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How Canada did in two major world championships

How Canada did in two major world championships

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Two world championships featuring major Olympic sports concluded over the long weekend. One of them, in Calgary, couldn't have gone better for Canada. The other, in Doha, yielded mixed results. Below is a summary of both meetings:

Speed ​​skating: Canada breaks its own medal record

With Calgary hosting the World Single Distance Speed ​​Skating Championships for the first time in more than a quarter century, Canadian competitors parlayed their home skating advantage into 10 medals (2 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze). This broke the national record of nine medals (most recently achieved in 2020) and placed Canada only three medals behind the powerhouse Dutch team, which topped the overall medal standings for the 11th straight time.

Canada's two gold medals came last Thursday in the men's and women's speed events. Each team successfully defended their title from last year's World Championships in the Netherlands, with the men breaking a world record. Isabelle Weidmann added a silver medal in the women's 3,000-meter individual on Thursday.

Canada continued its success in the team event on Friday, taking silver in the women's team event and bronze in the men's event. The women's result was somewhat disappointing as the trio of Wideman, Evanie Blondin and Valerie Maltese were the World and Olympic champions. Laurent Dubroy, who was part of the men's sprint team's win on Thursday, added an individual silver in the men's 500 metres.

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Blondin went on to collect her solo silver medal in the women's mass start on Saturday. The 33-year-old's seventh career world championship medal at this distance alone gave her three medals in as many days, after taking gold in the women's team sprint and silver in the team pursuit. On the men's side, Antoine Gelinas Beaulieu produced a near carbon copy of Blondin's results, taking silver in the mass start on Saturday after helping Canada to gold in the team sprint and bronze in the team pursuit.

With Canada earning eight medals heading into the final day of racing, Ted Jan Plomin and Graeme Fish took silver and bronze, respectively, in the men's 10,000 meters on Sunday to set the record.

A few more Canadians are expected to compete in the final major event of the long track season: the World Sprint and All-Around Championships next month in Germany. Skaters there will accumulate points across multiple distances to determine the medal winners.

Aquatics: Canada achieved some goals at worlds that no one asked for

The World Aquatics Championships leading up to the Olympics are usually cause for more excitement. It's the last chance for the top competitors to reveal themselves before they step into the brighter spotlight of the Olympic Games. But the real dress rehearsal for Paris occurred last summer in Japan, where Canadian swimming star Summer McIntosh, for example, won two more world titles and cemented her status as an Olympic star in the making.

These worlds, in Doha, had no chance of holding the Games so close to the Summer Games. But the desire to fulfill contractual obligations after a series of pandemic-related cancellations made it happen just five months after Paris.

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McIntosh and most of the world's best swimmers stayed home, dampening much of the appeal of the glamorous global event but opening the door for less accomplished athletes to reach the podium. Finlay Knox won Canada's only swimming gold medal (in the men's 200-meter medley), while Sydney Pickrem and Ingrid Willem earned two individual medals each and contributed to a bronze medal in the women's 4 x 100-meter medley relay on Sunday, giving Canada won its seventh and final swimming medal at the meet. .

Competition was stiffer in other sports — including artistic swimming, where Jacqueline Simoneau's gold medal in the women's individual freestyle event gave Canada its first world title since 1991 in the sport formerly known as synchronized swimming. Simoneaux added a silver medal in the individual technique and helped clinch Olympic spots for her country in the pair and team events (there is no individual competition at the Olympics).

Canada's only other medals in Doha also came in a non-Olympic event — the women's high dive, with Molly Carlson taking silver and Jessica Macaulay taking bronze. No Canadian has been on the podium in traditional diving, although some additional Olympic entries have been secured.

The Canadian women's water polo team has accomplished its mission to qualify for the Olympics, but only virtually. After losing the seventh-place match to Italy with a final Olympic berth on the line, Canada knew it would go to Paris anyway after South Africa denied it entry.

Canadian open water swimmer Emma Finlin also unexpectedly qualified for the Olympics. After finishing 24th in the women's 10km and missing out on automatic entry by less than a second, Finlin secured a spot no one claimed.

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The Canadian Olympic Trials for swimming and diving are scheduled to begin in mid-May.

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