Canada wins six medals to conclude short track World Cup in Shanghai

Five Canadian skaters earn their first career World Cup medal

The Canadian short track speed skating team earned a medal in each of the six races held on Sunday at the ISU World Cup, as Charles Hamelin won gold and five of his teammates collected their first-ever medal on the World Cup circuit.

Hamelin won gold in the men's 1000m while Marianne St-Gelais picked up a bronze medal in the women's 1000m; William Preudhomme, of Toronto, ON, on the men's side, and Kasandra Bradette, of Saint-Félicien, QC, in the women's event, both collected bronze in the 500m; and both relays also won bronze, Sunday, in Shanghai.

Canada therefore concluded the third weekend of the World Cup season with a total of eight medals, with a young team comprised of eight athletes out of 12 who have taken part in six World Cups or less throughout their careers, including five women out of six. This is the best tally by Canada in three World Cup weekends this season. This weekend's eight medals is Canada's highest total since the 2012 Montreal World Cup, when the Canadian team came up with a total of 12 medals, including eight on the last day.

The Canadian team has won 14 medals so far this season on the World Cup circuit and will now travel to Seoul, South Korea, for the fourth weekend of competition, to take place next week, Dec. 19-21.

Hamelin earned his first gold medal of the season by finishing first in the men's 1000m with a time of one minute 23,537 seconds, which allowed him to finish ahead of Sjinkic Knegti of the Netherlands (1:23.595) and Hungary's Shaolin Sandor Liu (1:23.788).

The veteran skater from Sainte-Julie, QC, has now won three individual medals this World Cup season. It was his second of the weekend, after he collected the silver medal in Saturday's 1500m race.

“I was able to skate smartly, to overtake effectively and in the right moments, and I had the energy to attack until the end”, said Hamelin. “Everything went very well.”

St-Gelais, of Saint-Félicien, QC, won her fifth individual medal of the World Cup season, and second this weekend, by collecting bronze in the women's 1000m with a time of 1:30.196, just ahead of China's Han Yutong, fourth in 1:30.511. It was a tight race, as South Koreans Hoi Minjeong and Shim Suk Hee respectively finished first and second in 1:29.959 and 1:30.461.
                                                                                                                                           
St-Gelais also won silver, Saturday, in the first women's 500m race of the weekend in Shanghai.

“I made the mistake of getting back in the third spot after overtaking and I was fourth for a great part of the race, but I said to myself that I was going to prepare something for the end”, said St-Gelais. “And on the last turn, I did start to overtake on the inside, it was close between me and Yutong – there were some hands, some arms and lot of things! - but I was finally able to pull up to third place.”
 
First individual World Cup career medals for Bradette and Preudhomme
Kasandra Bradette and William Preudhomme both earned their first career individual medal on the World Cup circuit.

Bradette, a 25-year-old skater from Saint-Félicien, QC, finished third in 44.602, following a close race, as China's Li Hongshuang and Lin Yue respectively finished first (44.247) and second (44.323).
 
Bradette came close to a podium in 2012, when she finished fourth in a 500m race. She did not line up with the Canadian team after the 2011-12 season, until this fall, due to injury.

“I was tense because I was up against three Chinese skaters. I knew I had to have a good start and I did, and I ended up third, but the two Chinese skaters in front of me were zig-zagging in the straights to prevent me from overtaking”, explained Bradette. “I came close to losing third place when I came in a bit too much on the outside on a turn, and the other Chinese skater tried to come in out of nowhere, but she fell. I'm happy with third place, but I still have to improve some things.”

Toronto's Preudhomme collected bronze in 41.311, behind Russia's Dmitry Migunov (40.702) and John-Henry Krueger of the United States (40.799).

This was his first-ever World Cup, after being called up to replace an injured Sasha Alexander Fathoullin. On the way to bronze, he registered two personal best times in repechage heats.

“It was a really long day, but I'm really happy with how things went”, said Preudhomme. “After not doing so well in the 500m on Friday, I knew I had to redeem myself. Making a couple of best times gave me confidence. The final was a fast race, but I hung with it and ended up third.”
 
Two relay medals; first career medals for Girard, Harris-Gauthier and Phaneuf
Samuel Girard, of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, helped the Canadian relay win bronze along with Charles and François Hamelin as well as Patrick Duffy, of Oakville, Ont. It was Canada's first medal in that event since Dec. 21, 2013. Canada, on that day, won gold at the World Cup in Torino, Italy.

The men's relay finished the 5000m race in 6:51.062, behind South Korea (6:45.305) and the Netherlands (6:46.102).

Charles Cournoyer, of Boucherville, QC, who skated in the relay team in the semi-finals, earned his first medal of the season, after missing the first two World Cup weekends due to injury.

The women's relay, comprised of St-Gelais, Bradette, Kim Boutin, of Sherbrooke, QC and Joanie Gervais, of Saguenay, QC, finished third in 4:11.102, just ahead of the Russians (4:11.734). South Korea won gold in 4:08.831 and China picked up silver in 4:08.933.
 
Audrey Phaneuf, of Boucherville, QC, and Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, of Montreal, who took part in earlier rounds of the relay event, won their first career World Cup medal, in their first-ever participation at this event. Phaneuf also finished fourth in the 500m B final, good for 8th place overall.

Today’s Canadian results:
500m (2) M
-William Preudhomme: bronze medal
-Charle Cournoyer: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (overall ranking: 14)
-Patrick Duffy: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (overall ranking: 15)

1000m M
-Charles Hamelin: gold medal
-Samuel Girard: 5th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (overall ranking: 18)
-François Hamelin: 4th in the repechage quarterfinals and eliminated (overall ranking: 28)
 
Men Relay
Bronze medal (Patrick Duffy, Samuel Girard, Charles Hamelin, François Hamelin)
 
500m (2) W
-Kasandra Bradette: bronze medal
-Audrey Phaneuf: 4th in the B final (overall ranking: 8)
-Joanie Gervais: penalty in the repechage quarterfinals and eliminated (overall ranking: 26)
 
1000m W
-Marianne St-Gelais: bronze medal
-Kim Boutin: 3rd in the B final (penalty) (overall ranking: 7)
-Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: 3rd in the quarterfinals and eliminated (overall ranking: 11)

Women Relay
Bronze medal (Marianne St-Gelais, Kim Boutin, Joanie Gervais, Kasandra Bradette)

More information, including the complete schedule, can be found through 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 13,000 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 sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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Jeff MacKinnon   
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