Charles Hamelin, Cournoyer, Macdonald & Bradette qualify for PyeongChang on last day of 2018 Short Track Team Selections

Montreal, August 20, 2017 – Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer, Jamie Macdonald and Kasandra Bradette qualified for the provisional short track team that will compete at the 2018 Olympic Games, Sunday, on the fifth and last day of the 2018 Short Track Team Selections held at Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal. They therefore joined Samuel Girard and Kim Boutin, who qualified on Saturday.

Charles Hamelin, from Sainte-Julie, QC, therefore qualified for his fourth career Olympics, as he has won a total of four medals since the 2006 Games in Torino. Charle Cournoyer, from Boucherville, QC, earned a spot at the Olympics for the second time. He won a bronze medal in the 500m event at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

“Mission accomplished and now, we want to be the best team at the Olympics and win some medals,” said Charles Hamelin. “The Charles Hamelin from the 2006 Games would have never believed that the Charles Hamelin from the future would make it all the way to the 2018 Games, so I consider this an exceptional accomplishment and I will savour this experience alongside the guys and girls on the Canadian team.”

“I'm happy that this part of the year is done with, that there will be no more competition between us, and that we can start training as a team and push our limits on the World Cup circuit all the way to the Olympic Games,” said Charle Cournoyer. “Now begins the fun part!”

Jamie Macdonald, from Fort St. James, B.C., and Kasandra Bradette, from Saint-Félicien, QC, both qualified for their first-ever Olympics, as have Kim Boutin, from Sherbrooke, QC, and Samuel Girard, from Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC.

“It hasn't really hit me yet it seems, but I've faced so many challenges over the years that this feels like a great accomplishment… which makes me emotional just mentioning it!,” said Kasandra Bradette, who is 27 years old. “I've now accomplished what I thought I would never accomplish over all those years in speed skating. For a long time, the Olympics were just a distant dream for me. But these last four years, I've realized that I belonged there and that I needed to show it.”

“I can't believe it for now, I'm still a little bit overwhelmed,” said Jamie Macdonald. “It hasn't quite hit me. But it's incredible. We'll have a very strong team, I'm so proud of these girls. We all push each other so hard in training, and we've all worked so hard over this summer… It'll be an incredible experience for all of us.”

Two more wins for Boutin
Spots on the provisional Olympic team went to the first three women in overall Selections standings, taking into account points from the top two races from the top two distances for a total of four races out of nine. First place in those standings was clinched by Kim Boutin on Saturday.

On Sunday, the second spot overall went to Jamie Macdonald, who took second place in the 1000m and fourth place in the 500m on the last day of the Selections, while third place overall went to Kasandra Bradette, who finished second in the 500m held early in the day and third in the 1000m that followed. Macdonald and Bradette finished tied for points, the tie breaker putting Bradette one spot behind Macdonald by adding the lesser result from their top two distances.

“Today, I kind of went into it knowing that I wanted to make both A finals,” said Jamie Macdonald. “I stayed very consistent throughout the whole competition, so I'm very proud of that, and today was no exception, so I was very happy with that.”

“I made a point of not looking at the points and the standings, because I wanted to really go out on the ice and just skate for the win, like I did when I was a kid,” pointed out Kasandra Bradette.

Although she had already clinched first place on Saturday, Kim Boutin won both of Sunday's races, in the 500m as well as the 1000m. She therefore concluded the Selections with a tally of eight wins in nine races.

“After having a tough time over the last several months, the results I earned at the Selections are a great relief for me,” said Kim Boutin. “The fact that I started the competition on a good note also helped me, and then I stayed focused on the task at hand and that's what allowed me to do well. We will now form a solid team.”

Hamelin and Girard share the honours
On the men's side, the first spot went to the skater who is highest in the standings while taking into account the top two races out of three in the 500m and the top two races out of three in the 1000m, namely Samuel Girard, who clinched it on Saturday. The two following spots were attributed to the highest-placed skaters according to the same overall Selections standings process that was in effect on the women's side.

In that respect, Charles Hamelin comforted his spot in second place overall, which he had held since the start of the Selections, by winning Sunday's 1000m, while his absence from the earlier 500m event did not impact his spot in the standings. For his part, Charle Cournoyer maintained third place overall after collecting a third-place result in Sunday's 500m, while his result in the 1000m, where he wasn't able to make it to the final, had no effect on his place in the standings.

“I picked up so many big points early in the competition that my qualification was almost a sure thing this weekend, so it was just a matter of continuing to put in the same effort, of continuing to go for top-3 results in order to keep collecting points and making sure that those points don't go to other skaters,” explained Charles Hamelin. “The goal today was to qualify for the finals and finish as high as possible to confirm my spot on the team.”

“Today's task turned out to be simpler than expected in terms of points to earn to qualify,” pointed out Charles Cournoyer. “The top-3 was pratically sealed, so it was a matter of continuing to skate in the same manner, to make sure other skaters don't collect the points they needed (to move up in the standings). I also took advantage of the situation to keep working on certain strategies.”

Although he had also already clinched first place overall on Saturday, Samuel Girard skated at full pace on Sunday, which earned him the win in the 500m and second place in the 1000m. He therefore finished the competition with seven wins in nine races.

“I think it hasn't really hit me yet, but the Olympics are the dream of every amateur athlete, and going there means I've reached my objective. And now, we'll go out and perform over there,” said Samuel Girard. “I can't find the right words to thank my parents, the members of my family and all the people around me who have supported me and believed in me since the start, and who were there today.”

For both genders, a fourth available spot will be awarded to a skater that will have requested a bye, while a fifth spot will be awarded as a discretionary choice. The full team will be announced on August 30.

Final Rankings
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        40 000 points
2. Jamie Macdonald    30 400 points (tie breaker)
3. Kasandra Bradette    30 400 points
4. Valérie Maltais    23 120 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    40 000 points

(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    34 400 points
3. Charle Cournoyer    28 800 points
4. Pascal Dion        20 869 points

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