After two days of long track speed skating, the 2019 Canada Winter Games couldn't be going any better for Fort St. John Elks skaters Yuna Lovell, Amanda Mitchell, Brooke Braun, and Josh Telizyn.
The three girls, along with Laura Hall of Salmon Arm, won Team B.C.'s first medal of the games with a bronze in the team pursuit on Sunday, Feb. 17. The team pursuit is the race the skaters were most excited but unsure about, as they don't regularly compete in it, and a bronze medal against Canada's best is a huge accomplishment.
“It is amazing, really great,” said Amanda Mitchell in a statement. “Honestly, it means so much. It means our hard work has paid off. It means that we are finally able to show something for all this work and years of dedication we have put into this sport.”
Quebec won the event with a time of 3:28:70, Alberta won silver with 3:33:05, and B.C. was just more than a minute behind with a time of 3:44:99. There were seven teams competing in the race.
But that's not all the girls have done — they've excelled in the individual races as well. Mitchell said her goal was to betop 15 in the 1500m, and she finished seventh in the 28-person field with a time of 2:21:44. Braun finished 16th, and Lovell was 20th.
Lovell had a goal of finishing inside the top 10 in the 500m, but she surpassed that, coming in fourth, missing out on a medal by a combined time of just 0.76 seconds. Her time of 42.64 seconds was good enough for third in race one, and finished fourth in race two with a 43:41 time. Mitchell is known more for her long distances, but she impressed by coming in 10th, and Braun was 14th.
As for Telizyn, he began the games with a 14th place finish in the 1500m on Saturday, Feb. 16 with a time of 2:08:58. He didn't finish in the 500m and B.C. was seventh out of eight teams in the male team pursuit, but he still has the 1000m to come, his best race.
There is no long track speed skating scheduled for today, but the four skaters will be back on the track tomorrow, Feb. 19, for the female 3000m and male 5000m. The 3000m is Mitchell's best race and she had pre-games goal of getting a top 10 finish.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.