Marianne St-Gelais earns silver medal in women's 1000m at short track World Cup in Seoul

Marianne St-Gelais earned a silver medal in the women's 1000m race held in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, to reach the podium for a fourth consecutive stage at the ISU short track speed skating World Cup.

The skater from Saint-Félicien, Que., has won at least one individual medal in each of the World Cups held so far this season. She collected a silver medal in the women’s 500m and a bronze medal in the women's 1000m last week in Shanghai, China, a silver in a 500m event in Montreal, in November, and two medals – a gold in the 1000m and a bronze in a 500m – in Salt Lake City, to kick off the 2014-15 campaign.

St-Gelais now has a total of six individual medals in four World Cup stages so far this season, and three in the women's 1000m event.

Saturday in Seoul, she finished second with a time of one minute 33.245 seconds, behind China's Han Yutong (1:33.092) and ahead of Great Britain's Elise Christie (1:33.449). South Korea's Shim Suk Kee finished a close fourth (1:33.480).

“After a good semi-final which gave me a boost of confidence, I told myself, before the final, that I wasn't going to let things happen to me like they did last week in Shanghai,” said St-Gelais. “I was third for a good part of the race but since I felt I had legs, I decided that the best way to overtake was by going on the outside. I spent almost two turns on the outside, but it ended up working… I deserved that second-place finish!”

Kim Boutin won the women's 1000m B final, good for 5th place overall. The 20-year-old Sherbrooke native therefore earned her best career result in an individual race at the World Cup. This is her first season on the ISU circuit. Kasandra Bradette, from Saint-Félicien, Que., was eliminated in the 1000m quarterfinals to finish 14th.

On the men's side, Charles Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Que., had to settle for 4th place in the men's 1000m A final. A fall during the race resulted in him finishing over eight seconds away from a podium, in a race won by China's Wu Dajing, with South Korea's Kwak Yoon-Gy finishing second and Sjinkie Knegt, of the Netherlands, third.

“My race started off well, as I overtook one skater to move up to second place. I was waiting for the right time to go in front when the Korean skater overtook me a little too tightly, and made me fall. I got back up and the Korean did the same thing to the Dutch skater, but he wasn't penalized,” explained Charles Hamelin, who will be able to make amends on Sunday, as he will race in the men's 500m.

The veteran skater will also take part in the men's relay A final, as he helped Canada finish second of its heat in Saturday's semi-final, along with François Hamelin, Patrick Duffy and Samuel Girard.

“The chemistry is really starting to settle in, and we'll be trying to go for another medal,” said Charles Hamelin, alluding to Canada's bronze medal in the men's relay in Shanghai, last week.

Girard, from Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., was second in the men's 1000m B final, good for 6th overall, while Duffy, of Oakville, Ont., was eliminated in the quarterfinals and finished 14th.

A first for Namasthée Harris-Gauthier
Montreal's Namasthée Harris-Gauthier came up fifth in the women's 3000m race, as she was taking part in her first-ever A final in an individual World Cup race. The 20-year-old skater is participating in only her second lifetime World Cup, this weekend, after making her debut last week in Shanghai. She crossed the finish line in 5:47.428, compared to 5:45.733 for the winner of this first 3000m event of the World Cup season, South Korea's Choi Minjeong.

“My goal was to go beyond the semi-final, so I'm really happy,” said Harris-Gauthier. “But the semi-final was tough, so my legs were hurting a bit going into the final. I decided to be strategic and wait for the right opportunity, and it worked out well. It's a great feeling, it's very encouraging for the future.”

Audrey Phaneuf, from Boucherville, Que., also a World Cup rookie this season, was eliminated in the 3000m semi-final for a 9th-place finish, while Joanie Gervais, of Saguenay, Que., saw her race end in the repechage heats for 21st place.

This is the first time since the 2005-06 season that a 3000m race is on the World Cup program. It has been included as a test event to see if it will attract fan interest and should be raced on a more regular basis. Final ranking in the 3000m, this weekend, will allow skaters to collect points in 1500m overall standings.

The women's relay, comprised of St-Gelais, Boutin, Gervais and Bradette, was third in its heat in Saturday's semi-final and will skate in Sunday's B final.

In the men's 1500m, Saturday, François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., was the top Canadian with a 7th place finish in the A final. His time of 2:21.681 was close to South Korea's Sin Da Woon, who won it in 2:20.755. Toronto's William Preudhomme, who is skating in his second career World Cup after winning bronze in the 500m in his debut last week in China, was 8th in the A final with a time of 2:22.498. Charle Cournoyer, of Boucherville, Que., was third in the B final, for 11th place overall.

Sunday, the men's and women's 500m events will be held, as will the women's 1500m, the men's 3000m and both relay finals. There will be three Canadians in each event.

In the 500m, Charles Hamelin and Samuel Girard reached the final rounds directly, while François Hamelin will have to go through the repechage heats, Sunday morning. On the women's side, Marianne St-Gelais, Andrey Phaneuf and Kasandra Bradette all qualified for the quarterfinals.

Kim Boutin and Namasthée Harris-Gauthier will be in the women's 1500m semi-finals, while Joanie Gervais will initially go through the repechage heats. In the men's 3000m race, Charle Cournoyer and Patrick Duffy both earned a spot in the semi-finals, while William Preudhomme will start his day in the repechage heats.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
1000m M
-Charles Hamelin: 4th in the A final (final ranking: 4th)
-Samuel Girard: 2nd in the B final (final ranking: 6th)
-Patrick Duffy: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 14th)

1500m M
-François Hamelin: 7th in the A final (final ranking: 7th)
-William Preudhomme: 8th in the A final (final ranking: 8th)
-Charle Cournoyer: 3rd in the B final (final ranking: 11th)

Men’s relay
Canada: 2nd in the semi-finals heats and qualified for the A final Sunday (François Hamelin, Charles Hamelin, Patrick Duffy, Samuel Girard)

1000m W
-Marianne St-Gelais: silver medal (final ranking: 2nd)
-Kim Boutin: 1st in the B final (final ranking: 5th)
-Kasandra Bradette: 4th in quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 14th)

3000m W
-Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: 5th in the A final (final ranking: 5th)
-Audrey Phaneuf: 5th in semi-finals and eliminated (final ranking: 9th)
-Joanie Gervais: 4th in the repechage heats and eliminated (final ranking: 21st)

Women’s relay
3rd in the semi-finals heats and will take part in the B final Sunday (Marianne St-Gelais, Kasandra Bradette, Kim Boutin, Joanie Gervais)

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.

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Jeff MacKinnon   
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