Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais & Samuel Girard perfect in qualifying at ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating stage held in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, November 11, 2016 – On the strength of their medal performances from last week in Calgary, Charle Cournoyer, Samuel Girard and Marianne St-Gelais joined a group of nine Canadian skaters who qualified for both their events, Friday, on the first day of the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating stage held until Sunday in Salt Lake City, USA.

In addition to Charles Cournoyer (who qualified for this weekend's 1000m and 1500m (2) final rounds) and Samuel Girard (1500m (1), 500m), who respectively won gold and silver in the men's 1000m held last Sunday in Calgary, at the first World Cup of the season, Charles Hamelin (1500m (1), 500m) and Pascal Dion (1000m, 1500m (2)) were also among the Canadian men’s athletes to qualify for the final rounds of both their slated events, Friday, during qualification heats.

On the women's side, in addition to Marianne St-Gelais (1500m (1), 500m), who earned a silver medal in last Saturday's 500m in Calgary, Valérie Maltais (1000m, 1500m (2)), Kim Boutin (1000m, 1500m (2)), Marie-Eve Drolet (1500m (1), 1500m (2)) and Jamie Macdonald (1500m (1), 500m) did the same.

Looking to add to their medals won in Calgary
Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC), who won the 500m held last Saturday in Calgary in addition to picking up silver in the 1000m on the next day, finished first in each of his qualification heats, Friday, to earn a berth in the semifinal round of the first of two 1500m events scheduled this weekend, Saturday, as well as in Sunday's 500m quarterfinals.

In spite of his success in Calgary, the 20-year-old skater is staying with his initial goal for the Salt Lake City stage, which is to qualify for the A final in both his events, and win out a medal in one of them.

“There's no doubt I would like to get two podium finishes, but I'd be happy with just one,” said Samuel Girard, who pointed out that his two medals won in Calgary have not added extra pressure, but has rather given him a boost of confidence and determination to continue to do as well.

“The fact I've won these two medals has led me to realize to what extent this is possible for me,” he said. “I already knew that it was possible, but now it seems it's closer, it's more concrete. I don't feel any pressure. I know that things will go well if I do what I'm capable of doing.”

Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, QC) qualified for Saturday's 1000m quarterfinals and for the semifinals of Sunday's 1500m (2). He was first in his qualification heat in Friday's 1000m, and second in his 1500m (2) heat. After winning the gold medal in the men's 1000m last Sunday in Calgary, one day after being eliminated early in the 1500m event, Cournoyer said he is confident he will reach the goal he set for the Salt Lake City stage, which is to win medals in both his events.

“I was a little bit rusty in last weekend's 1500m, but the 1000m allowed to get back all the good feelings I have when I skate, and I'll be able to use that in my two distances this weekend,” said the 25-year-old skater. “So I think that two podium results, that's quite feasible. Especially when you consider that I skated really well (Friday), I followed my race plan well, I skated with confidence, the ice surface was great… So, there are only positives!”

Marianne St-Gelais (Saint-Félicien, QC) finished first in her heat in both her events, Friday, to qualify for Saturday's 1500m (1) semifinals and Sunday's 500m quarterfinals. The 26-year-old skater will be aiming to win gold in the 500m, a goal she thought she was on her way to attaining last weekend in Calgary, before an incident force her to settle for a silver medal.

“I'm disappointed I didn't win gold (in Calgary) and I will give it my all to win one this weekend. But at the same time, I must not forget that my long-term goal is to do things the right way, to apply certain things on the ice so that I will eventually be ready to go get that gold at the Olympics,” said Marianne St-Gelais. “The 500m is my favourite distance to race, but at the same time, it's the most complex distance for me because that's where I still have the most elements to work on.”

Salt Lake City, to make up for Calgary
Valérie Maltais (Saguenay, La Baie borough, QC) was perfect in her two qualification heats, Friday, as she finished first each time to reach Saturday's 1000m quarterfinals and Sunday's 1500m (2) semifinals.

The 26-year-old skater is confident she is on her way to making up for a tough weekend in Calgary, where she was eliminated in the qualification round of the women's 500m (1) and had to settle for a spot in the 1000m B final, good for a 6th-place result overall.

“Last weekend, I had a bit of trouble with my blades and the ice surface, and I wasn't able to adapt to that,” said Valérie Maltais. “This week, the focus was on preparing well and forgetting what happened last weekend, and to start fresh mentally, and I was able to do that. I skated with the goal of going up front and to stay away from dangerous situations, I felt great, I had good legs… and my blades worked great! I'm optimistic for this weekend's races.”

Kim Boutin (Sherbrooke, QC) was first in her 1000m qualification heat, which gave her a spot in Saturday's quarterfinals in that distance, and she was second in her 1500m (2) heat to earn her ticket for Sunday's semifinals. The 21-year-old skater said she has made adjustments after finishing 4th in the 1000m and 6th in the 1500m in Calgary, and is aiming for two medals in Salt Lake City.

“The goal, like last weekend, was to control things from up front. But this time, by keeping a pace that was a little bit slower to make sure I had enough legs until the end. For now, I'm satisfied,” said Kim Boutin. “I spent a lot of time looking at the mistakes I made last weekend, so I'm confident I'll be able to do better and get those two podium finishes.”

At least one spot in the final rounds
The three other Canadian skaters on hand in Salt Lake City earned at least one spot in final rounds.

François Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC) was first in his 500m heat to reach Sunday's quarterfinals in that distance, Sunday. His 4th-place finish in Friday's 1000m qualification heat, however, means he will have to go through repechage heats in that distance on Saturday morning.

William Preudhomme (Toronto, ON) was advanced to Sunday's 1500m (2) semifinals after being fouled by an opponent, while he was unable to finish the 1500m (1) heat he skated in, Friday.

Kasandra Bradette (Saint-Félicien, QC) was first in her 500m heat to earn a spot in Sunday's quarterfinals, but she will have to go through the repechage heats in the 1000m on Sunday morning, having settled for 4th place in her heat in that distance on Friday.

Both Canadian relays qualified for Saturday's semifinals after finishing second in their respective qualification heats on Friday. The women's team was comprised of Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Marie-Ève Drolet and Jamie Macdonald, while the men's squad included Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer, Samuel Girard and William Preudhomme.

The final rounds for the first 1500m event and the 1000m races will resume on Saturday. These for the second 1500m and the 5000m are slated for Sunday.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m W
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Kasandra Bradette: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Jamie Macdonald: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

500m M
Charles Hamelin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Samuel Girard: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
François Hamelin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

1000m W
Kim Boutin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Valérie Maltais: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Kasandra Bradette: 4th in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday

1000m M
Charle Cournoyer: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Pascal Dion: fall in the heats but advanced and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
François Hamelin: 4th in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday

1500m (1) W
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Marie-Ève Drolet: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Jamie Macdonald: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday

1500m (1) M
Samuel Girard: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Charles Hamelin: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
William Preudhomme: fall in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday

1500m (2) W
Valérie Maltais: 1st in the heat and will take part in the semifinals Sunday
Kim Boutin: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday
Marie-Ève Drolet: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday

1500m (2) M
Charle Cournoyer: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday
Pascal Dion: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday
William Preudhomme: fall in the heats but advanced and will take part in the semifinals Sunday

Relay W
Canada: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
(Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Marie-Ève Drolet, Jamie Macdonald)

Relay M
Canada: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
(Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Charle Cournoyer, 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 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.

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