Joanie Gervais takes 4th place in 500m at 2015 Winter Universiade in Spain

Joanie Gervais (Saguenay, QC) finished fourth in the women's 500m on the second day of the short track speed skating competition at the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain.

Gervais, who studies in kinesiology sciences at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), came up with the best Canadian performance of the day with a time of 43 seconds and 963 hundredths, a personal best. She was 146 hundredths of a second away from a podium result.

“I wasn't aiming for a specific position, but I was telling myself that I was able to go for a spot in the A final, and it worked out,” noted Gervais. “I ended way behind the top-3 after the first lap, but I was able to catch up and try to overtake for third place at the finish line. I came close, but unfortunately, it didn't work.”

“I came up with a personal best time, so I can say that I did the best I could,” she added.

The Canadian team has come up with three fourth-place finishes so far in short track speed skating events at the 2015 Winter Universiade. Keri Morrison and Pascal Dion both ended up one place away from a bronze in the women's and men's 1500m on Wednesday.

China's Han Yu Tong, bronze medalist in Wednesday's 1500m race, skated to a gold medal in 43.573 seconds in Thurday's 500m, ahead of South Korea's Son Hakyung (43.655) and Lithuania's Agne Sereikaite (43.817).

This fall, Gervais took part in four ISU World Cup stages, skating in the 500m events in Montreal and Shanghai, and coming up with a sixth-place finish in the 1500m held in Montreal.

Gervais finished ahead of her teammate Caroline Truchon by 124 thousandths of a second in the semi-final, Thursday, to earn her spot in the final. Truchon, who studies in international relations and international law at Université du Québec à Montréal, ended up fifth in overall standings.

On the men's side, Samuel Bélanger-Marceau (Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC) was the top Canadian. A student in rehabilitation sciences in physiotherapy at McGill University, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals and finished 14th overall.

Relays: women qualify for the A final; B final for the men
In the women's relay, the Canadian team qualified for the A final, set to take place Friday.

In Thursday's semi-final, Joanie Gervais, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier (Montréal, QC), Jamie MacDonald (Fort St. James, B.C.) and Caroline Truchon came up with the second-best time (4:19.564) behind China (4:17.798) and ahead of Ukraine (4:26.769). The Canadian women will go up against China, South Korea and Japan in the final.

The men's relay, comprised of Samuel Bélanger-Marceau, Pascal Dion (Montréal, QC, borough Rivière-des-Prairies - Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC), Yoan Gauthier (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) and William Preudhomme (Toronto, ON), saw their medal hopes vanish by 105 thousandths of a second as they finished third (7:00.174) in their semi-final, behind Russia (6:59.827) and France (6:59.969). They will race in Friday's B final along with South Korea, the United States and Poland.

“Our plan was to take advantage of our strong points against teams that we were capable of beating,” said Gauthier. “Unfortunately, we were skating on a temporary ice surface, so it wasn't the best ice we've ever skated on. One of our skaters fell, which could have happened to anybody. We did very well to come back and catch up, and we came very close to qualifying for the A final in spite of it all.”

“It was a good experience to go through and it will be the case again in the B final,” added Gauthier. “We'll be skating against South Korea, who had the same mishap we had, so we'll still be going up against strong opposition.”

The 1000m races and the relay finals will take place on Friday. Samuel Bélanger-Marceau, Pascal Dion, Yoan Gauthier, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, Keri Morrison and Caroline Truchon, as well as the men's and women's relay teams – the participants are still to be determined – will be in action.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
500m W
Joanie Gervais: 4th in the A final (overall ranking: 4)
Caroline Truchon: B final (overall ranking: 5)
Jamie MacDonald: penalty in the heats and eliminated

500m M
Samuel Bélanger-Marceau: 4th  in the quarterfinals and eliminated (overall ranking: 14)
Yoan Gauthier: 4th in the heats and eliminated (final ranking: 19)
William Preudhomme: did not finish in heats and eliminated (final ranking:25)
   
Women’s relay
Canada: 2nd in the semi-finals and qualified for the A final Friday (Joanie Gervais, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, Jamie MacDonald, Caroline Truchon)

Men’s relay
Canada: 3rd in the semi-finals and will take part in the B final Friday (Samuel Bélanger-Marceau, Pascal Dion, Yoan Gauthier, William Preudhomme)

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

About Speed Skating Canada
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 13,000 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.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

About the Winter Universiade
The Winter Universiade is a biennial international multi-sport event open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event.

The Granada Universiade will feature nine compulsory sports and one optional sport. Compulsory sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, curling, nordic skiing, short track speed skating, figure skating, synchronized skating, snowboarding. Optional sport: freestyle skiing.

Official website: www.granada2015.org.

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, over 11,500 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 56 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit www.cis-sic.ca or follow us on:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CIS_SIC  
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cissports
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/universitysport
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/CIS_SIC

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For information:
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

Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC

Ben Matchett
Communications Manager
Team Canada, 2015 Winter Universiade
Cell in Granada: (011) 34-693-816-090
Email: ben.matchett@ucalgary.ca

Matt Gutsch
Communications Officer
Team Canada, 2015 Winter Universiade
Cell in Granada: (011) 34-693-806-291
Email: mgutsch@ualberta.ca