Quebec’s Olivier Jean two-for-two at short track speed skating national team trials

Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., passed a major test at the national team trials in short track speed skating on Saturday with a victory in the men’s 500 metres to take a healthy lead in the men’s overall standings.

Jean placed first in the men’s 500 clocking 43.109 seconds and has won both races so far after Friday’s victory in the 1,500. Remi Beaulieu of Montreal was second in 43.221, Richard Shoebridge of Cambridge, Ont., was third in 43.246 and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Montreal fourth in 43.514.

“The 500 is probably the race I like the least, I don’t have great starts and again today I was last off the gun,” said Jean, a 21-year-old ecology student, who is trying to get back on the national team. “But I stayed patient and I prepared my passing attempts properly without getting too excited. It’s nice to have some breathing room in the overall standings but I won’t play it safe. I’m going for the win in every race.”

Olivier has a perfect 2,000 points overall after two of four races. Beaulieu is second at 1,359, Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., is third at 1,259, Shoebridge fourth at 826, Mathieu Giroux of Montreal fifth at 752 and Guillaume Bastille of Longueuil, Que., sixth at 724 out of 32 entries.

In the women’s 500, Annick Plamondon Longueuil won the race in 45.849 with Valerie Lambert of Montreal second in 45.864, Ivanie Blondin of Orleans, Ont., third in 46.398 and Raphaele Lemieux of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., fourth in 46.922.

‘’I’m super happy with how it went after tough day yesterday (in the 1,500),’’ said Plamondon, 22, looking to book a second consecutive season on the national team. ‘’In the 500, the key is always to keep yourself in good position from the start. And today my starts were respectable and I was able to maintain a good line until the end.’’

Plamondon and Blondin- Friday’s 1,500 winner- are tied for first overall at 1,666 points, Nita Avrith of Montreal is third at 1,111, Lambert fourth at 1,012, Lemieux fifth at 905 and Jessica Gregg of Edmonton sixth at 738 out of 32.

The competition, which ends Sunday at the Olympic-sized Clareview Arena, helps determine next season’s national and developmental teams.