Florence Brunelle (CAN) competes at the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2022 in Gdansk (POL) ©International Skating Union
Many in Canada believe that Florence Brunelle might be their country’s heir to the brilliant Kim Boutin – a skater who has bagged world records, Olympic medals and World Cup titles aplenty during her Short Track career.
Brunelle races like Boutin – they are especially explosive over the 500m – and even celebrates in a similar style. As relay teammates for Canada, perhaps it is no wonder.
But Brunelle is her own skater, and the 18-year-old showed that she has the world at her feet with a dominant performance at the 2022 ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland.
Fresh from appearing at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Brunelle shone at the Hala Olivia, winning the 500m and 1000m, showcasing her blistering speed, impeccable technique and tactical acumen.
In the 500m on Saturday she blasted away from compatriot Ann-Sophie Bachand (CAN), who took silver, and the impressive Michelle Velzeboer – the latest in a long line of racers from her family – who claimed bronze.
She proved it was no fluke on Sunday, too, timing an attack perfectly from the back to win the 1000m title, ahead of the versatile Kim Gilli (KOR), who got silver, and Diede van Oorschot (NED), who bagged the bronze.
She also anchored Canada to victory in the women’s relay, with Netherlands second and Hungary third.
Canada wins gold, Netherlands silver and Hungary bronze in the Women's Relay.©International Skating Union
Brunelle was penalised in the 1500m, which was won by the consistent Kim, ahead of Angel Daleman (NED) in second and Jang Yeonjae (KOR) in third.
The men’s events were dominated by Korea. Park Geonnyeong (KOR) won the 1500m on Saturday, with Lee Dogyu (KOR) getting silver and Kim Minseo (KOR) the bronze.
Park Geonnyeong (KOR) won the 1500m, with Lee Dogyu (KOR) getting silver and Kim Minseo (KOR) the bronze ©International Skating Union
The next day, the same three athletes, in a class of their own, were on the podium after the 1000m – this time with Kim first, Park second and Lee third. With the trademark power and craft of Korean racers, they were untouchable over the longer distances.
In the 500m, however, Europe got a chance, with the lightning-quick Jenning de Boo (NED) securing gold ahead of Bence Nogradi (HUN) and Peter Jaszapati (HUN).
Italy won the men’s relay, ahead of Hungary and France.
Italy won the men’s relay, ahead of Hungary and France.©International Skating Union
In a sport where youth often reigns supreme, don’t be surprised to see many of these names make the jump to the senior squads for next season. Brunelle already has, and her performance here suggests it is just a matter of time before she is winning senior titles.
Where to Watch
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