Gilmore Junio wins 500m, Vincent De Haître & Denny Morrison shine in 1000m

Calgary, October 21, 2017 – In the highly competitive men's 500m event, Gilmore Junio from Calgary, AB won Saturday's race over Laurent Dubreuil from Lévis, QC, by only two hundredths of a second at the Long Track Fall World Cup Selections held at Calgary's Olympic Oval.

Junio won it with a time of 34.38 seconds as compared to 34.40 for Dubreuil. They both came up with faster times on Saturday than they did in Friday's first 500m of the competition, when they respectively finished third and fourth.

The win came after Junio trained in Norway over the last few months with retired skater and Olympic medalist Jeremy Wotherspoon.

“Training in Norway was a big change for me, but as an athlete and a person, I needed that change of environment to grow and come back to the Canadian team stronger than ever,” pointed out Junio. “The improved results I've come up with this weekend are indicative of that change of mentality where I’m trying to put more intention behind my skating and not take things for granted. I may have become a bit too comfortable training at home (in Calgary). You have to earn it in sport and I think that’s one of the reasons I was able to come back and skate as fast as I did.”

After coming up with Friday's fastest time, Alexandre Boisvert-Lacroix from Sherbrooke, QC, was third in Saturday's race in 34.60. William Dutton (34.80) from Humbold, SK, and Alexandre St-Jean (34.99) from Quebec City followed in that order.

In overall standings following Friday's and Saturday's 500m races, the top five spots went respectively to Junio (68.94), Dubreuil (68.98), Boisvert-Lacroix (69.09), Dutton (69.32) and St-Jean (69.88).

Just like they did on Friday, those five skaters all met again on Saturday the time criteria of 35.09 seconds that was necessary to be eligible for selection on the Canadian team that will take part in the Fall World Cups, as a maximum of five spots have been awarded to Canada in the men's 500m event. No other Canadian male skater met the time criteria this weekend.

“I tried not to celebrate because there’s still a lot of work to do leading into World Cups and Olympic trials,” said Junio about Saturday's race. “But crossing the line and seeing my time, emotion came over me and it was too hard to keep it in, and I let out a bit of a primal yell and pumped my fists pretty hard. It was nice to see that the hard work I did this summer and taking the risk of going to Norway have paid off, even though there’s still more work to do.”

Vincent De Haître confirms his no 1 spot in the men's 1000m
In the men’s 1000m, a total of seven skaters met the time criteria of 1:09.32 needed as Canada will have a maximum of four spots available in this event at the Fall World Cups. Among the seven are Vincent De Haître, who had already prequalified, and Olympic medalist Denny Morrison.

De Haître, from Cumberland, ON, won the race in 1:07.83, ahead of Alexandre St-Jean (1:08.50), Morrison (1:08.59), from Fort St. John, B.C., David LaRue (1:08.79, a new personal best) from Saint-Lambert, QC, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (1:09.07), Laurent Dubreuil (1:09.11) and Richard Maclennan (1:09.22) from Sault Ste. Marie, ON.

“I have mixed feelings, but I’m happy with the end result. I came here preselected and I wanted to show why that was the case, and the only way to do that was to win,” said De Haître, who had already prequalified in this event after he won a silver medal at last season's World Single Distance Championships. “At the same time, although my race was good overall, there’s still a lot that I need to work on and some things where out of my control today. I think some good things can come from this race.”

“I’m happy with how my experience and maturity in racing showed today,” said Morrison. “I don’t have to make any huge changes anymore. I have the trust and confidence in myself to just build off this and let it happen a little more.”

“My family is my number one teammate and they know better than everyone what I’ve been through on the ice and off, and not just in speed skating but pertaining to life as well,” added Morrison. “It’s emotional, a very positive emotion.”

Marsha Hudey wins again in the women's 500m
In the women's 500m, Saturday's podium was identical to Friday's as Marsha Hudey from White City, SK won it again, this time in 37.46, ahead of Heather McLean from Winnipeg (37.49). Kaylin Irvine from Calgary, AB, was faster than on Friday, but still finished third, with a time of 38.35.

“I’m happy with my race because it was consistent with yesterday’s race,” pointed out Hudey. “There are still a few things that I need to clean up and I’m making a few mistakes that I’m kicking myself on, but I’m super happy with where I’m at for the start of the season. My focus is on improving so that I can perform and compete with the field at World Cups.”

Hudey finished first in overall 500m standingsafter two races with a total of 74.76 seconds, ahead of McLean (74.86), Irvine (76.78), Shannon Rempel (77.46) from Winnipeg, MB, and Noémie Fiset (77.63) from Quebec City, QC. Canada was awarded a maximum of four spots in the women's 500m for the Fall World Cups, but only Hudey, McLean and Irvine met the time critera over the weekend and will therefore be eligible for selection. Heather McLean was already prequalified after finishing fifth at last season's World Single Distance Championships.

Heather McLean makes amends in women's 1000m
After coming in second twice in the 500m, Heather McLean finally made it to the top of the podium in the women's 1000m, which she won in 1:14.98 ahead of Kaylin Irvine (1:15.34) and Brianne Tutt from Airdrie, AB, who skated to a time of 1:16.29, therefore improving her personal best from 1:16.45 and allowing her to find third spot on the podium ahead of Marsha Hudey (1:16.42).

McLean, Irvine and Tutt were the only skaters to meet the time criteria of 1:16.34 required to be eligible for selection at the Fall World Cups, where Canada was awarded a maximum of four spots in the women's 1000m.

“Consistency in the 1000m is something that I’ve always struggled with,” said McLean. “I made sure I wouldn't get caught thinking in terms of any sort of outcome or time. I recently went back and looked at video of some of my earlier races this fall. I took note of certain things and going into this race, I was thinking that if I executed technically well, then I knew my fitness would be there. That was the big difference. I didn’t expect to go under 1:15, but I’ll take it and go forward from there!”
 
Because only a total of 20 athletes will be selected on the Canadian team for the Fall World Cups, except for the stage that will be held in Calgary, these are provisional qualifications at this point. The final team will be announced over the next few weeks.
 
The Fall World Cup Selections will conclude Sunday, with the 1500m event and the second mass start races, both for the men and the women.
 
The races are webcast live on the Calgary Olympic Oval's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/theolympicoval.
 
More details are available on Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskatingcanada.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Speed Skating Canada is committed to Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating. 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. www.speedskating.ca

Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:

Premium partner: Intact Insurance
Funding partners: Government of Canada (Sport Canada), Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee
Official On-Ice High Performance Apparel: Li-Ning
Long Track Team Sponsor: KIA
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Sport Development Partners: Winsport Canada, Calgary’s Olympic Oval, University of Calgary, Institut national du sport du Québec, Government of Quebec, Canadian Sport Institute-Calgary, City of Montreal, Quebec City, Conseil du sport de haut niveau de Québec

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Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Email: kdankers@speedskating.ca
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Patrick Godbout
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