
Pederson was battling three Québec skaters for position much of the 1500 metre final in short track speed skating Saturday.
It wasn’t until the final lap, through the last two turns that Pederson made his move and overtook Québec’s Manuel Falardeau to capture bronze.
“The crowd was going pretty wild the entire race. It definitely gave me a boost of energy,” he said.
“I was pretty stressed out because I know all the guys in that race were strong and have been racing well this year. I think in the end it just came down to who push out the strongest laps and I came out with the bronze.”
Checking out the finals in the 1,500m short track. Quebec’s William Dandjinou won gold, with teammate Nicolas Perreault winning silver.
Alberta’s Matej Peterson spoiled a Quebec podium sweep picking up bronze (QC’s women’s team, btw, completed a podium sweep)
Also, sound on! pic.twitter.com/RV5JBAovsv
— Nick Murray (@NickMurray91) February 18, 2019
Québec’s William Dandjinou earned gold in a time of 2:15.974 and Nicolas Perreault came away with silver in 2:16.068. Pederson explained that he thought he missed his chance at a medal with two laps to go when he errored on a pass. Falardeau also slipped up and opened the door for another Alberta medal on the ice.
“I made a mistake trying to make a pass into third place and I thought for sure it was over at that moment. But coming around with one to go, Manuel (Falardeau) made a slip-up and I took the opportunity to go around him on the outside,” said Pederson.
“All the stress going into the race was relieved at that moment and to hear the crowd roaring as I came around that was an awesome feeling.”
The wild crowd was one of the loudest the 17-year-old has seen in his racing career, even topping World Junior Championships and Canadian Junior Championships.
“I think that was definitely the loudest, that was pretty crazy,” Pederson said of the crowd at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
His coach, Dustin Miller also beamed with pride after the race and said he was just happy that all the hard work his skater put in came to fruition.
“Very proud of Matej, he’s worked very hard to get where he has. It’s always tough going against the top guys in our country and he’s proven to be one of those guys consistently,” Miller said.
“It’s always great to come away with a medal on a big stage like this.”
In the relay, Pederson and Team Alberta finished first in their heat and qualified for the final on Friday.
“We just wanted to get through the round and keep it smooth. Didn’t want to push ourselves too much and cause a crash, just get through to the final,” he said.
Last lap of women’s 1500m final in short track speed skating!
Dernier tour de la finale du 1 500 m féminin de patinage de vitesse sur courte piste! pic.twitter.com/mplY8QIO6i
— 2019 Canada Games (@2019CanadaGames) February 18, 2019
The Alberta female team also qualified for the final in the relay Friday.
The female 1500m final also featured high drama, as Québec narrowly swept all three medal positions. Initially, it appeared Alberta’s Cezara Bere had nabbed the bronze medal spot. After a photo finish review, Roxanne Beaudry of Québec earned bronze ahead of Bere by five one-hundredths of a second.