Marianne St-Gelais & Kim Boutin skate to podium finishes at Montreal's ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating

Montreal, October 31, 2015 – Marianne St-Gelais and Kim Boutin both kicked off the 2015-2016 ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating season on the right foot, Saturday at Montreal's Maurice-Richard Arena, as they each came up with a silver medal, in the women's 1000m and 1500m respectively.

St-Gelais (Saint-Félicien, Qc) was second in the 1000m, behind South Korea's Choi Minjeong and ahead of China's Fan Kexin, while Boutin (Sherbrooke, Qc) did the same in the 1500m, while South Korea's Shim Suk Hee finished first and Germany's Anna Seidel, third.

“It was one of my objectives this year to earn a podium in the 1500m, so for me, a second-place finish is a great result,” said Boutin. “I could have tried to keep pace with Shim a little more at the end, but my technical weaknesses came out as I became more stressed. So I think that the next step for me will be to stay focused on my technique, so that I can return on the podium.”

St-Gelais picked up where she left off last winter, when she won 12 medals in six World Cup stages in 2014-2015. The 25-year-old skater earned a podium finish on Saturday after qualifying for the A final by a thin margin. In Saturday's semifinal, she took second place in her heat, the last place good enough for a spot in the A final, by three thousandths of a second over China's Liu Yang.

“Three thousandths of a second, that's pretty close,”said St-Gelais about her semifinal heat. “I'm proud because I didn't give up. What (coach) Frédéric Blackburn always says when we train, about pushing until the end even though we're tired, it paid off today. That made the difference. And it gave me confidence for the final. I told myself, don't let yourself be caught off guard, don't make mistakes and be solid.”

“I still ended up being caught off guard in the final, when all three skaters overtook me at the same time, at a moment of the race where I didn't have enough pace to react. But I felt I had strong legs with three laps to go, so I told myself I had to go for it. But the Korean skater had strong legs as well, there was no way anyone was going to get by her today. So this silver medal is a fair reflection of how things went.”

This is Boutin's third career medal at a World Cup. It is her best result so far on the international scene. She collected bronze medals in the 1000m and 1500m races at the sixth and final World Cup of the 2014-2015 season.

“My fourth-place finish at the World Championships (in the 1000m last spring) is still the result I am most proud of, however,” said Boutin. “At the Worlds, the four skaters in the final are really the four top skaters in the world. I'm really happy with my performance today, but it remains one good race among other good races. We'll now try to work on getting on that first spot on the podium.”

François Hamelin fourth, Charles Hamelin falls
Five Canadian skaters qualified for A finals on Saturday. In the men's 1500m A final, Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Qc) fell and Patrick Duffy (Oakville, ON) finished fourth, while François Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Qc) also had to settle for fourth place in the men's 1000m A final.

“Overall, it was still a good day for me, but it's the disappointment of the final that stays with me for now,” said François Hamelin, a 28-year-old skater who, last season, won his first invidual medal at a World Cup since the 2010-2011 season. “I did a lot of good things in the rounds before the final, but it seems all those good things disappeared in the final. I wanted that medal too much, I guess. The fact remains that in my case, a fourth-place finish is quite respectable. It's even pretty good.”

Charles Hamelin, the 1500m gold medalist at the 2014 Olympic Games, was racing in first place when he was overtaken during a turn and fell as skaters were coming up close behind him. Russia's Semen Elistratov was penalized and disqualified.

“Frustrating days like this one, I've had many during my career. But because it comes at home, it hurts more,” said Charles Hamelin. “Overtaking like that in a final is dangerous, it really is unfortunate. Especially when you consider how good I felt. I really had the legs to win that race.”

Four other members of the Canadian team, all young skaters who made their international debut last season or who are making it this season, qualified for B finals. Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, Qc) won the men's 1500m B finale to finish 8th overall, while Sasha (Alexander) Fathoullin (Calgary, AB) finished 6th overall after coming up second in the men's 1000m B final.

On the women's side, Jamie MacDonald (Fort St. James, B.C.) was second in the women's 1500m B final, good for 9th place overall at her first-ever career World Cup, while Audrey Phaneuf (Saint-Hyacinthe, Qc) ended up third in the women's 1000m B final, for a 7th-place finish overall.

The Canadian women's relay, comprised of Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais (La Baie, Qc), Kim Boutin and Audrey Phaneuf, qualified for Sunday's A final after finishing second in their heat in Saturday's semifinals, while the men's relay (Charles and François Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer and Samuel Girard) had to settle for the B final after ending up third of their semifinal heat.

More racing on Sunday
The second 1000m events will take place on Sunday, as will the 500m races, with the repechage heats starting at 9:10 am and the elimination rounds at 1 pm. In the 500m, François Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, Qc) and Sasha Fathoullin have qualified for the quarterfinals on the men's side, as did Marianne St-Gelais and Kasandra Bradette on the women's side. In the 1000m, Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard and Patrick Duffy will be in the men's quarterfinals, while Kim Boutin and Valérie Maltais will skate in the women's quarterfinals. Audrey Phaneuf will take part in the 1000m repechage heats on Sunday morning.

A total of 137 athletes from 23 countries, i.e. 56 women and 81 men, are vying for medals in the 500m, the 1500m, the relay and two 1000m races slated during the weekend.

In addition to the Canadian team, fans of speed events are able to see nine of the top 10 women in last season's World Championship overall standings, as well as eight of the top 10 men.

Several of speed skating's marquee athletes are on hand, including 2015 world champions Choi Minjeong of South Korea and Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands, as well as Olympic medalists Shim Suk Hee and Alang Kim of South Korea, in addition to China's Fan Kexin, Shi Jingnan, Han Tianyu and Wu Dajing.

Tickets and the complete schedule for the races are available at http://www.coupedumondemtl.ca/eng/tickets/.

Broadcast on CBC and Radio-Canada
Sunday's men's and women's 500m and 1000m finals will be broadcast from 3 pm to 4 pm on CBC and its web site at cbcsports.ca, the official broadcaster of the event.

French-speaking fans can also follow the competition, as races will be webcast on the radio-canada.ca website from 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
1500m W
-Kim Boutin: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
-Jamie MacDonald: 2nd in the B Final (final ranking: 9)
-Valérie Maltais: penalty in the semi-finals (final ranking: 19)

1500m M
-Patrick Duffy: 4th in the A Final (final ranking: 4)
-Charles Hamelin: 6th in the A Final - fall (final ranking: 6)
-Samuel Girard: 1st in the B Final (final ranking: 8)

1000m (1) W
-Marianne St-Gelais: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
-Audrey Phaneuf: 3rd in the B Final (final ranking: 7)
-Kasandra Bradette: 3rd in quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 10)

1000m (1) M
-François Hamelin: 4th in the A Final (final ranking: 4)
-Sasha (Alexander) Fathoullin: 2nd in the B Final (final ranking: 6)
-Charle Cournoyer: penalty in the repechage semi-finals and eliminated (final ranking: 29)

Relay W
Canada: 2nd in semi-finals and will take part in the A final Sunday
(Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Audrey Phaneuf, Kim Boutin)

Relay M
Canada: 3rd in semi-finals and will take part in the B final Sunday
(Charles Hamelin, Patrick Duffy, Charle Cournoyer, Samuel Girard)

More details available on Speed Skating Canada's web site at 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 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.

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

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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 
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