Skating: the world record in the crosshairs

Skating: the world record in sight


After a season in which he won his first Olympic medal, was crowned World Cup champion in the 500m and shattered the legendary Jeremy Wotherspoon's Canadian record by almost 0.3 s, Laurent Dubreuil is convinced that it can be even better.

Medalist in all the 500m events of the World Cup except the last of the season when he wanted above all to secure the title and avoid a possible fall, Dubreuil achieved his best career time on December 10 in Calgary signing a time of 33.77 s. It was the first time he had gone below the legendary 34-second mark.

“It would have been hard to imagine that in late June or early July, but I think I can be faster this year,” he said. The goal of breaking the world record of 33.61 s (by Russian Pavel Kulizhnikov) is becoming more and more real. With a 0.16s gap it won't be easy and I'm going to need a perfect day, but it's an idea I've been toying with for a long time and it's one of my two goals this year . My other goal is to win gold at the World Championship in Heerenveen in March and retain my title from 2019.”

The only time to achieve this goal will come early in the season with the two World Cup stops in Calgary December 9-11 and 16-18. All the best times are achieved at altitude, either in Calgary or in Salt Lake City, which will not host a World Cup this year.

Severe back pain

Bored by recurring back pain since the start of his career, Dubreuil feared the worst when he returned to the ice this summer.

“I had the best year of my career in terms of health last year and this year it was the worst,” said the silver medalist in the 1000m at the Beijing Olympics. I felt pain all the way to my foot. Magnetic resonance showed that I suffered from a herniated disc. My bodybuilding numbers were rotten and I wasn't fast on the ice not because I had gotten bad, but because my back was preventing me from skating to my full potential.

Changes to his off-ice training program have corrected the situation.

“I had major issues that went away three weeks into eliminating squats [leg curls],” he explained. I also received a cortisone injection which helps, but the progress had already started.

Dubreuil ensures that everything is back to normal.

“In a 400m practice last week, I clocked 24.5s, which is only 0.1s slower than my personal best,” he explained. It was a great relief. It confirms that if my back holds up, I can be the best skater in the world. “

Murakami's presence also gave him a good dose of energy.

“I was happy in life, but not the happiest in training, said he confided. I got better and his arrival brought a breath of fresh air that helped me regain a positive spirit. »

Such an inspiring experience for coach Gregor Jelonek

Laurent Dubreuil's coach, Gregor Jelonek also greatly appreciates his experience and he doesn't hesitate to give advice to Japanese skater Yuma Murakami.

“I don't coach not only for my parish, imagined Jelonek. We must not go overboard with the medals. Sharing makes everyone better. It's refreshing to lead a skater from another nationality. Yuma is receptive even if the communication is not obvious. We manage to understand each other. »

Multiple World Cup medalist, Murakami is off to an excellent start, his first 100m is better than Dubreuil's. 

“He is a super athlete who is very explosive, says Jelonek. We learn from his departures and his accelerations. In addition to Laurent, our youngest skaters Christopher Fiola and Cédrick Brunet benefit from it. It's the funfor them to train with one of the best sprinters in the world. They can compare. Me too, it inspires me. I look at his starting technique. Unlike the Canadians, Yuma does not take small steps initially, but uses full strides.

'Everyone loves it'

The integration was smooth. 

“ He has settled in well and everyone loves him, the national team coach said. He follows exactly the same program as Laurent. He was used to cycling a lot in his preparation, but we don't. He was not used to doing plyometrics and we do a lot. It adapts. Our ways of doing things open his eyes to certain aspects that he can improve. »

While he is thrilled by the athletic qualities of the Japanese skater, Jelonek also welcomes his decision to spend two months in Quebec in a city he did not know at all. 

“It's a great experience for an athlete, but it takes courage. He does not know the language and has to take the bus to get to the Oval every day because he lives in Old Quebec. »