A perfect day for Alyson Charles, Gibson Himbeault & Marco Schumann at ISU World Junior Short Track Championships 2017

Innsbruck, Austria, January 27, 2017 – Alyson Charles, Gibson Himbeault and Marco Schumann all qualified for the following rounds in each of their three individual events, Friday, on the first day of the 2017 ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships to be held until Sunday in Innsbruck, Austria.
 
Taking part in her third World Junior Championships, 2017 Canadian junior champion Alyson Charles of Montreal (Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough), QC, qualified for the 1500m semifinals as well as for the qualifying rounds in the 500m and 1000m events, which are slated for Saturday and Sunday.
 
“I felt really good,” said Alyson Charles, who came within approximately two tenths of a second away from breaking her Canadian junior record in the 1000m on Friday. “I was a little tense, but I think things went well after the first race. It gave me confidence for the two other distances. On Saturday, I'll try to maintaim that momentum and I may make some minor tactical adjustments. I'll try to remain calm, to race like I did today, to take it one race at a time and to study who I will be skating against. But I won't be looking to adjust to others. I want to make things happen.”

“Compared to last year, the biggest difference is me,” added Charles, who finished 9th overall at last year's World Junior Championships. “I think I am more ready, physically and mentally. I've improved a lot tactically, including on how to block and to pass. I know I can be even better.”
 
Gibson Himbeault of Whitby, ON, and Marco Schumann from Saskatoon, SK, who are skating in their first-ever World Junior Championships, also remained in the hunt for a podium finish in all three of their individual events.
 
“It was a good day! I feel I definitively worked myself pretty hard,” said Gibson Himbeault. “I was feeling a little bit sore today and I didn't really expect too much. I was just going into races one at a time, and waiting to see what would happen. It seems it worked out for me! This weekend, I'll try to keep the same attitude. One of my goals would be to make it to an A final.”
 
“This is my first time outside of North America,” added Himbeault. “Austria is absolutely amazing. It's really cool to race against all these people. You don't really know what their style is. You go into a race and you don't know what to expect at all, which is cool and different.”
 
“It was fun and different from skating in Calgary,” pointed out Marco Schumann, who trains at that city's Olympic Oval. “I didn’t know what to expect, so I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. I’m pretty happy with my races and I got to learn a bit. I made a couple of mistakes. Tomorrow, I’ll need to stay aware and not let other skaters go by me without reacting. I think I can do well in all the events over the rest of the weekend!”
 
Reigning Canadian junior champion Marc-Olivier Lemay of Montreal (Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles borough), QC, as well as Renee Steenge of Brampton, ON, qualified for the finals rounds of the 500m and 1000m events. In the 1500m, Lemay was fifth while Steenge was third in the heats, meaning they will skate in Saturday's ranking races.
 
For her part, Courtney Sarault of Moncton, N.B., saw her medal hopes in the 500m and 1500m end on Friday, as she was eliminated in the elimination rounds. She made up for it in the 1000m, however, as she won her race in the preliminary round in that distance, meaning she will skate in Sunday's qualification round. Sarault will take part in the 500m and 1500m ranking races on Saturday.
 
In the women's relay, Danaé Blais of Châteauguay, QC, Charles, Sarault and Steenge qualified for Saturday's semifinal round after winning their qualification race on Friday.
 
The men's relay saw their competition end on Friday after settling for fourth place in the qualification round, resulting from a fall that occurred towards the middle of the race. Maxime Raymond-Chitaya of Montreal (Le Plateau-Mont-Royal borough), QC, Lemay, Himbeault and Schumann were representing Canada in this event.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m W
Renee Steenge: 1st in the prelims and will take part in the heats Saturday
Alyson Charles: 1st in the prelims and will take part in the heats Saturday
Courtney Sarault: 5th in the prelims and will take part in the ranking races Saturday

500m M
Marc-Olivier Lemay: 1st in the prelims and will take part in the heats Saturday
Marco Schumann: 2nd in the prelims and will take part in the heats Saturday
Gibson Himbeault: 2nd in the prelims and will take part in the heats Saturday

1000m W
Courtney Sarault: 1st in the prelims and will take part in the heats Sunday
Alyson Charles: 2nd in the prelims and will take part in the heats Sunday
Renee Steenge: 3rd in the prelims but will take part in the heats Sunday as one of the seven fastest third place skaters

1000m M
Marc-Olivier Lemay: 1st in the prelims and will take part in the heats Sunday
Marco Schumann: 1st in the prelims and will take part in the heats Sunday
Gibson Himbeault: 2nd in the prelims and will take part in the heats Sunday

1500m W
Alyson Charles: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Renee Steenge: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the ranking races Saturday
Courtney Sarault: 5th in the heats and will take part in the ranking races Saturday

1500m M
Gibson Himbeault: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Marco Schumann: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Marc-Olivier Lemay: 5th in the heats and will take part in the ranking races Saturday

Relay W
Canada: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
(Danaé Blais, Alyson Charles, Courtney Sarault, Renee Steenge)

Relay M
Canada: 4th in the heats and eliminated
(Maxime Raymond-Chitaya, Gibson Himbeault, Marco Schumann, Marc-Olivier Lemay)
 
More details are available on Speed Skating Canada's website at  www.speedskating.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
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