Canada earns 16 direct spots in final rounds at ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships

Rotterdam, Netherlands, March 10, 2017 – The Canadian short track speed skating team qualified directly for 16 spots out of a possible total of 18 in the qualification rounds toward the final ones of the races scheduled at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Among the six skaters on the Canadian team taking part in individual events, only Kim Boutin of Sherbooke, QC, didn’t qualify for the final rounds in the 500m and in the 1000m, since she got penalized in the heats in the 500m to be eliminated and finished third in the heats in the 1000m. She qualified for the 1500m quarterfinals to be held Sunday and will take part in the 1000m ranking races Sunday morning.
 
Marianne St-Gelais placed first in her 500m, 1000m and 1500m heats on Friday.

The skater from Saint-Félicien, QC, is looking to improve upon last year’s runner-up position in the overall standings at last year’s worlds and she couldn’t have asked for a better start to the competition.

"I kept my focus on today’s races and I’m very satisfied with my performances," said St-Gelais with eight medals in ten individual events this season on the World Cup circuit this season.  "Now the competition is really going to heat up and I want to get the most points possible in the next races.”

"The overall title is something I really want”, added St-Gelais who won the 1500m World Title as well as a silver medal in the 500m last year in Seoul, South Korea.

The three-time Olympic silver medallist admits she felt a little nervous going into the competition.

"It’s always a bit stressful when you compete at the worlds," she said. "We don’t know how well prepared your opponents are but I know that I’m very fit and it showed on the ice today."

Marie-Ève Drolet of Saguenay, Que., also advanced in all three races winning her 1000m heat, placing second in her 500m and third in her 1500m.

"I’m very happy and I skated really well," said Drolet, at her first world championships since 2014. “There were many things different from the last time I was here but I felt I was very well prepared for a long day like this."

On the men’s side, three-time Olympic champion Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., and Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, Que., all advanced in their three races – the 500m, 1000m and 1500m.

"I achieved all my goals for the day," said Hamelin, who won four of his five heats on the day (there were two qualifying heats in the 500m and 1000m). "The ice at times was a bit difficult to manage but I was able to adapt."

Girard was first in two heats and second in three others on the day.

"There are small areas I need to work on but overall a good day for me," said Girard. "I was particularly pleased with how I was able to recover from each of my races despite it being a long day of competition."

Cournoyer was also first in two heats and second in the other three.

Competition continues Saturday with the final rounds in the 1500m and 500m as well as the semifinals for the relay events.

Broadcast on CBC and Radio-Canada
The Canadian team's performances will be broadcast on CBC on Sunday, March 12, from 2 pm to 3 pm. Races are webcast live at www.cbcsports.ca as well as at www.ici.radio-canada.ca/sports and on the ISU Skating Channel at http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/isu/.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m W
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Kim Boutin: penalty in the heats and eliminated
Marie-Ève Drolet: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

500m M
Charle Cournoyer: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Samuel Girard: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Charles Hamelin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

1000m W
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Kim Boutin: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the ranking races Sunday
Marie-Ève Drolet: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

1000m M
Charle Cournoyer: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Samuel Girard: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Charles Hamelin: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

1500m W
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Kim Boutin: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Marie-Ève Drolet: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday

1500m M
Charle Cournoyer: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Samuel Girard: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Charles Hamelin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
 
More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: 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.

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