Canada wins three medals in 500m distance at World Cup Short Track in Nagoya, Japan

Nagoya, Japan, December 5, 2015 – The Canadian Short Track Speed Skating Team came up with three podium finishes in the 500m distance, Saturday, at the ISU World Cup held in Nagoya, Japan. Charles Hamelin and François Hamelin respectively won gold and bronze in the men's final, while Marianne St-Gelais earned bronze in the women's race to collect her fifth medal in as many individual events so far this World Cup season.

Charles Hamelin (41.016) of Sainte-Julie, QC, finished ahead of South Korea's Kwak Yoon-Gy (41.017) by one thousandth of a second to come up with his second consecutive gold medal in the 500m. He also stepped on top of the podium in that distance at the Toronto stage.

“I had a slight moment of panic at the end when the Korean skater came inside and I needed a photo finish to confirm the win. You don't win a race by one thousandth of a second every day, but I'll take it when it happens! Especially when you consider I was in a final with my brother, I was happy about that,” said Charles, the elder brother.

As for François Hamelin, who skated to a time of 41.899, the bronze was a second medal of that colour in as many World Cups for the Sainte-Julie, QC, skater. At the Toronto stage, he won bronze in the 1500m.

“After having one of my best-ever 500m races earlier in the day, let's say I didn't come up with one of my best performances in the final, but it still ended up in a podium,” he said. “I again proved to myself that I'm back among the top skaters in the world. Two podium finishes in five races this season, for me, that's probably my best stretch ever. It's quite encouraging and a lot of fun!”

The last time Charles and François Hamelin had ended up together on the same podium in an individual event was at the second stage of the 2008-2009 World Cup season, in Vancouver. Like they did Saturday, Charles won gold and François earned bronze, but in the 1000m distance.

Marianne St-Gelais goes five for five
On the women's side, Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, extended her streak of podium finishes with a bronze in the 500m (44.579). She now has won five medals in five individual events so far this World Cup season, including three in the 500m distance.

China's Fan Kexin (44.078) and Great Britain's Elise Christie (44.224) finished ahead of the Canadian to respectively win gold and silver.

“Already, in the quarterfinals, I knew it was going to be a good day. It was a high-calibre final with Elise Christie, and I knew it would be a fast race,” said St-Gelais. “But in the final, Polish skater Natalia Maliszewska tried to overtake me and forced me to make a very wide turn. The only thing I was thinking about at that point was to avoid falling. I even held on to Elise (Christie) and I was afraid we would both fall. I was pushed back to fourth place. With two laps to go, I was able to overtake the Polish skater but my race was over.”

“It's very disappointing because I train to be able to go head to head with the top skaters and I wasn't able to do that in today's final. I'm still happy with my result, but I'm disappointed I wasn't able to be up front with the others and to savour the race today. But there will be other finals.”

Maltais and Girard in A finals
In the women's 1500m, Valérie Maltais of La Baie, QC, was fourth, finishing behind three South Korean skaters.

“I raced to try and win it, like I always do, by positioning myself to react quickly to the other skaters' moves. I lacked a little speed towards the end, but I'm still happy with my race,” said Maltais.
In the men's 1500m, Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, was the only Canadian in the A final and he finished fifth.

The men's and women's Canadian relay teams both qualified for Sunday's A finals by each finishing second in their semifinal heat, Saturday.

The Canadian skaters taking part in Satruday's events were Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, and Patrick Duffy of Oakville, ON, on the men's side, as well as Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, QC, and Kasandra Bradette of Saint-Félicien, QC, on the women's side.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:

500m (1) M
-Charles Hamelin: gold medal (overall ranking: 1)
-François Hamelin: bronze medal (overall ranking: 3)
-Pascal Dion: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (overall ranking: 13)

500m (1) W
-Marianne St-Gelais: bronze medal (overall ranking: 3)
-Kasandra Bradette: 2nd in the B Final (overall ranking: 6)
-Audrey Phaneuf: 4th in the B Final (overall ranking: 8)

1500m M
-Samuel Girard: 5th in the A Final (overall ranking: 5)
-Charle Cournoyer: 2nd in the B Final (overall ranking: 9)
-Patrick Duffy: penalty in the B Final (overall ranking: 14)

1500m W
-Valérie Maltais: 4th in the A Final (overall ranking: 4)
-Kim Boutin: 1st in the B Final (overall ranking: 7)
-Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: 3rd in the B Final (overall ranking: 9)

Relay M
-Canada: 2nd in the semifinals and will take part in the A Final Sunday
(Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer, Samuel Girard, Patrick Duffy)

Relay W
-Canada: 2nd in the semifinals and will take part in the A Final Sunday
(Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Kim Boutin, Kasandra Bradette)

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.

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
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