Charles Hamelin & St-Gelais win gold, Cournoyer earns bronze at World Cup held in Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany, February 6, 2016 – Charles Hamelin and Marianne St-Gelais skated ahead of the pack from start to finish in their respective 1000m finals on the way to winning gold, while Charle Cournoyer earned bronze in the same distance, Saturday, at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating event held over the weekend in Dresden, Germany.

In the men's 1000m, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, was able to block Semen Elistratov's way when the Russian skater tried to overtake him with half a lap to go, and he went on to collect his fifth medal in five World Cup stages so far this season – all in gold. In the quarterfinals, Elistratov showed to what extent he had pace as he set a new world record with a time of 1:22.607.

“We saw a lot of speed in today's races,” noted Charles Hamelin, who has won all the races he has skated in so far this weekend.

“In the final, Charle Cournoyer and I skated in front for a good part of the race. (Semen) Elistratov was able to overtake to find himself in second place. I remembered what my coach Derrick Campell told me, which was to be aware of Elistratov, who likes to overtake inside at unexpected times towards the end of a race. So I waited for the right time and I placed myself in front of him, inside, and was able to go on to win the gold medal.”

Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, won the bronze medal, meaning he now has won four individual medals this season.

“It was a very good day for me. I battled with two great skaters in Charles (Hamelin) and Semen Elistratov in the final,” pointed out Charle Cournoyer. “I really focused on each race, one at a time. I was reacting to what was happening and I had a lot more confidence in what I can do, which allowed me to get some good results.”

Ninth medal for St-Gelais, first A final for MacDonald
In the women's 1000m, Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, also controlled the final until the end, which allowed her to come up with her 9th individual medal – and second gold – out of the 10 finals she has taken part in so far this season.

Althought the final seemed to be easy for St-Gelais, the road to reach it was significantly harder. In the quarterfinals, St-Gelais, Jamie MacDonald of Fort St. James, B.C., and Valérie Maltais of La Baie, QC, were advanced to the following round by the officials to earn a spot in the semifinals.

“I was quite lucky in the quarterfinals to get advanced in the following round. I made a mistake that was completely my fault,” admitted St-Gelais. “I took advantage of that opportunity to try and be better. I didn't want to commit the same mistakes and so I raced in a different way. The final may have seemed easy, but it was relatively fast. I had good legs and the right opponents to go get the win in that race.”

St-Gelais was one of two Canadians to qualify for the final, along with Jamie MacDonald. MacDonald initially finished that race in third position, which would have earned her the first individual medal of her career at her third ever World Cup stage, but she was penalized by the officials after attempting to overtake the skater in front of her with one lap to go. That skater, China's Jiaying Tao, went on to win silver.

“I was third with a couple of laps left, but I wanted to try and set up a pass,”said MacDonald. “I didn’t want to sit there. I would have gotten a bronze, but I’m happy with the fact that I was able to try something. I’m not disappointed; it was a good race. I’m happy about it. I’m happy that I tried something and went for it.”

Her fifth-place finish in final standings in that event remains nonetheless Jamie MacDonald's best-ever result. MacDonald had to go through the repechage heats in the morning to reach the final rounds, as did Audrey Phaneuf of Saint-Hyacinthe in the 1500m (1), who was eliminated in the seminals.

A near podium finish in the 1500m
In the 1500m, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier of Montreal (Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie borough), QC, and François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC both came close to ending up on the podium.
Namasthée Harris-Gauthier came up with her best-ever performance at a World Cup by finishing fourth in a high-level final that also included Great Britain's Elise Christie as well as South Korea's Minjeong Choi and Kim Alang. The three skaters ended up on the podium in that order.

“Fourth place is great, but I'm still a bit disappointed about not coming up with my first medal,” admitted Namasthée Harris-Gauthier. “I would have liked to be able to battle a bit more with the top three skaters, but it is true that it would have been gard to catch up to them. Still, I would have liked to be a bit closer to them. I still gained some experience and I hope that next time, things will go much better. I'm on an upward curve.”

In the men's 1500m final, François Hamelin fell with a little more than one lap to go as he was battling for third position, but ended up being penalized.

“It's frustrating for sure! I was on my way to a good race and I was well-placed,” pointed out François Hamelin. “The positive from all this is that I was again in a A final and in the game to get a medal. As for Sunday's 1500m, I will build on what went well today and try to avoid falling in the same traps as today.”

In the women's relay, a great performance by Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Kasandra Bradette and Jamie MacDonald was wiped out by a penalty that led to the Canadian team's elimination. The Canadians had managed to get ahead of South Korea, the overall standing leaders, Hungary and Japan. As did Canada towards the middle of the relay race, South Korea was penalized and eliminated for trying to overtake a Hungarian skater inside.

In the men's relay, Charles and François Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer and Samuel Girard won their semifinal heat, ahead of Russia, to earn a spot in Sunday's final.

Scheduled on Sunday are the 500m and 1500m (2) final rounds, in addition to the relay finals.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

1000m W
Marianne St-Gelais: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
Jamie MacDonald: penalty in the A final (final ranking: 5)
Valérie Maltais: first in the B Final (final ranking: 6)

1000m M
Charles Hamelin: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
Charle Cournoyer: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
Sasha Fathoullin: B Final – no race as only two skaters (final ranking: 7)

1500m (1) W
Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: fourth in the A final (overall ranking: 4)
Kasandra Bradette: third in the B Final (final ranking: 9)
Audrey Phaneuf: sixth in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 16)

1500m (1) M
François Hamelin: penalty in the A Final (final ranking: 5)
Samuel Girard: second in the B Final (final ranking: 8)
William Preudhomme: did not take part in the repechage and eliminated (final ranking: 50)

Relay W
Canada: penalty in the semifinals and eliminated
(Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Jamie MacDonald, Kasandra Bradette - Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, Audrey Phaneuf)

Relay M
Canada: first in the semifinals and will take part in the A Final Sunday
(François Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer – Sasha Fathoullin)

More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
    
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