Canada remains undefeated in men's relay this season on the ISU World Cup Short Track circuit

Dordrecht, Netherlands, October 8, 2017 – The Canadian men's relay team won its second consecutive gold medal on the World Cup circuit while Samuel Girard earned his second individual medal of the weekend – silver in the men's 1000m – and the women's relay came up with bronze, Sunday, on the last day of the ISU World Cup held in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
 
With these three medals, which come on the heels of the five individual medals won on Saturday, Canada's provisional Olympic team therefore left Dordrecht with a tally of eight medals.
 
In the men's relay, Canada repeated its result from the previous week in Hungary, where the first stage of the 2017-2018 World Cup season was held, by coming up with another gold medal. This time, the win came following a hard battle with the Netherlands, which had to settle for silver. China collected bronze.
 
Canada is therefore undefeated in two World Cup stages so far this season and tops the men's relay overall standings. This is the first time since the fall of 2013 that Canada has won gold in the men's relay in two consecutive World Cup stages.
 
“After winning our first gold medal since November 2015, last week, the bar was high to return with another peak performance and stay on top,” noted Samuel Girard from Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, who, on Sunday, skated the relay with Charles Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, QC, Charle Cournoyer from Boucherville, QC, and Pascal Dion from Montreal. QC.
 
“We came on the ice ready to battle against all these strong countries and we executed our plan like we needed to. It was a tight race at the finish line, but we dominated over the last few laps. This is another good, strong win for us.”
 
François Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, QC, and Steven Dubois from Lachenaie, QC, also skated in previous rounds of the relay event. Dubois therefore won his first career medal on the World Cup circuit.

So close to beating the South Koreans
In the women's relay, Kasandra Bradette and Marianne St-Gelais, both from Saint-Félicien, QC, Valérie Maltais from Saguenay, QC, and Jamie Macdonald from Fort St. James, B.C., came close to beating the powerful South Korean team, but ended up having to settle for the bronze medal.
 
The Canadian women were leading with two laps to go, but then saw China and South Korea overtake them and go on to win gold and silver, respectively.
 
“We're very happy with how we raced today,” said Valérie Maltais, who was the top Canadian female skater of the day in individual racing, Sunday, as she won the 1000m B final.
 
“That was the first time that we found ourselves in such a tight race and were able to control it,” noted Maltais. “I don't remember the last time we were ahead and in control like this with two laps to go. It's a sign that the day where we will beat the South Koreans is coming and that we're on the right track. It's going to happen sometime soon and we're looking forward to doing that in Asia!”

“Our goal over the last three years was to allow the skater that finishes (the relay) to be out in front for the last two laps,” explained Frédéric Blackburn, coach of the Canadian women's team. “This is the first time we've been able to do that and it hadn't happened in ten years. Some great teamwork was done to get us to this point. This is the first step and now, there are more steps to reach.”

Kim Boutin also took part in earlier rounds of the women's relay.
 
Samuel Girard comes up with his 2nd individual medal
On the men's side, Samuel Girard was the only Canadian to reach the 1000m A final, Sunday, ending up with silver. Dutch skater Sjinkie Knegt, who won gold, and South Korea's Yi Ra Seo, who picked up silver, also ended up on the podium.
 
“I skated out in front in the final, so I burned up a lot of energy,” pointed out Girard. “Sjinkie (Knegt) came up really fast and overtook me. I was able to maintain second spot, however. These are points that qualify the country for the Olympics and that's the important thing, more so than the medals, so I'm very happy to contribute.”
 
Girard, who won gold in Saturday's 500m, therefore left the Netherlands with two individual medals after being shut out from the podium in last week's first World Cup stage of the season, held in Hungary.
 
“It's a strong return to form,” stated Girard. “It's encouraging, especially after finishing third at last spring's World Championships, to see than I can come back this season, continue at the same pace and feel just as good out there on the ice. Now it's about keeping it up, returning to training and coming back even stronger in Asia.”
 
The Canadian team will now travel back home to prepare for the second and last portion of the World Cup season, which will kick off with the stage slated November 9-12 in Shanghai, China.

More details are available on Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

1000m W
Valérie Maltais: 1st in the B Final (final ranking: 5)
Marianne St-Gelais: did not skate in the B Final (final ranking: 8)
Kim Boutin: 5th in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 9)

1000m M
Samuel Girard: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
Charles Hamelin: 1st in the B Final (final ranking: 5)
Charle Cournoyer: fall and penalty in the quarterfinals to finish 5th and eliminated (final ranking: 21)

Relay W
Canada: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
(Kasandra Bradette, Jamie Macdonald, Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Kim Boutin)

Relay M
Canada: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
(Samuel Girard, Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer, Pascal Dion, François Hamelin, Steven Dubois)

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Speed Skating Canada is committed to Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating. 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. www.speedskating.ca

Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:

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