Charles Hamelin & Marianne St-Gelais crowned 2016 vice world champions in Seoul

Seoul, South Korea, March 13, 2016 – The Canadian team earned multiple podium results on the last day of the 2016 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships held in Seoul, Sunday, as Marianne St-Gelais was crowned vice world champion in the women's overall standings while Charles Hamelin became vice world champion overall on the men's side, in addition to winning the 1000m world title ahead of his countryman, the silver medalist Samuel Girard.

In addition, Kasandra Bradette collected bronze in the women's 1000m and both Canadian relay teams collected silver.

The silver medal in overall standings tallied by Charles Hamelin tied his best-ever performances at World Championships, as he also finished second overall in 2007 and 2011. Furthermore, his world title in the 1000m, Sunday, allowed him to complete the career triple crown of distances, after winning the world title in the 1500m in 2014 as well as in the 500m in 2009.

Charles Hamelin's double podium result on an individual basis, Sunday, crowned a spectacular comeback by the Saint-Julie, QC, skater. He started the day in 11th place overall, after being eliminated in the 500m on Friday and being excluded from the podium in Saturday's 1500m.

"Obviously, I would have rather come up with better results on Friday and Saturday, because I lost a chance to earn some points there that could have allowed me to be in a better position to battle for the title today," said Charles Hamelin. "But I'm very happy with how I did today, and the way I came back."

Charles Hamelin started his comeback by winning the 1000m final ahead of Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, who therefore collected the silver medal, and China's Wu Dajing.

"Charles led the way in front and I was able to block two skaters, which allowed us to take control and make life hard for the others," said Samuel Girard. "Second behind Charles, that's great."

"I was a little surprised to finish somewhat ahead of the rest of the group, but that allowed me to savour the moment a little," said Charles Hamelin. "Knowing that Sam was second behind me, that was cool as well. Sam is improving with every competition and this won't be his last medal at World Championships. The fact that we finished 1-2 is not by chance, we deserved it after all the work we put in."

The two Canadiens therefore found themselves among the top eight in overall standings, which earned them spots in the 3000m Super Final and the opportunity to earn more points in pursuit of the overall title.

In the 3000m, Charles Hamelin finished third behing China's Han Tianyu and South Korea's Park Se Yeong, while Samuel Girard took eighth place. Hamelin therefore finished second overall behind Han Tianyu, while Girard ended up seventh to register his best performance in two World Championships so far over his career.

"After finishing 19th overall at last year's World Championships, I had some good races on the World Cup circuit this season and I'm seventh here, so that's a great improvement for me and I'll be looking to continue that trend next season," said Girard, age 19.

The last Canadian male skater to be crowned overall world champion was Marc Gagnon in 1998.

Charles Hamelin and Samuel Girard also helped the men's relay, which was also comprised of Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, and Sasha Fathoullin of Calgary, AB, to win silver, behind China and ahead of South Korea. François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, was also on the team.

This was the Canadian men's best result in the relay at the World Championships since the gold medal Charles Hamelin and Charle Cournoyer helped win in 2013.

"We had a great race and we showed that we're able to win at this level," said Hamelin. "Finishing second was like a win for us, considering the high level of the race. We showed that we're back on track, and that's a good sign for the upcoming seasons."

St-Gelais follows Maltais' footsteps
First overall after Saturday's races, Marianne St-Gelais had to settle for a spot in the 1000m B final and a fifth-place finish in the ensuing 3000m Super Final, Sunday, but it was still enough to earn the title of vice world champion – her best career ranking at World Championships – behind South Korea's Choi Minjeong and ahead of Great Britain's Elise Christie.

The Saint-Félicien skater, whose goals were to finish among the top three overall at these World Championships and to win a single-distance world title – she did it in the 1500m on Saturday – therefore came up with the best overall ranking by a Canadian female skater since Valérie Maltais was second overall at the 2012 World Championships.

"I would have liked to do better in the 1000m, a distance where I know I'm able to compete with the best skaters, but I'm still quite satisfied with my weekend," said Marianne St-Gelais. "I came here to win a world title, which I did in the 1500m, and to finish among the top-3 overall and I was second, so I did more than reach my goals."

The last Canadian to win the women's overall title was Nathalie Lambert in 1994.

Kasandra Bradette, who was skating in her second career World Championships, collected her first-ever medal at this competition by coming up with the bronze in the women's 1000m. She finished behind Choi Minjeong and Elise Christie. After coming in fifth in the 3000m, Bradette, of Saint-Félicien, QC, ended up eighth in overall standings.

"In the 1000m final, I had strong legs but I came in too close on Elise Christie when I tried to overtake her at the end, which slowed me down. But I'm still satisfied because I did the right things at the right times. I saw that I can be confident in what I can do," said Kasandra Bradette. "I'm a little bit disappointed with my 3000m race because I would have liked to stay sixth (overall), but eighth is still a great improvement compared to last year's World Championships (13th)."

Eliminated in the 1000m quarterfinals, Valérie Maltais of Saguenay (La Baie borough), QC, had to settle for 14th place overall.

Alongside Audrey Phaneuf of Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Marianne St-Gelais, Kasandra Bradette and Valérie Maltais then allowed Canada to collect silver in the relay, finishing behind South Korea and ahead of Russia. Namasthée Harris-Gauthier of Montreal (Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough), QC, who skated in Saturday's semifinal, also contribued to the podium result.

The women's relay therefore found its way back on the podium after a one-year absence. St-Gelais and Maltais helped Canada win silver at the 2014 World Championships in Montreal.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

Final overall ranking
W
Marianne St-Gelais: 2
Kasandra Bradette: 8
Valérie Maltais: 14

H
Charles Hamelin: 2
Samuel Girard: 7

1000m W
Kasandra Bradette: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
Marianne St-Gelais: B final (final ranking: 6)
Valérie Maltais: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 13)

1000m M
Charles Hamelin: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
Samuel Girard: silver medal (final ranking: 2)

3000m W
Marianne St-Gelais: 5
Kasandra Bradette: 8
3000m M
Charles Hamelin: 3
Samuel Girard: 8

Relay F
Canada: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
(Marianne St-Gelais, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, Audrey Phaneuf, Kasandra Bradette)

Relay M
Canada: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
(Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Sasha Fathoullin, Charle Cournoyer)

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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