Canadian speedskater Laurent Dubreuil wins Olympic silver in 1,000 metres

By Sportsnet Staff

It was sweet redemption for Laurent Dubreuil.

The Canadian long-track speedskater won a silver medal in the men’s 1,000 metres on Friday at the Beijing Olympics, six days after finishing fourth in his best event — the 500 metres.

“I figured out I was in the shape of my life and I just had a bad day six days ago,” Dubreuil told CBC. “I just skated a bit heavy. I gave myself 24 hours, but it probably took me 72 to get over it. I showed up here today knowing I wasn’t a favourite, but I could do it. Had good legs and just needed to skate a bit smoother, a bit more relaxed. I managed to do that while going faster. It was really good execution today and I’m really happy about it.”

It is the 24th medal for Canada in Beijing. Canada was alone in third in the medal standings after the silver — five medals back of its record 2018 total with just over two days to go.

Skating in the final pairing with Dutch world champion Kai Verbij, Dubreuil posted a time of one minute 8.32 seconds.

He finished 0.40 seconds behind gold medallist Thomas Krol of the Netherlands, who crossed the finish line in 1:07.92.

Haavard Holmefjord Lorentzen of Norway took the bronze in 1:08.48.

On the podium, Dubreuil said “I love you.”

“That was for my daughter (Rose). I’d much rather be winning but she prefers when I finish second because she’s two years old and for her two is much better than one,” Dubreuil said. “I told her I’m second, just like your age, No. 2. I don’t even know if she was awake, but I hope she’ll see it and I’m really looking forward to calling them later today.”

Dubreuil, whose mom and dad both were speedskaters in previous Winter Games, said after the 500 that he doesn’t need an Olympic medal to be happy.

“When I get up in the morning and see my daughter, I’m not thinking about Olympic medals or World Championship medals, I’m just thinking about enjoying the moment,” Dubreuil said.

“This is just sport, this is not who I am. This is what I do right now. Hopefully for a few years still, but at some point I won’t be doing it and I’ll be the same person. It’s just a really good day, but I’m just looking forward to seeing my family right now.”

Dubreuil is the reigning world champion in the 500 metres and had been on the World Cup podium in all eight races at that distance this season prior to Beijing.

The 29-year-old from Levis, Que., missed the podium in that race by three-hundredths of a second in Beijing.

In the 1,000, Dubreuil is ranked sixth with a season-best showing of fifth.

But on Friday, Dubreuil used his big speed to take the lead early and maintained a strong pace.

Dubreuil had won bronze in the 1,000 at the World Single Distance Championships the past two years.

With files from The Canadian Press

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