The sun shone on Team Alberta’s long-track speedskaters at Great Chief Park in Red Deer on Tuesday.
On the first warmer, windless day on the track, Kaleb Muller broke the Canada Winter Games record for speedskating while clinching the gold medal in the men’s 5,000 metre event on Tuesday.
The Taber-area skater racked up his third medal of the Games with a time of 6:52.95 (Muller earned a previous gold for team pursuit and a silver for the 1,500 metre). His Team Alberta-mate Joshua Hathaway also took the podium with a bronze medal in the 5,000 metres.
Hathaway competed the outdoor course in 7:00.65 — just seconds after silver medalist Tyson Langelaar of Manitoba, who also broke a Games record with his time of 6:56.36.
And in the women’s 3,000 metre event, Calgary’s Brooklyn McDougall added a a fourth medal in bronze to her collection. McDougall previously won three medals in the Games — two golds for the 500 metre and 1,500 metre events and a silver medal for Team pursuit.
McDougall’s time was 4:44.28 — significantly slower than gold medalist Alexa Scott of Manitoba, who raced first and set a high benchmark, finishing the course in 4:33.83. Silver medalist Rose-Anne Grenier of Quebec came in at 4:42.23.
Of coming in third, McDougall said “It’s kind of like a bonus” to get the bronze medal, since she excels at shorter races.
“I’m not the strongest at distance,” added McDougall, so making the podium came as a nice surprise. McDougall said she will work on executing quicker “corners.”
Scott set the speed standard early for women, despite feeling jet-lagged after arriving in Red Deer on Monday night from a competition in Italy. “I just thought I would try to do my best — the best race that’s left in my legs,” she said, and the effort was enough to yield a gold.
Men’s gold medalist, Muller, said it feels “amazing” to win his third medal at the Games, as well as to break a Games speed record. He thinks it helped that the weather warmed up to about -10 C in the morning, much balmier than the near -30 C with windchill that was felt earlier this week.
“It really helped that the wind died down,” said the skater, who was able to stick to his goal of completing 32 second laps — 12 and a half times around the track.
He said it was particularly nice to win with his family in the spectator’s area.