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Steven Dubois and Pascal Dion (CAN) ISU World Short Track Championships Montreal (CAN) GettyImages 1390725707 (1)

Steven Dubois and Pascal Dion (CAN) skate during the 2022 ISU World Short Track Championships in Montreal (CAN) @ISU

Canadian Short Track greats Dion and Dubois lift the lid on each other

In the first of a new series, Pascal Dion (CAN) shares an inside view on great friend, team-mate and occasional rival Steven Dubois (CAN). And then Dubois gets his own back.

The two Short Track Speed Skaters have risen through the ranks from being promising young club athletes to winning Olympic Men’s Relay gold together at the Beijing 2022 Games.

Team Canada 2022 Olympic Winter Games Beijing (CHN) GettyImages 1370926702

Team Canada celebrates during the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing (CHN) @GettyIamges

In the past 12 months the duo have picked up Olympic medals in the 1500m and 500m (Dubois’ silver and bronze respectively) as well as that Relay gold, and enjoyed World Championship success overall and in the 1500m (Dion took silver in both), plus Men’s Relay bronze.

Here they share just how they have done it and what they really think of each other.

Pascal Dion on friend and rival Steven Dubois

First impressions

He started skating late, at 11 years old, and we met when he was 13. At the beginning the technique was a bit harder for him because he started late but you could see he had a very good glide. You see when it’s natural, not robotic.

When you are younger the age difference feels greater. Now I am 28, he’s 25, and it doesn’t matter but when you are 16 and 13 you don’t talk about the same things. So, at the beginning we were not that close friends.

Feeding off each other

I feel like we skate kind of the same way but we have different tactics. We’re two gliders, very lightweight skaters. We try to be smooth and keep our energy but he’s more explosive, more the kind of skater who is going to punch in the end or go fast in the 500m.

Steven Dubois (CAN), Andrew Heo (USA) and Pascal Dion (CAN)  ISU Four Continents Short Track Speed Skating Ch ISU 1440886786

Steven Dubois (CAN), Andrew Heo (USA) and Pascal Dion (CAN) pose during the ISU Four Continents Short Track Speed Skating Championships @ISU

We have very good communication, as soon as we feel we can help each other we do. We have coaches but the best coaches are athletes. It’s us that skate and can feel (the ice). The coaches are outside and it’s not the same as getting feedback on technique, tracks, strategies from other athletes.

Friends on and off the ice

We talk a bit about skating when we are together, but it’s 50:50. We have a lot of other interests. We like coffee, we like wine, we like good food, traveling. We went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic this summer, me, him and Maxime (Laoun) with our girlfriends. The weather was perfect. We played golf. Right now Steven is a bit more consistent than me at golf because he played a lot in the summer.

The Dubois skill he would most like to have

I would like to have his end-of-the-race punch. That would definitely help. If we were able to combine our two skills that would be a pretty solid skater.

What happens when they face each other in a big final

If I am in front he will just follow me until I die and then pass me! He won’t help me!

Dubois gets his own back…

Thankful for his friend

The group when we first got to the national team was definitely way older. There was Olivier Jean, Charles (Hamelin), it was a serious group, very intimidating to get into. Having some younger guys I used to skate with like Pascal was very helpful.

Team Canada Olympic Winter Games Beijing (CHN) 1367986707

Team Canada poses during the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing (CHN) @ISU

Inspired by Dion’s late bloom

He got good late. One summer he was not that good and then the next season he was on the national team and doing the World Cups. It was impressive. I thought at that moment it was going to be really hard to get on the national team, there were so many good people. But I followed the same jump, I went from 18 to six in the rankings. Seeing that it was possible definitely helped.

We skate in kind of a similar way but the way he thinks about how he skates is different to me. When he gets to the corner the way he thinks about going down on his right until the apex is different to me. Sometimes it helps to have that different point of view.

The way he skated the 1000m last year, he was so consistent. It was almost the same strategy (each race) but he adapted super well. I have to learn from that.

It was heart-breaking when he fell in the 1000m at the (Beijing 2022 Olympic) Games. But at the (2022) Worlds he showed he was supposed to be there (Dion won overall and 1500m silver).

The Dion skill he would most like to have

Definitely the way he takes information and adapts his strategy. I could definitely do that better. I want to have that, it’s what I miss the most.

What happens when they face each other in a big final

I know he’s the one I have to beat. I have to adapt my strategy to find the only place I can pass and sometimes it doesn’t really work. I feel like the Liu brothers (Shaolin Sandor and Shaoang, HUN) have an agreement that the one in front is going to win but we both want to win!