Heather McLean & Vincent De Haître win 1000m races at the 2018 Long Track Team Selections

Kaylin Irvine and Alexandre St-Jean added to the provisional Olympic Team

Calgary, January 8, 2018 – Heather McLean and Vincent De Haître respectively won the women's and men's 1000m events, Monday, at the 2018 Long Track Team Selections that are slated to be held until Tuesday at Calgary’s Olympic Oval.

In the men's 1000m, Vincent De Haître from Cumberland, ON, skated to a time of 1:07.67 to win the race, followed by Alexandre St-Jean (1:08.52) of Quebec City, QC, and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (1:08.61) from Sherbrooke, QC.
 
After meeting the time standard of 1:14.46 this fall, De Haître and St-Jean, as well as Laurent Dubreuil from Lévis, QC, who finished sixth in Monday's race with a time of 1:09.01, therefore earned the three quota spots for Canada in the men’s 1000m for the 2018 Olympic Games.
 
Alexandre St-Jean has therefore been provisionally named to the Canadian Long Track Speed Skating Olympic Team and to represent Canada in PyeongChang in the men’s 1000m along with Vincent De Haître and Laurent Dubreuil, who had already qualified in the 1500m and the 500m respectively, depending on the final team composition based on maximum skaters per country, i.e. 10 men and 10 women for a maximum number of 20 skaters per country.
 
“I came up with second place in spite of all the pressure that was on me, pressure that some skaters did not have because they had already qualified in other events, and that's what I'm most proud of, because I was able to come up with my best race possible under those circumstances,” said Alexandre St-Jean. “It hasn't really sunk in yet, I don't dare think about it too much because the official team has not been named yet, but these would be my first Olympics, so chances are I will go out to celebrate tonight!”

“The whole point was to stay relaxed and I think throughout the race I was able to do that,” said De Haître. “Calgary has great ice and it feels good under your feet, much like in South Korea. I'm pretty confident about what's to come. The next 30 days will be just different versions of race preparation. It's all about building confidence and skating faster day after day, and about having a positive mindset and being focused.”
 
“Sixth place is not the result I was hoping for,” said Dubreuil. “I had one of my best opening 200 meters ever, but in the last lap I had nothing left, it hurt really bad. But I know it's going to come back, and that I'll be able to do some good 1000m races in upcoming weeks. It'll be fun to be able to skate in a second race at the Games, all the more considering I came up with one of my best 1000m races ever at last year's World Single Distance Championships in South Korea.”

Kaylin Irvine provisionally named to team
In the women's 1000m, Heather McLean from Winnipeg won the race with a time of 1:14.50, followed by Kaylin Irvine (1:15.37) of Calgary, AB, and Kali Christ (1:15.47) from Regina, SK.
 
McLean, who had already qualified for the PyeongChang Games in the 500m event, and Irvine therefore earned two of the three quota spots for Canada in the women’s 1000m for the 2018 Olympic Games, as they not only took these spots based on their respective ranking, but also achieved the qualifying time standard of 1:14.46 over the last year.
 
Irvine has therefore been provisionally named to the Canadian Long Track Speed Skating Olympic Team and to represent Canada in PyeongChang in the women’s 1000m along with McLean, depending on the final team composition based on maximum skaters per country, i.e. 10 men and 10 women for a maximum number of 20 skaters per country.

“Going into this race I obviously wanted to have a good one”, said Kaylin Irvine who competed at the 2014 Olympic Games. “It wasn’t a great race today, but it was good enough to make the team. I won’t complain, but I'm definitely looking to have a better race in PyeongChang. I want to do better than I've ever done before, a top-10 result would be amazing, and that's what I will be looking to do.”
 
“I was a little disappointed in my 500m earlier at this competition, so to come back with this 1000m and finish strong, I couldn’t ask for a better race,” said McLean. “That was probably the best execution I've come up with this season as far as race plans go in that distance. I see the 1000m as a great challenge and I see the girls I compete against in the 500m go out and skate the 1000m with confidence, and that inspires me to do the same.”

“I’ve never been at the Olympics, so for me to have two opportunities to go out and race is a good thing, because I want to get as much experience as I can in that environment.”

Competition ends on Tuesday
The 2018 Long Track Team Selections will end Tuesday with the men’s 10,000m and the women’s 500m.

In both events, Canada can have a maximum of two skaters as long as athletes achieve the time standard of 7:15.74 for the women and 13:12.96 for the men.

In the women's 5000m, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa has already prequalified following the bronze medal she won in this distance at the 2017 World Single Distance Championships and the silver medal she earned in the same event at the World Cup held in Stavanger, Norway. Isabelle Weidemann from Ottawa, who has already been provisionally named to the Olympic team in the women's 3000m, as well as Josie Morrison and Victoria Spence, both from Kamloops, BC, have already met the time standard.

In the men's 10,000m, Ted-Jan Bloemen from Calgary has also prequalified following the silver medal he won at the World Cup held in Stavanger, Norway, last fall, which allowed him to finish among the top five in the ISU Special Olympic Qualification Classification (SOQC). Jordan Belchos of Toronto, ON, has already met the time standard.
 
Racing on Tuesday will kick off at 5 p.m. (local time). Admission is free.
 
Racing is also be webstreamed live on CBC Sports’ website (http://www.cbc.ca/sports), Radio-Canada Sports’ Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/radiocanada.sports) and website (http://ici.radio-canada.ca/sports), and Calgary’s Olympic Oval YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/theolympicoval).
 
The final Canadian Long Track Speed Skating team for the 2018 Olympic Games will be introduced at a media event on Wednesday, January 10, at 12 pm (Calgary Time), to be held at Jack Singer Concert Hall (205 8 Ave SE) in Calgary.
 
The full 2018 Olympic Selection Policies and Processes are available at www.speedskating.ca/2018-og/long-track.

Additional details are available on Speed Skating Canada’s website at www.speedskating.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
Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA
Official Technical Equipment Supplier: Nagano Skate
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, Excellence sportive Québec-Lévis

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For information:
Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Email: kdankers@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-589-8960
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC 

Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC