News Archives, March '04 / Les archives, mars '04
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Jonathan Guilmette is on his way back to Montréal, Québec, Canada!  After staying in Gothenburg Sweden 10 days longer than originally planned because of the cracked vertabra he suffered in the 1000m World Championship race (and the back surgery that ensued), he wrote in his journal from Paris, France today to say that he is flying home first class and enjoying champagne in the First Class Lounge for Air France.
He is up and walking, although slowly at the moment.  "Thanks to everyone who wrote to me or wrote something in the Group Card", Guilmette said of the support he received from his family, friends, fellow-skaters and fans while hospitalized.  "It kept me positive during difficult moments."
For his complete recounting of the events that let up to his injury and his thoughts on it now that he's out of the hospital, click on the Jo's Journal / Le journal de Jo link to the left.

Thursday, March 25th, 2004
The Canadian sports sites on the world wide web have kept right up on what has been going on with Jonathan since the 1000m crash five days ago.  Click the link below to read Speed Skating Canada's report on the back surgery that Jo underwent to stabilize his vertabra and avoid a spinal cord injury.
Also, ran a letter from Nathalie Guilmette, Jonathan's sister.  The letter is in French, but you can use an on-line translator like for the text in English.  Click the below link to read her letter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
For the many who have requested a group card for Jo, your wish is my command!  Please feel free to sign the group Get Well card that was created for Jonathan by clicking on the link below.  The card will be sent to him on April 4th, so please have your messages written by April 5th.  And thank you to all who have shown so much support for Jonathan!


March 21st, 2004
In regard to the Jonathan's recovery from his crash yesterday in the 1000m race in Gothenburg, Sweden, initial news seems to indicate that his injuries will not be permanent and that he will likely skate again!  On March 20, Noelle Neu of posted the following on her site:
"Jo's major concern will be pain in the short term.  He is expected to make a complete recovery and should be able to return to skating without problems.  They still need to do additional tests on him tomorrow to make certain there are no other injuries, and Jo will remain hospitalized here in Sweden for a week or so.

"Tonight at the awards banquet, when his name was read during the awards announcements, Jo received raucous and sustained applause.  When I went to ask his coach how he was doing, I told him there were a lot of people in the U.S. rooting for Jo's recovery as well."

Indeed, the outpouring of good wishes for a speedy recovery has been from all over the globe.  Stay tuned for news as we receive it.

Photo By: Noelle Neu
Jonathan happily accepts his 1500m silver medal & shakes the presenter's hand - Gothenburg, Sweden

March 20, 2004  Gothenburg, Sweden

Jonathan Guilmette suffered a back injury today in the 1000m race at the World Championships in short track speed skating.  He was diagnosed with a stable compression fracture of the 11th vertebrae (middle back) and is expected to remain in the hospital for up to a week.  His injury occurred when he tried to take the lead coming into a curve before the last lap.

Guilmette and Seung-Jae Lee of South Korea, the skater he was trying to pass, both went down.  Guilmette crashed first into the boards and the Korean then slid into Guilmette.  Lee was DQ'd from the race and  Guilmette was fitted with a neck brace and carried off on a stretcher.

Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, BC also crashed into the boards in her 1000m QF after a Russian skater tried to pass her from the inside.  The 26-year-old Canadian was taken to the hospital for a lower-neck exam and then released.

The accidents shook up the Canadian contingent enough that the team did not compete in the 3000m and 5000m relay finals, the last 2 events of the competition.

South Koreans Ahn Hyun-Soo and Choi Eun-Kyung were both named World Champions for the second year in a row.

Canada ended the meet with 2 medals, both won Friday in the 1500m ~ Guilmette's silver and Kraus' bronze.  An amazing fact, however, is that Guilmette finished 6th in the overall standings, despite having earned points in only the one race, not being able to finish his 1000m and not competing in his 3000m!  Quite an accomplishment!

We're all pulling for you Jo!  Get well soon, and we hope to see you back on the ice good-as-new next season.  :)

Information Courtesy Of:  Speed Skating Canada


I'm sure you've heard or have figured out that Jo crashed today and was injured.  Right now it doesn't look too good.  His injury is very serious.  It was very upsetting to see.  In the last lap, Jo was trying to pass and the Korean Lee swung wide, or cross-tracked or something, and sent Jo headfirst into the boards.  Lee crashed too and Jo took the full force of Lee crashing into him and then into the boards.  He was lying on his back and appeared to be in considerable pain.  Agony is more like it.  The one positive thing that can be said is that his legs were moving.  They took him out of the rink immobilized on a body board.

Sorry to be so blunt about everything, but I just want to let you know what I saw.  This isn't the type of thing that can be sugarcoated.  No one I've spoken to has heard anything official yet.  The Canadian team doctor (McCall) told some U.S. team people that he thinks Jo has the same injury that Evelina Rodigari got some days ago while training.  I believe she is still in the hospital here in Sweden.

I hope it's all overly dramatic and we'll soon learn that things aren't as bad as they sound right now.  I'll let you know whatever news I'm able to learn tonight.  Apparently Alanna is going to be fine and they took her to the hospital for x-rays just in case.

Eyewitness Report From:  Noelle Neu


March 19, 2004  Gothenburg, Sweden

Jonathan won the silver medal!  In Friday's opening 1,500m race at the World Championships, Guilmette turned in a stunning, nearly gold performance!

In the 1,500m, the defending World Champion, Ahn Hyun-Soo of South Korea, took the gold medal in 2:16.376.  Guilmette was 2nd in 2:16.418 and Suk-Woo Song of South Korea was 3rd in 2:16.657.

