Canada concludes fall World Cups with 32 medals, including five on Sunday in Shanghai

Shanghai, December 13, 2015 – Marianne St-Gelais (silver in the 500m), Valérie Maltais (silver in the 1500m (2)), Samuel Girard (bronze in the 500m) as well as the women's (silver) and the men's (bronze) relays all came up with podium finishes, Sunday, for a tally of five medals for Canada on the last day of the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating competition held in Shanghai, China.

The national short track team therefore concludes its stay in Shanghai with a total of eight medals, which also includes three medals collected on Saturday, i.e. gold for Valérie Maltais (1000m) and Charles Hamelin (1500m (1)) as well as bronze for Charles Cournoyer (1000m). The total of 12 individual medals over the two Asian stages stops short, however, of the Canadian team's goal of 16 medals for the World Cups held in Nagoya, Japan – last week –, and Shanghai.

Canada finishes up the fall portion of the season with a tally of 32 medals, which means that the Canadian team is well on its way to surpassing the total of 38 from the 2011-2012 season. Two more World Cup stages are scheduled, after the Christmas break.

On Sunday, Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, didn't waste any time in returning to her usual spot on the podium. She was kept away from a podium on Saturday for the first time this season in an individual event. St-Gelais won silver in Sunday's 500m to earn her seventh medal in eight individual events so far this season.

China's Kexin Fan and Chunyu Qu respectively won gold and bronze.

“I felt good out there today, as I did Saturday,” said Marianne St-Gelais. “But yesterday, I was a little disappointed with my fall because I felt I could have made it to the podium. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.”

“In today's final, not only did I have a Korean and a Chinese skater to deal with behind me, but there was also Chinese skater Kexin Fan in front of me. I was able to control my spot in second place. It's true that I didn't win, but being able to maintain second position in a race where the level was so high, it's quite satisfying.”

In the men's 500m, Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, also came up with a podium result as he collected bronze. He finished behind China's Dajing Wu and Dutch skater Sjinkie Knegt.

After having a hard time at the World Cup season's third stage last week in Nagoya, Japan, where he did not win a medal, the 19-year-old skater made amends in China as he reached his two goals: win a medal and participate in the A final of his other event, which he did in Saturday's 1000m.

“I'm happy! I skidded a little bit but I was able to control it and I came up with a big finish at the end. This third-place result means I have a medal of every colour so far this season,” pointed out Girard, alluding the gold (500m) and silver (1000m) medals he picked up earlier this season.

Two for two weekend for Valérie Maltais
After winning her second career individual gold medal in Saturday's 1000m – her first since October 2012 –, Valérie Maltais of La Baie, QC, again stepped up on the podium following a silver medal earned in the weekend's second 1500m. She skated to second place between two South Korean skaters, Suk Hee Shim and Alang Kim.

“I overtook on the inside and it took me a lot of time and energy to get to first place,” explained Valérie Maltais. “Once I found myself in front, I was able to stay there until the last lap. I really gave it my all but at the end, it was a really fast race and I had trouble maintaining my energy level. But I was able to protect second place and I'm happy about that. I will cherish this silver medal. Personally, this was one the best days – and one of the best weekends – of my career.”

Namasthée Harris-Gauthier of Montreal (Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie borough), QC, for her part, came up with her best performance so far on the World Cup circuit as she qualified for the A final of an individual event for the first time. She finished sixth in Sunday's 1500m (2).

“My final didn't go as well as my semifinal,” admitted Namasthée Harris-Gauthier. “I tried some things and went up front, but I spent too much energy in trying to overtake on the outside and go up front. I learned a lot of things and it's already a big improvement for me to skate in the A final of an event.”

Two medals in the relay
The Canadian team added two medals for the day as the women's relay won silver and the men's relay, a bronze.

On the women's side, St-Gelais, Maltais, Kasandra Bradette of Saint-Félicien, QC, and Audrey Phaneuf of Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, saw their second-place finish confirmed after study of the video footage, in order to examine a contact between Canada and the Chinese squad. China ended being penalized. South Korea won gold while the Netherlands were awarded bronze.

On the men's side, a Chinese skater lost his footing during a turn, bringing Samuel Girard along with him on the wall with 22 laps to go. The Canadian squad, which was also comprised of Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, Samuel Girard, Patrick Duffy of Oakville, ON, and Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, did not give up however and came back to collect bronze, behind Hungary and Italy.

In his individual event, Charles Hamelin saw his road in the 1500m (2) event end at the quarterfinal stage, due to a fall.

“I tried to overtake on the outside in order to come back inside at the end of a turn and my left boot touched the ice, and I ended up in the wall. It was really a technical mistake on my part,” explained Charles Hamelin.
 
Pascal Dion of Montreal (Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles borough), QC, who was skating in his second career World Cup, won the 1500m (2) B final and thus came up with his best result so far. He finished ahead of his teammate Patrick Duffy, who was second.

But it was his performance in the semifinal that Pascal Dion was most proud of.

“It was the first time that I invested myself to that extent in a race,” admitted the 21-yeard-old skater. “Usually, I'm not the one who initiates things. I will overtake when it's easy but today, I came up big on one occasion when I went by a skater and it gave me momentum for the race. After that, I was really confident for the B final, because I had just had a good race alongside two good skaters (Yoon-Gy Kwak of South Korea and Tianyu Han of China), who I was able to keep up with until the end. With one lap to go (in the final), I was third but I overtook on the outside and ended up first, two or three meters ahead.”
 
The fall portion of the World Cup season is now over and the Canadian short track skaters will now start preparing for the Canadian Senior Championships, slated for January 15-17 in Montreal. This competition will serve as a selection process for the two winter World Cups, set to take place in Dresden, Germany, February 5-7, and in Dordrecht, Netherlands, February 12-14, as well as for the Short Track World Championships to be held Mars 11-13 in Seoul, South Korea.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:

500m F
-Marianne St-Gelais: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
-Audrey Phaneuf: 3rd in the B final (final ranking : 7)
-Kasandra Bradette: 3rd in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 11)

1500m (2) W
-Valérie Maltais: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
-Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: 5th in the A final (final ranking: 6)
-Kim Boutin: 4th in the B final (final ranking: 11)

500m M
-Samuel Girard: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
-Charle Cournoyer: 3rd in the quarterfinals (final ranking: 10)
-François Hamelin: withdrawal in the repechage (final ranking: 44)

Relay W
-Canada: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
(Marianne St-Gelais, Kasandra Bradette, Valérie Maltais, Audrey Phaneuf, Kim Boutin, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier)

Relay M
-Canada: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
(Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Patrick Duffy, Charle Cournoyer)

1500m (2) M
-Pascal Dion: 1st in the B final (final ranking: 7)
-Patrick Duffy: 2nd in the B final (final ranking: 8)
-Charles Hamelin: 7th in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 19)

More information is 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 and Samsung, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

- 30 -

For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC