Olivier Jean Gets Fourth

“I came here to win, not to finish fourth, above all not fourth.” Olivier Jean was visibly disappointed to have just missed the podium in the 1500m event in short track speed skating. The race won by Korean skater Lee Jung-Su, ahead of Americans Apolo Anthon Ohno et J.R Celski.

At the start line, the three South Koreans were alongside the Americans – nothing that would intimidate tall Olivier Jean, who underlines that short track skating is an individual sport. Korea’s skaters performed well, however when the Asian skaters were in the last corner of the race, Ho-Suk Lee attempted to pass one of his teammates; he and Sung Si-Bak ended up slipping out of the race and into the mats – opening the podium up for the Americans.

Despite a disappointing result in his prefered distance, Olivier Jean, of Lachenaie, tried to stay positive at this, his first Olympic Winter Games, “I feel really good and I think things will go really well in the 500m event.”

A Semi-Final That Resembled a Final

Charles Hamelin participated in a very high calibre semi-final, in the company of Ohno and Lee. “Absolutely, you ask yourself, Why am I in this heat and not another? but at the same time, you can’t blame anyone and you have to race your race.” Despite enthusiastic encouragement from the crowd, the race did not favour Hamelin, who finished third, and as a result was excluded from the Final A. “During the heat, there were a lot of moments that resulted in me not having the legs I needed.” It must be said that during that semi-final, skaters were on fire, completing the 1500m in 2:10.00; while the Final A was won in 2:17.611.

“I can’t get hung up on today’s events, I have to forget what happended today, and think instead towards February 17th, the next day of short track competitions.” As winner of the Final B, the skater from Sainte-Julie finishes in sixth place overall.

Guillaume Bastille - whose hometown of Saint-Modeste is watching his every move - fell twice during the preliminary heats. Bastille returned to the pack with big efforts, seeming to gain ground, when he fell again due to an altercation with a French skater. When discussing his first fall, the UQAM Masters of Earth Sciences student made no excuses, “It was an error of judgement, I was too confident in my skate blade – that’s why I fell the first time. At that point, I said to myself, that I was now skating a 7-lap race.” In the end however, Bastille was disqualified.

When asked if he found it unfair, he responded, “It’s the nature of the sport. It’s been like this for 20 years, and it doesn’t change even when you’re at the Olympics. It’s extremely dissapointing; I’m not sad, but I wish I could have skated better. I could have skated better,” calmly explained the 24 year old athlete who is participating in his first-ever Olympic Winter Games.

St-Gelais and Gregg – First Olympics A Success

In the 500m event, three Canadians made it to the quarter final: Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB), Kalyna Roberge (Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC) and Marianne St-Gelais (St-Felicien, QC) all succeeded in their heats with ease. Regardless of her success in the heat, St-Gelais, a native of St-Felicien heaved an enormous sigh of relief after her race. “I was relieved. My stress-level was reduced but at the same time I was very disappointed in my performance; my time was really mediocre. I was expecting it to be difficult, but man, was it tough,” explained St-Gelais in her typically expressive fashion. “I have never skated a race as intense physically; the pushing, the constant shifting – I couldn’t believe it!” added the skater who took the time to greet her sister and parents in the stands.

Roberge herself also faced an eventful race, narrowly avoiding catastrophy at the race’s start when she came into contact with another skater. Solid on her skates, Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon’s Roberge stayed upright and will be racing in the quarter finals.

In the women’s relay, skated by the three participants from the 500m event as well as Tania Vicent (Laval, QC), Canada finished second in its semi-final heat, and therefore qualified for the final, alongside teams from China, Korea, and the United States of America.


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Written by Sportcom for Speed Skating Canada