Canada took home not one but two medals in the 5,000-metre event in women’s speed skating Monday, Jan. 16, at the FISU World University Games in Lake Placid, NY.
And one of the medals came from a Shuswap athlete in historic fashion.
Laura Hall of Salmon Arm won gold, while Rose-Anne Grenier from Sainte-Marie, Que. took bronze.
The gold and bronze mark the first medals for Canadian women in speed skating all-time at the FISU Winter Games, and kicked off a three-medal day for Canada in Lake Placid, with Liz Filiatrault’s bronze in women’s ski cross bringing the nation’s total to five.
Hall, a former member of the Vernon Vortex Speed Skating Club, started in the last pairing of the event. The biomedical engineering student from the University of Calgary completed her 7.5 laps of the Olympic Oval in 4 minutes 25.70 seconds, 2.28 seconds ahead of her next competitor.
“I decided to start hard and try not to die too hard,” Hall said about her race. “It ended up going pretty well, so I’m happy with it. It started out going good. It really started to hurt, but I made it through the first lap time.”
Hall’s time beat the track record, set by Norwegian skater, Bjorg Eva Jensen in 1980 at the Olympic Winter Games.
“I saw the record beforehand and kind of wanted to aim for that — just started fast and was able to keep the pace long enough to get it,” said Hall. “I could hear the announcer throughout the race. I counted two laps to go, I heard that I was on a good pace for that. And then when I crossed the line, I could look on the board and see I’d gotten it.”