Prince George long track speed skater Carolina Hiller is a world champion.
The 26-year-old Prince George Blizzard Speed Skating Club alumnus teamed up with Ivainie Blondin of Ottawa and Calgary’s Brooklyn McDougall to win the women’s team sprint Thursday night at the ISU World Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
“Becoming world champion my first year on the World Cup circuit is an incredible feeling,” said Hiller, in an email to the Citizen.
“I am so proud of us today and the work we have put in each race this season, to be able to end the season as world champions is amazing.”
The team sprint is a three-lap race and on each lap one skater drops off so there is just one team member skating the final lap. McDougall took the lead in her lap, Hiller kept Canada in front during her second lap and Blondin maintained the lead the rest of the way to win Canada’s first medal of the world finals.
They clocked 1:26.29, just 29-hundredths of a second ahead of the United States, and 1.57 seconds in front of third-place China. It was the first time in world championship history the team sprint was contested. The Canadian women won World Cup silver in the three previous events this season.
Soon after the women celebrated their title, the all-Quebec team of Christopher Fiola, Laurent Dubreil and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu captured the men’s team sprint title, the first ever men’s sprint world championship medal for Canada.
Hiller will be back on the ice Friday for the 500m race.