St-Gelais, Bradette, Boutin & Charles Hamelin qualify for all the final rounds at the 2015 Short Track Speed Skating World Championships

Marianne St-Gelais, Kasandra Bradette, Kim Boutin and Charles Hamelin all had a perfect first day at the 2015 ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Championships, Friday, as they all qualified for the final rounds of each of the three individual events.

St-Gelais (Saint-Félicien, QC), Bradette (Saint-Félicien, QC), Boutin (Sherbrooke, QC) and Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC) finished among the top two in their respective heats to earn spots in the 500m quarterfinals and 1500m semifinals, Saturday, as well as in the 1000m quarterfinals to follow Sunday.

They will all therefore be able to aim for the world championship title, which will be awarded following the men's and women's 3000m superfinals, Sunday.

The top eight in overall standings after the 500m, 1000m and 1500m events, men's and women's, will qualify for the 3000m superfinals, and therefore continue earning points for the overall title.

“I'm not surprised after seeing the way the girls worked so hard during the season,” said Gelais of Canada's perfect day on the women's side. “The World Championships are very different from the World Cups, notably because we really have the cream of the crop here this weekend. But (Bradette and Boutin) really showed they were in the game. They were patient, they picked up the information they needed to do well, and they were able to use it in the right way.”

“I used everything I learned over the season,” said Boutin. “I was able to go into the races relaxed, so I was able to apply my technique in the right manner, and it turned out to be a good day.”

“I wasn't too sure what approach to take, it's very different from the World Cups, and each morning I would come to the rink feeling a different kind of stress,” said Bradette. “But the 1500m allowed me to break the ice, then I was on familiar ground in the 500m. And in the 1000m, I was able to use everything I learned this season in that distance. So I'm quite satisfied. ”

St-Gelais said she was satisfied with her own performances, and said she likes the new format at the World Championships, where the first day was strictly reserved for qualifying in all the events.

“Before, we would do one distance per day, but I liked skating in all the distances. I was able to sink my teeth into it quickly, and it's encouraging for the rest of the weekend. I saw that I have strong legs right now,” said St-Gelais.

Girard and Duffy qualify for some races
The other two Canadians skating in individual events, Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC) and Patrick Duffy (Oakville, ON), for their part qualified for the final rounds of some races.

Girard earned a spot in Saturday's 1500m final rounds, as well as for Sunday's 1000m quarterfinals. He was eliminated in the 500m when he finished third of his heat in the elimination round and he will have to settle for Saturday morning's ranking race.

Duffy qualified for the 1000m quarterfinals. He was penalized in the 1500m and fell in the 500m, and will have to skate in the rankings races in this last event Saturday morning.

In the 1000m, all six Canadian skaters finished first in their respective heats on their way to qualifying.

The first since 1998?
In view of his results Friday, Charles Hamelin, who is taking part in the World Championships for the 12th straight time, will therefore be able to go for the world title, which was his stated objective going into the weekend. The world title was last won by a Canadian male skater in 1998. That year, five-time Olympic medalist Marc Gagnon was crowned world champion. Gagnon also won the world title in 1993, 1994 and 1996.

“I did what I wanted to do,” said Charles Hamelin. “I wanted to have good skates, intelligent skates, and now I'll be shooting for podium finishes.”

Hamelin, who has won six individual medals in six World Cup stages this season, finished second overall in 2007 and 2011, and was third on three occasions, in 2009, 2013 and 2014.

Marianne St-Gelais, who has won eight individual medals this World Cup season, is taking part in the Short Track Speed Skating World Championships for the sixth straight time. The three-time Olympic medalist finished 10th in overall standings last year, after coming up with her best-ever result, fourth place, in 2013. Nathalie Lambert was the last Canadian female skater to win an overall world title, earning it in 1991, 1993 and 1994.

Bradette, Boutin, Duffy and Girard are all taking part in the Senior World Championships for the very first time.

The 1500m semifinals and finals, as well as the 500m quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, and the relay semifinals, will take place Saturday. The competition will end on Sunday with the 1000m quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, in addition to the 3000m super finals and the relay finals.

Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC), Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, QC), Valérie Maltais (Saguenay, La Baie borough, QC), Genève Bélanger (Montreal, Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, QC) are also in Moscow and are available to take part in the relay races. The line-up for the men's and women's relay semifinals will be decided on Saturday.

In 39 World Championships so far, Canada has won 177 medals, with 59 gold, 61 silver and 57 bronze, good for second place overall, behind South Korea (199 medals) and ahead of China (129).

Competitions will be webcast on CBC.ca and broadcast on CBC as of 5 pm ET Saturday, March 14, and on CBC.ca as of 1 pm ET on on CBC as of 2 pm ET Sunday, March 15.
 
More info, including the full schedule and results, are available on Speed Skating Canada’s Website: www.speedskating.ca.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
500m W
Marianne St-Gelais: 2nd in her heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Saturday
Genève Bélanger: 2nd in her heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Saturday
Kasandra Bradette: 2nd in her heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Saturday

500m M
Charles Hamelin: 1st in his heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Saturday
Samuel Girard: 3rd in his heat and eliminated (will take part in the ranking races Saturday morning)
Patrick Duffy: 5th in his heat (fall) and eliminated (will take part in the ranking races Saturday morning)

1000m W
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in her heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
Kasandra Bradette: 1st in her heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
Kim Boutin: 2nd in her heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday

1000m W
Charles Hamelin: 1st in his heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
Samuel Girard: 1st in his heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
Patrick Duffy: 1st in his heat and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday

1500m W
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in her heat and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday
Kim Boutin: 1st in her heat and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday
Kasandra Bradette: 2nd in her heat and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday

1500m M
Charles Hamelin: 2nd in his heat and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday
Samuel Girard: 2nd in his heat and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday
Patrick Duffy: penalty in his heat and eliminated (will take part in the ranking races Saturday morning)

About Speed Skating Canada
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 13,000 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.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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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 
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Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC