Short track speed skaters - first nominees to Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team

Short track speed skaters - first nominees to Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team

Names unveiled in conjunction with announcement that Hilton HHonors is now the new Official Hotel Supplier of the Canadian Olympic Team

MONTREAL – Today, Canada’s top 10 Short Track Speed Skaters were nominated by Speed Skating Canada to vie for a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games next February. The five males: Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean, Charle Cournoyer, Michael Gilday and François Hamelin; and five females: Valérie Maltais, Marianne St. Gelais, Marie-Eve Drolet, Jessica Hewitt and Jessica Gregg have earned a combined 35 World Championship podium finishes and six Olympic medals. The athletes donned their official Canadian Olympic Team jackets at an event in Montreal’s landmark Hilton Bonaventure hotel, where an enthusiastic welcome was extended to Hilton HHonors, the guest loyalty program of Hilton Worldwide and its ten distinct hotel brands, which has signed on as the Official Hotel Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team.

“Canadians were born to skate and we are delighted that these amazing athletes are the first to be nominated by Speed Skating Canada to contend for the opportunity to wear the Maple Leaf in Sochi,” said Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “On behalf of the entire Canadian Olympic family, I want to congratulate all of you on this remarkable achievement and wish you the best of luck in the remaining four World Cup events later this year.”

“The history says it all: Speed Skating Canada and our short track speed skaters know exactly what’s required to come first and it’s fitting that we are kicking off our Sochi 2014 Olympic Team Announcements with this particular team. I’m proud of all of them,” added Steve Podborski, two-time Olympian, Lake Placid 1980 Olympic bronze medallist and Sochi 2014 Chef de Mission for the Canadian Olympic Team.

“Speed Skating Canada is very proud to be the first National Sport Federation to nominate our Short Track athletes contending for a spot on Canada’s Olympic Team,” stated Marie Claire Rouleau, president of Speed Skating Canada. “I know that our athletes, coaches and support team are looking forward to competing in Sochi and I am sure that their exceptional performances leading up to the Games will prepare them well to lead our Olympic team to podium success.”

"Today’s ceremony and the receiving of our Olympic Team jackets is a special occasion for us athletes. This is a significant step for us and our team as we officially become part of the great Canadian delegation,” said Charles Hamelin, two-time Olympian and three-time Olympic medallist. “Our hard work is really starting to pay off and rest assured that my teammates and I will wear the Maple Leaf with pride and properly represent our country. One thing I can confirm is that the short track team will be ready once the Sochi Olympic Games roll around."

The 10 Short Track athletes nominated today will compete in four remaining International Skating Union World Cup events this season, the last two of which are Olympic qualifiers, where Canada’s nominated athletes will contend for Olympic placements in the 500 m, 1000 m and 1500 m events in Sochi. Up to three spots in each distance is up for grabs. In order for any country to secure all three placements, racers must finish in the top 32 in the 500 m and 1000 m events, and top 36 in the 1500 m race. In the women’s 3000 m relay and men’s 5000 m relay, only the top eigth teams will qualify to race in Sochi.

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place from Feb. 7-23, 2014. The Canadian Olympic Team has set a goal of finishing as the top nation in terms of overall medals won.

List of athletes nominated to the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team:

Women:

Valérie Maltais

Marianne St-Gelais

Marie-Eve Drolet

Jessica Hewitt

Jessica Gregg

Men:

Charles Hamelin

Olivier Jean

Charle Cournoyer

Michael Gilday

François Hamelin