As if winning a gold medal wasn’t already hard enough, Ponoka’s Maddison Pearman took it to new heights at the International Skating Union Four Continents Speed Skating Championships Dec. 2 to 4.
Pearman, along with her teammates Béatrice Lamarche and Valérie Maltaistook, took home the gold in the women’s pursuit event in Quebec in their first-ever race together.
With a “no person gets left behind” mentality, together they posted a time of 3:06.877, which was over four seconds faster than second-place China (+4.32) and third-place Korea (+4.40).
Not only was it their first race, they had also just practiced together for the first time as a trio that morning.
“It’s always nice to get individual medals but in a team event it’s really special to share it with some teammates as well,” Pearman said.
“It makes it more fun because it wasn’t just an individual effort it was a team effort … There were a few bumps along the road but we came together for a gold medal so can’t be too upset with that.”
Pearman explained they were kind of thrown into it because Maltaistook typically competes in the world cup circuit with two other women but they ended up not coming to the event.
This led to the coaching staff adding Pearman and Lamarche into the mix. In the morning they all practiced and did a few laps together.
“It usually takes a couple of races or more time practicing to really get it down pact,” she said. “Having a strong base individually and myself training with Valerie for four years and now Valerie training with Beatrice we each kind of had a bit of training with each other.”
“We trusted in each other and I think that’s really important when it comes to team pursuit to trust in your teammates. I think we went into that and ended up being able to skate really well together.”
The coaching staff, Pearman explained, decided to pair the three together based on the distance of the race, and the mechanics of their skating styles since they skate similarly. They also factored in the strength of their individual races.
Pearman also raced individually in the 1000m women’s race and placed fifth with a time of 1:17.625. She was less than a second behind teammate Lamarche who won bronze.
Pearman was back at it Dec. 9-11 and the following week Dec. 16-18 at the Olympic Oval in Calgary for two consecutive World Cup events.
“I’m really excited, obviously there are nerves, but more excitement than anything … Going into these next two weekends I’ve got a couple of races and it’s on home ice so I have that advantage,” she said.
“I’ve been feeling good so I’m looking forward to honestly just having fun. I think that’s something I’ve been trying to go back to when things aren’t going as well is just remembering why I’m doing this and how lucky I am.”