Charles Hamelin & Valérie Maltais earn their first win at the 2018 Short Track Team Selections

Montreal, August 13, 2017 – Charles Hamelin and Valérie Maltais both came up with their first win of the 2018 Short Track Team Selections, Sunday, as they both came out on top in the second 1500m event of the competition, while Samuel Girard and Kim Boutin comforted their lead in the men's and women's standings, by notably winning the first 1000m of the Selections.
 
Samuel Girard, from Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, and Kim Boutin, from Sherbrooke, QC, also finished second in Sunday's 1500m, to sit first respectively in the men's and women's standings after the second day of competition at the Selections, after each winning both of Saturday's races (the 500m and the first 1500m of the competition).

Charles Hamelin, from Sainte-Julie, QC, won Sunday's 1500m after finishing third in the 1000m, earlier in the day, behind Charle Cournoyer from Boucherville, QC, who was second.

For her part, Valérie Maltais, from Saguenay (La Baie borough), QC, was second in Sunday's 1000m and then came out on top in the 1500m.

After the first two days of this competition where the first three skaters per gender will be named to the provisional Olympic team for the 2018 Games, Samuel Girard is therefore first on the men's side, while Charles Hamelin is second. Steven Dubois continued to be a surprise on Sunday, as he finished third in the 1500m to stay in third place overall for the second day in a row.

On the women's side, Kim Boutin improved her lead in first place overall, while Valérie Maltais took second place from Jamie Macdonald, of Fort St. James, B.C., who fell to third place after finishing third in both Sunday's races.

Less pressure for Girard and Hamelin
On the men's side, the Selections ranking points system allows Samuel Girard and Charles Hamelin to be in a good position to qualify.

In Sunday's 1000m, Samuel Girard won a race dominated by Charles Cournoyer, Charles Hamelin and he, as the trio put some distance between them and the rest of the pack with one lap and a half to go, and then skated way ahead to cross the line by several lengths over the other skaters. In the 1500m that followed, Hamelin overtook Girard cleanly with two laps to go, and then skated to victory.

“This is the kind of start to the competition I was looking for,” said Charles Hamelin, who is hoping to take part in his fourth career Olympics. “I earned a good total of points during these first two days, which means I will feel less pressure over the last three days of the competition.

“Now I'm sure to finish first or second in the distance,” said Charles Hamelin about the 1500m. “In today's 1500m, I didn't look to pull the race out in front for the entire race, we all did our share in that respect, and that allowed me to maintain enough energy to be able to battle at the end and in the last straight.”

Samuel Girard was also satisfied with his results so far at the Selections, even if the win eluded him by only a few inches in Sunday's 1500m.

“I collected a lot of points. The key in a competition like this one is consistency, and I've been consistent so far,” noted Samuel Girard, who is looking to qualify for his first-ever Olympics. “That gives me a quite big cushion in the standings. That lifts a weight from my shoulders, although I won't be resting on my laurels either. I'll continue to put emphasis on the basic points I need to execute, and that have allowed me to have success so far.

“I possibly could have managed my energy level better in the 1500m, but I must point out that I was skating with guys who are strong, who know how to read a race.”

Third in Sunday's 1500m far behind Charles Hamelin and Samuel Girard was Steven Dubois, who said he was more than satisfied with his results so far, which have put him third overall over the first two days of the competition.

“This is way above and beyond my expectations,” said the 20-year-old athlete from Lachenaie, QC, who is part of the Canadian development team. “I was aiming for top-8 results here, and hoping to qualify for maybe one or two A finals. But three out of four, that's something! I'm beginning to believe in my chances (of finishing among the top-3 overall) but at the same time, I don't want to believe it because I want to keep skating without feeling pressure. I realized that the key to having success is to skate without fear.”

Satisfying day for both Boutin and Maltais
Like Samuel Girard, Kim Boutin wasn't disappointed althought she came close to winning a fourth race in as many outings, Sunday, in the second 1500m event of the competition. Boutin did well to resist an attack by Maltais on her way to winning the 1000m, and she then kept pace behind Maltais and ahead of Macdonald in the 1500m to stay in the thick of things in an eight-skater final.

“I'm still quite satisfied. Four races in two days takes a toll on you. I must say as well that today's 1500m was quite fast, and I found myself at the back of the pack at one point, so I'm quite happy with second place,” said Boutin, who is vying to qualify for her first career Olympic Games. “Things are going great for me so far, so we'll build on that and we need to keep it up.”

Valérie Maltais, for her part, was quite happy with the fact that she improved her spot in the standings after settling for two fourth-place finishes in Saturday's races, a 500m and a 1500m.

“Although I wasn't satisfied with the results I got (on Saturday), I was happy with the way I felt physically, and that gave me confidence looking ahead to today's races,” said Valérie Maltais. “And today, I did indeed skate with confidence, there was no doubt whatsoever. When I saw that there would be eight skaters in the 1500m final, I knew the key would be to avoid being caught up at the back. I was able to stay in control.”

Racing will continue on Wednesday, August 16 at 7:50 p.m., with the second 500m event of the competition, both for the men and women. The races will then continue on Saturday, August 19 as of 1:50 p.m. and conclude on Sunday, August 20 as of 10:50 a.m. The complete schedule is available at www.speedskating.ca. Tickets are available at the gate for $10 per day for events to be held August 16 and 18, and for $15 on Sunday, August 20. Admission is free for kids 12 years of age and under.

Ranking after two days of competition (four races)
Women
(based on the selection ranking: including total points earned for the best two races of three, of the best two distances of three)
1. Kim Boutin        28 000 points
2. Valérie Maltais    23 120 points
3. Jamie Macdonald    22 400 points
4. Kasandra Bradette    14 069 points
5. Alyson Charles    12 493 points

Men
(first position: highest rank skater based on the best two races of three in the 500m and best two races of three in the 1000m)
*1. Samuel Girard    20 000 points
2. Charle Cournoyer    14 400 points
2. Charles Hamelin    14 400 points

* leader

(next skaters: based on the selection ranking including total points earned for the best two races of three, of the best two distances of three)
2. Charles Hamelin    26 000 points
3. Steven Dubois    15 616 points
4. Charle Cournoyer    14 400 points
5. François Hamelin    12 493 points

The schedule as well as full details are available at: http://www.speedskating.ca/.

About Speed Skating Canada
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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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