Steve Robillard was also in the final and came in 5th in 2:16.983.  Jean-François Monette was eliminated in the semifinals and got 9th place.

"The Koreans set a strong rhythm at the start and I tried to be patient," said Guilmette.  "Ahn is certainly the man-to-beat right now.  He's very difficult to pass and is very durable, particularly in the longer distances.  But this is the kind of start I wanted at these championships.  I felt strong and it took the world champion to beat me."

In the men's 5,000 m relay preliminaries, Canada won its heat with Monette, Robillard, Guilmette, Mathieu Turcotte and Charles Hamelin.

More racing to come on Saturday, March 20.  Read Jonathan's journal entry on the 1,500m race on the Jo's Journal page.

Information Courtesy Of:  Speed Skating Canada

Photo by: Noelle Neu
Jonathan consuls with Head Coach, Guy Thibault, between 1500m races in Gothenburg, Sweden

Sunday, March 14, 2004  St. Petersburg, Russia
The men of Team Canada won the silver medal in men's competition today in what came down to a tie-breaker via the relay.  South Korea won the gold medal with 32 points, Canada won the silver with 28, Italy won bronze with 18 and China came in 4th with 15 points.

In the relay final, both the Canada and Korea came into the race with 22 points each.  The Koreans got 1st for the relay in 6:50.521 and Canada was second in 6:50.821.

In the individual distances, Guilmette got the most points for Canada by placing 1st in his 1,000m heat and 2nd in his 500m and 3,000m races.  Hamelin won his 500m heat and was second in his 1,000m, Turcotte got 2nd in his 500m & Jean-François Monette and Steve Robillard both came in 2nd in their 1,000m races.

Congratulations Team Canada on a job well-done and particulary to Jonathan for an extraordinary performance today!

Information Courtesy of:  Speed Skating Canada

Photo Courtesy of: Speed Skating Canada
Hamelin, Monette, Turcotte, Robillard and Guilmette pose with their silver medals.

Saturday, March 13, 2004   St. Petersburg, Russia
The men of Team Canada won 8 out of their 10 heats in men's competition Saturday to qualify for the final at the World Team Championships.

They got 54 points to win their bracket, Italy came in 2nd with 30 points, and Russia and Britain tied for third with 18 each.  South Korea finished racing in their bracket with 50 points, China was second with 33 points, Japan was third with 23 and France collected 13 points for a 4th place finish.

Canada and South Korea will both go directly to Sunday's final and did not have to skate the repechage.  Second and third in each of the two brackets competed later Saturday in the repechage to determine the last two spots for the final.  China and Italy won those spots.

At the World Team Championships, there are heats in the 500m, 1,000m, 3,000m and 5000m relay.  A skater from each country skates in each heat.  The winner in the heat earns five points for his country, second place earns three and third place earns one, while relay points are doubled.

Two of the five team members are rookies, not the least of which is Steve Robillard, a national team member for speed skating as well as an in-liner ~ he got 13 points for Canada with victories in his 500m & 1,000m heats as well as a 2nd place in the 3,000m. 

Jean-François Monette won his 500m and 1,000m heats for 10 points, Jonathan Guilmette won his 1,000m and the 3,000m races for an additional 10 points and Mathieu Turcotte won his 1,000 heat to add 5 more.

Canada with Guilmette, Monette, Turcotte and Charles Hamelin got even more points by winning the 5,000m relay in 7:02.656, over six seconds ahead of Italy!
Competition will conclude on Sunday, March 14th.  Stay tuned.
Information courtesy of:  Speed Skating Canada

Monday, March 1, 2004
Add another link to your skating favorites list. launched today and the site is dedicated in its entirety to two-time Canadian champion and Olympic gold and silver medalist, Jonathan Guilmette.
Aside from having the usual things one might expect to find on a skating website such as photos, news flashes, race schedule, links and stats, it has games, Olympic Photo albums that take you through the races in chronological order (feels like you're watching the races via still photographs), contests for original, autographed prizes and a skating journal written by Guilmette in both his native French as well as English.  Interviews with Guilmette, wallpaper and Buddy Icons round out the site, as well as technical articles from a speed skating coach for those who are looking for more than the fan experience in a skating site.
A French version is currently being built and will offer a greater diversity of web-surfers to visit, and portions are already up.  There are also plans to add some surprises after the launch.
Personal participation from Guilmette should prove to make for an exciting website experience.  "I think it's great that someone is building a site for me", said Guilmette. "I'm very happy [about it]." 
The Star Wars/space theme running throughout is for Guilmette's fascination with the movies which he lists as his favorites.  The site was built and is maintained by LJB Site Design.

Thursday, February 19th, 2004
When the 6th and last World Cup event concluded in Bormio, Italy, the 2003~2004 ISU World Cup Short Track Ice Speed Skating final rankings were announced.  The top six men and women overall were awarded prize money, and Jonathan Guilmette was among the recipients.

"The best four results for each skater or team count toward the final rankings. 50 points are awarded for a win, 49 for second place, and so on" stated the report on  Guilmette finished 5th in the world with 184 points overall (his highest World Cup overall ranking ever), and 3rd in the 1000m, with 188 points (also a personal best).
In addition to the accomplishments listed above, he finished 5th in the 500m with 179 points, 9th in the 1500m with 170 points, and Team Canada came in 2nd overall with 197 points.
An exciting season for Guilmette indeed, and well-earned placement.  Congratulations, Jonathan!