Samuel Girard & Kim Boutin get closer to a spot at PyeongChang Games with wins in the 500m at the 2018 Short Track Team Selections

Montreal, August 16, 2017 – Samuel Girard and Kim Boutin both increased their chances of being the first male skater and the first female skater to be chosen by Speed Skating Canada to be part of the provisional short track team at the 2018 Olympic Games, Wednesday night at Maurice-Richard Arena, as they respectively won the men's and women's second 500m event of the competition held on the third day of the 2018 Short Track Team Selections.

Samuel Girard, from Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, led the men's 500m A final from start to finish, just ahead of veteran skater Charles Hamelin, from Sainte-Julie, QC. He therefore come up with his fourth win in five races so far at these Selections, and a second victory in two 500m events.

This second win in this distance means Girard has made an important step, as the first spot in overall standings – which will allow that skater to be the first one chosen for the upcoming Olympics – will be awarded to the skater who is the highest ranked according to points collected in his top two races out of three in the 500m and his top two results out of three in the 1000m distance. Because Girard won the first 1000m race of the Selections, held last Sunday, another win in this distance, either this Saturday or Sunday, would give him his ticket for South Korea.

“The goal, looking ahead to Wednesday's program, was to go for the win in the 500m to ensure first place in this distance,” said Samuel Girard, who is looking to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time. “It takes away a lot of pressure for the rest of the competition. This isn't over, I still don't have my ticket in my hand although we could say they're about to print it, but there are still important races to come and only after the weekend's races will I be able to say that I've earned my spot. Until then, there is no way I will take it easy in spite of the good results I've posted so far.”

Charles Hamelin, who was second in Wednesday's 500m like he was in last Saturday's race in that distance, and Charle Cournoyer, from Boucherville, QC, who was third on Wednesday as he was last Saturday in the first 500m, are close to Girard however: Hamelin is second in the standings linked to position one on the men's side, while Cournoyer is third.

As for the two other spots in the men's overall standings, Charles Hamelin leads ahead of Charle Cournoyer, Steven Dubois, from Lachenaie, QC, and François Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, QC.

On the women's side, Kim Boutin, from Sherbrooke, QC, also led the women's 500m A final from start to finish to edge Kasandra Bradette, from Saint-Félicien, QC. Boutin also came up with her fourth win in five races so far at these Selections, and her second in as many 500m events. She therefore strengthened her hold on first place overall with two days of competition and four races to go.

“Tonight's win is an emotional one for me because during the summer, I worked a lot on my 500m, on the technical aspects of this speed event, and I worked on my fears when I skate the 500m,” said Kim Boutin, who is also looking to earn her first-ever spot at the Olympics. “I almost didn't believe anymore in my chances of earning some good results in this distance, which is quite a challenge when you skate it at the Olympic Games.”

“There's no doubt that winning a distance, the 500m in this case, increases my chances of earning a spot, but for the time being I'm just happy about what I've accomplished, and about the fact that this will give me wings for the rest of the competition. In upcoming races, I will mostly look to have fun, and I will focus on my technique.”

Bradette, for her part, made amends after a tough Sunday, as her second-place finish on Wednesday comes on top of her two third-place results she came up with in last Saturday's races, a 1500m and a 500m. She therefore moved up to fourth place overall, behind Valérie Maltais, from Saguenay (La Baie borough), QC, who is third overall although she was eliminated in the semifinals of Wednesday's 500m after being penalized.

Jamie Macdonald, from Fort St. James, B.C., was third in Wednesday's 500m race, therefore registering her fifth top-3 results in five races so far at these Selections, and she put herself in good position to be chosen among the top three female skaters on the provisional Olympic team as she is presently second in overall standings.

Racing will continue on Saturday, August 19 as the second 1000m and the third and last 1500m of the 2018 Selections will take part as of 1:50 p.m. On Sunday, August 20, the last day of the competition the third and last 500m and 1000m events are scheduled as of 10:50 a.m. The complete schedule is available at www.speedskating.ca. Tickets are available through a link that can be found at http://www.speedskating.ca or at the gate for $10 for the Saturday races, and for $15 on Sunday. Admission is free for kids 12 years of age and under.

At the end of the competition, the first three women in overall Selections standings, which will take into account points from the top two races from the top two distances for a total of four races out of nine, will be named to the team that will compete at the PyeongChang Games.

On the men's side, the first spot will go to the skater who is highest in the standings while taking into account the top two races out of three in the 500m and the top two races out of three in the 1000m. The two spots that follow will be attributed to the highest-placed skaters according to the same overall Selections standings process that is in effect on the women's side.

Skaters will also be looking to place well in the standings in hopes of being able to skate in the individual distance events at the Games.

The complete policy and Olympic selection process as well as a one-page summary are available in the special section that can be found on Speed Skating Canada's website at http://www.speedskating.ca/.

Ranking after three days of competition (five races)
Women
(based on the selection ranking: including total points earned for the best two races of three, of the best two distances of three)
1. Kim Boutin                           38 000 points
2. Jamie Macdonald                 28 800 points
3. Valérie Maltais                      23 120 points
4. Kasandra Bradette                22 069 points
5. Camille De Serres-Rainville    16 725 points

Men
(first position: highest rank skater based on the best two races of three in the 500m and best two races of three in the 1000m)
*1. Samuel Girard         30 000 points
2. Charles Hamelin       22 400 points
3. Charle Cournoyer      20 800 points

* leader

(next skaters: based on the selection ranking including total points earned for the best two races of three, of the best two distances of three)
2. Charles Hamelin        34 000 points
3. Charle Cournoyer      20 800 points
4. Steven Dubois          17 027 points
5. François Hamelin      16 589 points
6. Guillaume Bastille     14 000 points

The schedule as well as full details are available at: http://www.speedskating.ca/.

About Speed Skating Canada
“To Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating”

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.

Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:

Premium partner: Intact Insurance
Funding partners: Government of Canada (Sport Canada), Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee
Official On-Ice High Performance Apparel: Li-Ning
Long Track Team Sponsor: KIA
Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA
Sport Development Partners: Winsport Canada, Calgary’s Olympic Oval, University of Calgary, Institut national du sport du Québec, Government of Quebec, Canadian Sport Institute-Calgary, City of Montreal, Quebec City, Excellence sportive Québec-Lévis

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
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