Samuel Girard & Kim Boutin qualify for PyeongChang on next-to-last day of 2018 Short Track Team Selections

Montreal, August 19, 2017 – Samuel Girard and Kim Boutin both qualified for the provisional short track team that will compete at the 2018 Olympic Games, Saturday at Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal, on the fourth and next-to-last day of the 2018 Short Track Team Selections.

Samuel Girard, from Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, and Kim Boutin, from Sherbrooke, QC, both officially earned their spot on the Canadian team by winning the first of two events scheduled on Saturday, the 1000m.

The first three women in overall Selections standings, taking 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. Kim Boutin clinched first place in those standings, Saturday, by winning the women's 1000m. She then won the 1500m that followed, thus earning her sixth victory in seven events so far at the Selections.

“I'm less emotional that I was last Wednesday, but I'm still very happy with both my races today. In addition to qualifying for the Olympics, I earned a spot in each of the three distances, so it's definitely a big plus,” said Boutin, alluding to the fact that skaters are also looking to place well in the standings in hopes of being able to skate in the individual distance events at the Games.

On the men's side, the first spot goes 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 (with the two spots that follow to be attributed to the highest-placed skaters according to the same overall Selections standings process that is in effect on the women's side), and Samuel Girard clinched that first spot by winning on Saturday his second 1000m race in as many starts in that distance at the Selections. He also won each of the first two 500m events. He then continued to dominate by winning the men's 1500m and thus come up with his sixth win in seven events so far at the competition.

“I feel ecstatic,” said Samuel Girard. “With today's two wins, it's nice to be able to continue at the same pace. My spot at the Games is now official, and I'll have a spot in each distance, so I'm very happy.”

Girard and Boutin have both qualified for the Games for the very first time.

Charles Hamelin and Cournoyer behind Girard
Samuel Girard took over the men's 1000m by overtaking Charle Cournoyer, from Boucherville, QC, on the outside with less than three laps to go, to finally finish first ahead of Cournoyer by 0.022 seconds. François Hamelin, from Saint-Julie, QC, was third. In the 1500m that followed, Girard waited for the right time to overtake on the outside, going by Charles Hamelin and skating to victory.

“My approach for Sunday's races will be the same as it was in today's 1500m, when although I had already qualified for the Games, I stayed alert and keen to go get first place,” said Samuel Girard. “I always want to win, I want to be number one once the competition is over, so there's no doubt that I willl try to win the last two races (on Sunday).”

Veteran skater Charles Hamelin did not reach the final round in the 1000m after being penalized. But he made amends by finishing second in the 1500m, behind Samuel Girard. Steven Dubois, from Lachenaie, QC, was third ahead of Charle Cournoyer, who was fourth.

Charles Hamelin is now second in overall standings with 34,000 points, ahead of Charle Cournoyer, who is third with 28,800 points after finishing second in Saturday's 1000m and fourth in the 1500m.

“Before the competition, my goal was to finish in the top three and qualify for the Olympic team, so finishing first or second doesn't matter to me,” said Charles Hamelin. “Being second behind Samuel (Girard), that would be quite fine by me. Now that Sam has earned his ticket for the Games, my goal is to qualify as well in hopes of having the strongest possible team at the Olympics.

“Today, I comforted my spot in second by collecting some big pojnts. There's still one day and two distances to go, and I still have energy in the tank,” added Charles Hamelin.

Macdonald and Bradette behind Boutin
Kim Boutin led the women's 1000m from start to finish, as she started to pull away from the pack and gain a bigger lead with two laps to go, to finally win the race by 0.069 seconds ahead of Kasandra Bradette, from Saint-Félicien, who was second. Audrey Phaneuf, from Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, finished third, ahead of Jamie Macdonald, from Fort St. James, B.C., who was fourth.

Kim Boutin then won the 1500m – and registered her sixth win in seven events so far – ahead of Jamie Macdonald, who was second, and Kasandra Bradette, who was third, in a race where the first three skaters finished way ahead of the three other finalists.

“I wasn't expecting this, especially that I didn't expect Marianne (St-Gelais) and Valérie (Maltais) to bow out of the competition,” said Boutin, alluding to the two skaters and Olympians who had to withdraw from the Selections. “But it's great to have been able to skate in front most of the time like it has been the case so far. I came up with a plan that's worked well for me, I felt I had good legs, so it was important for me to give it my all in every race and to do it consistently.”

Kim Boutin now has 40,000 points in women's overall standings, while Jamie Macdonald is second with 30,400 points and Kasandra Bradette, third with 27,200 points. Audrey Phaneuf can still catch up to one or the other, but she has a hard task ahead of her as she has a total of 18,688 points. Each race won is worth 10,000 points.

“I think it'll hit me more tomorrow, but yes, I'm so happy! This has been my goal for a long time, since I was a little girl,” said Jamie Macdonald about inching closer to qualifying. “I'm one step closer to my goal, and I'm pretty happy with that. I was a little sick today, but I'll be feeling better tomorrow, so I think I'll be able to take more risks than I was today.”

“After the 1000m, without saying it was mission accomplished, the pressure fell and I felt some emotion after the race,” said Kasandra Bradette. “We're getting closer to our goal, but I'm staying focused on the task at hand, like I was today, when I really went about it one race at a time, which gave way to some good results. I collected some good points today, but it's not over.”

Racing will continue on Sunday, August 20 as the third and last 500m and 1000m events of the Selections 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 www.speedskating.ca or at the gate for $15. Admission is free for kids 12 years of age and under.

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 www.speedskating.ca/.

Meet the 2018 Olympians… and those who preceded them
The first three Canadian short track speed skaters per gender who will represent the country at the 2018 Olympic Games will be announced following the last day of racing at the 2018 Short Track Team Selections, on Sunday at Maurice-Richard Arena. Once the races are over, Speed Skating Canada will present its first three male skaters and three female skaters who have qualified for the PyeongChang Games, along with approximately 25 Canadian short track and long track Olympians who have been bright spots for the sport of speed skating in past Games.

This special day of competition that will start out at 10:50 am will begin with free coffee being handed out, courtesy of Folgers, as well as Rekarb maple-flavoured energy drinks.

Also, during intermissions, fans will be able to get to know more about Korean culture and the 2018 Olympic Games as the Korean Cultural Centre will have an information booth on site as well as a hockey-themed game, while the South Korea Tourism Organization will give you the opportunity to visit PyeongChang through virtual reality. Kids will also be able to have fun and have their picture taken with the 2018 Olympic Games mascot, Soohorang, and the Paralympic Games mascot, Bandabi. Speed Skating Canada's new partner, Nagano Skate, will also be on hand to present its products.

Ranking after four days of competition (seven 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                           40 000 points (confirmed)
2. Jamie Macdonald                 30 400 points
3. Kasandra Bradette                27 200 points
4. Valérie Maltais                      23 120 points
5. Audrey Phaneuf                    18 688 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           40 000 points (confirmed)

(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      28 800 points
4. François Hamelin      20 736 points
5. Steven Dubois          19 331 points
6. Pascal Dion              17 123 points
7. Guillaume Bastille     15 442 points
8. Cédrik Blais              13 858 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
Website: www.speedskating.ca  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC