Medals for Marianne St-Gelais, Charles Hamelin & women's relay to conclude the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating stage in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, November 13, 2016 – Marianne St-Gelais won her first gold medal of the season while Charles Hamelin had to settle for a bronze after skating in front of the pack with teammate Samuel Girard, Sunday, on the last day of the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating stage held in Salt Lake City, USA. Canada also won his first medal in the relay event as the women’s team got the bronze.

The only member of the Canadian women's team to reach an A final, Sunday, Marianne St-Gelais (Saint-Félicien, QC) won the 500m by finishing ahead of South Korea's Minjeong Choi, who was second, and China's Kexin Fan, who was third.

The 26-year-old Canadian therefore won her third medal this season, her first gold, after coming up with silver in the 1500m (1), the day before, and a silver in the 500m (1) held last Saturday in Calgary, during the first stage of the 2016-2017 World Cup season.

“I was fortunate to benefit from somebody else's bad luck in this race,” pointed out Marianne St-Gelais, alluding to British skater Elise Christie, who fell in the final. “But I see it as payback for the unlucky break I got last week in Calgary, when I could have won gold in the 500m. Today, I was fourth with two laps to go, but I didn't panic and focused on building for the opportunities that could arise later, and it paid off.”

“Two medals for the weekend, I'm satisfied with that, especially when you consider I'm still in the middle of a learning process (for the 2018 Olympics),” added Marianne St-Gelais who, during her run towards the final in Sunday's 500m, set a new Canadian record of 42.441 seconds in that distance in the quarterfinal round. Kasandra Bradette, in the previous minutes, had just lowered to 42.536 the mark (42.620) that St-Gelais had set in 2014 in Salt Lake City.

Saturday, Jamie Macdonald also lowered the 1500m Canadian record with a time of 2:16.635. The previous mark of 2:17.194 was set by Kalyna Roberge in 2008 in Quebec City.

So close to a 1-2 finish!
In spite of the bronze won in the 500m by Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC), the Canadian men's team had a disappointing day after seeing four of its members qualify for the two A finals in the individual events.

Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC) and Charles Hamelin were 1-2 with less than a lap to go in the final of the men's 500m when Girard fell and Hamelin lost his footing soon after. Charles Hamelin got back up to go collect the bronze, crossing the finish line a little less than six seconds after the winner, Abzal Azhgaliyev of Kazakhstan, and China's Tianyu Han.

“It's not the colour I was hoping for and I would have loved to share the podium with Sam,” said Charles Hamelin, who nonetheless picked up his first medal this season. “After two tough weeks where I had equipment problems and had trouble with my confidence, I'm still gonna take that medal, because it's a reward for the good form I showed this weekend. My spot in the final today was proof that I'm back.”

The two-skater fall towards the end of the race was the result of an involuntary contact, explained Charles Hamelin.

“I had just blocked the Kazakh skater who was behind me and I was beginning to speed up and I found myself coming up really tight behind Samuel,” he said. “He lost his footing and when he fell, he caught my right blade and I lost my footing as well. It's unfortunate, those are the sort of bad breaks that occur in short track, you have to learn to deal with it.”

“The race was going really fast and when I came into the turn, I came out of a spot in the lane that had water and the ice may have chipped away under my weight, which led to me losing my footing with my right skate,” explained Samuel Girard.

Samuel Girard still reached his initial goal for the weekend, which was to reach the A final in both his events and to win at least one medal. He won the weekend's first 1500m on Saturday. On Sunday, it was the first time in four races this season that he did not make it to the podium, having also collected gold in the 500m (1) and silver in the 1000m at last week's World Cup stage in Calgary.

“I was really mad after the race, especially because I caused Charles (Hamelin) to fall and we could have finished 1-2,” pointed out the 20-year-old skater. “But it's the first time it's happened to me in a final, and the truth is, it's going to happen to me again in the future. You have to live with it. In the locker room, my teammates all told me they were behind me.”

At the foot of the podium in the men's 1500m
In the men's 1500m (2), Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, QC) and Pascal Dion (Montréal, Rivière-des-Prairies/Pointe-aux-Trembles borough, QC) had to settle for fourth and fifth place, respectively, in a race won by Dutch skater Sjinkie Knegt in a new world record time of 2:07.943.

“I'm a little disappointed but at the same time, a fourth-place finish in a race that's as fast as that one, that's pretty good. Especially when you consider that fourth, that ties the best result I had last season in the 1500m distance,” said Charle Cournoyer, who came close to earning his second medal of the season, having won gold in the 1000m last week in Calgary. “I would have loved to be on the podium, but I made some mistakes and I see that as an opportunity to learn for upcoming races.”

“The race was so fast that my legs hurt, and making moves cost me a lot of energy,” said Pascal Dion, 22. “I was in second place with three laps to go, but at the end I didn't have any legs anymore, so I was unable to react when other skaters started to overtake me.”

In the relay, the women's team comprised of Marianne St-Gelais, Kim Boutin, Kasandra Bradette and Marie-Ève Drolet, as well as Jamie Macdonald and Valérie Maltais who didn’t skate Sunday, earned bronze behind South Korea and the Netherlands, after officials gave a penalty to China. A Chinese skater that was slow to come out of the lane blocked St-Gelais, causing her to fall in the last portion of the race.

The men's relay, comprised of Charles and François Hamelin, Samuel Girard and Charles Cournoyer, was fourth behind China, the Netherlands and Kazakhstan.

Canada therefore earned six medals over the weekend, including five individual medals while the goal was nine.

Kasandra Bradette (Saint-Félicien, QC) won the women's 500m B final, finishing fifth overall, while Marie-Ève Drolet (Saguenay, Chicoutimi borough, QC), who won bronze in Saturday's 1500m (1), one rank behind teammate Marianne St-Gelais, was second in Sunday's 1500m (2) B final, good for 8th place overall.

The next World Cup stage, the third of the 2016-2017 season, will take place Dec. 9-11 in Shanghai, China.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m W
Marianne St-Gelais: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
Kasandra Bradette: 1st in the B Final (final ranking: 5)
Jamie Macdonald: fall in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 18)

500m M
Charles Hamelin: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
Samuel Girard: 4th in the A Final (final ranking: 4)
François Hamelin: 5th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 17)

1500m (2) W
Marie-Ève Drolet: second in the B Final (final ranking: 8)
Valérie Maltais: 5th in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 13)
Kim Boutin: penalty in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 21)

1500m (2) M
Charle Cournoyer: 4th in the A Final (final ranking: 4)
Pascal Dion: 5th in the A Final (final ranking: 5)
William Preudhomme: 4th in the B Final (final ranking: 12)

Relay W
Canada: bronze medal
(Marianne St-Gelais, Kim Boutin, Kasandra Bradette, Marie-Ève Drolet, Valérie Maltais, Jamie Macdonald)

Relay M
Canada: 4th in the A Final
(Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Charle Cournoyer, François Hamelin, Pascal Dion, 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.

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

- 30 –

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