by Derek Cassoff
It was his first international competition, so Jeff Scholten wasn't expecting to accomplish much last week at the World University Games in Propad-Tatry, Slovakia.
Instead, the third-year Sociology student shocked the world, himself included, by capturing two medals in short-track speedskating -- a gold in the 1,000-meter race and a silver in the 500-metre event.
His performance represented half of Canada's haul of four medals, the country's best-ever performance at the winter version of the biennial event.
"I really didn't expect any of this until I crossed the finish line," said the 21-year-old Scholten, who has been speedskating since he was seven. "I didn't do anything differently. It didn't even feel like a special day. I guess everything just fell into place."
The calibre of the competition at the World University Games tends to be somewhat below that found at other international championships, but speedskating was an exception, with several top skaters from Europe and Asia in the field. In fact, Scholten had to out-race 1998 Olympic champion Takafumi Nishitani of Japan to win his silver medal.
In the end, Concordia played a role in all four of Canada's medals. Stinger goalie Benoît Richard was a back-up on the bronze-medal- winning hockey team, and Mitch Baker, a silver medalist in snowboarding from Simon Fraser University, once attended Concordia.