Historic Team Bronze to Close-Out Winter Youth Olympic Games for Canada

Gangwon, South Korea (February 1, 2024) – The figure skating team event made its debut at the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon, South Korea on Thursday after being a mixed-nations event at previous Games, and the Canadian team, composed of Audra Gans and Michael Boutsan, Annika Behnke and Kole Sauve, David Li, and Kaiya Ruiter secured a bronze medal after delivering four great performances to edge out China by one point.

Gans and Boutsan from Prévost, Que., got the competition started for Canada with their ice dance free skate that garnered them a score of 80.24, putting them in fifth place and securing one point for the team.

“This was great,” said Boutsan following their performance. “Canada supporting me, Canada supporting us – it’s an amazing feeling. It brings out your Canadian pride and I think that’s something magical. I can’t wait to go and cheer for our teammates – we’re going to out-cheer all the other countries!”

Next up was Canada’s newly minted Youth Olympic Games pair gold medallists Behnke (Peace River, Alta.) and Sauve (Grand Prairie, Alta.) who performed brilliantly to score a huge new personal best score of 82.39 for their free skate, a first-place finish, and five points for the team.

“This was really cool. I loved how everyone was cheering us on – I just really enjoyed it and am so grateful for it,” enthused Behnke who together with Sauve, carried the Canadian flag into the Closing Ceremonies for the Games later in the day.

Li from Richmond, B.C., scored a 116.61 for his men’s free skate, adding a further two points to the team total with his fourth-place finish.

“It was a little more nerve wracking having the whole team watching you, but I started off really strong, and I just need to keep that level of intensity throughout the program,” said Li.

Ruiter from Calgary, Alta., had a much better free skate than she did on Tuesday, scoring a 103.41 to finish fourth, adding another two points to the total, and securing the bronze medal for Canada.

“I think the team is what contributed to having a much better free skate today, it’s just having the energy and the team excitement – we helped each other rise up and it was a very special moment. I still can’t believe we won a medal. Wearing this medal around my neck with the Olympic rings, it’s just so surreal, it’s crazy! And so much fun to do as a team,” said an excited Ruiter after the medal presentations.

Because only two teams performed a pair routine during the team competition, the top-3 scores for each team were counted, leaving Canada with 9 points and the bronze medal. The Korean team won gold with 13 points, while the USA captured the silver with 12 points.

For full results please click here.

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