A medal with a Quebec flavor

Canada won its first Olympic medal in China on an ecological ice rink made by a Quebec ice specialist.

• Read also: Beijing 2022: First Canadian medal signed Isabelle Weidemann

Isabelle Weidemann, 26, won third place on Saturday in the 3000m long track speed skating event, contested at the Ice Ribbon (Ice Ribbon) in Beijing.

It was the Quebec entrepreneur Guy Evon Cloutier who coordinated the efforts to manufacture and refrigerate these huge skating rinks within an international consortium including the companies CTC and Cimco.

Canadian bronze medalist in the 3000m, Isabelle Weidemann.

Photo: AFP

Canadian bronze medalist in the 3000m, Isabelle Weidemann.

” The people [dans mon équipe] were nervous the day before the start of the competitions, but now it’s fine, the ice is broken, ”says the native of Quebec, who has been living in China for 20 years now.

This infrastructure – the only one built for these Olympics – has 12,000 square meters of ice, the equivalent of almost seven regulation hockey rinks.

Less polluting

For the first time in the history of the Games, the ice refrigeration system runs on carbon dioxide (CO2), rather than ammonia or hydrofluorocarbons, which are much more harmful to the environment.

“It was very demanding in terms of engineering and construction because there was no expertise,” explains Guy Evon Cloutier, about this $20 million project.

Quebec entrepreneur Guy Evon Cloutier.

Courtesy picture

Quebec entrepreneur Guy Evon Cloutier.

He estimates that this type of technology will reduce the sports center’s carbon emissions by the equivalent of the annual consumption of 3,900 cars.

Beijing has also done everything to boast of “green” Games and minimize the ecological consequences of competitions… even though the ski events take place on 100% artificial snow.

Quick quick quick

In addition to implementing new technology, engineer Guy Evon Cloutier had to deal with delays and complications related to a global pandemic.

The final tests to ensure the optimal quality of the ice took place in the last few months, rather than two years ago.

“The Chinese are used to working at the last minute, so it was a big, big rush. The largest challenge psychological is to work under these stressful conditions. But hey, after 20 years, I got used to it,” he laughs.

Now that the ice is trodden by the best athletes in the world, Mr. Evon Cloutier closely follows their performance.

Three world records have already been broken at the Ribbon of Ice.

“This is what determines the quality of a [infrastructure] sports,” he says proudly, adding that the hosts of the Games are jubilant.


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