Strong comeback from Kim Boutin on first day of competition at 2016 Short Track Fall World Cup Selections

Marianne St-Gelais and Charles Hamelin each win both their races on Friday
 
Montreal, September 23, 2016 – Marianne St-Gelais from Saint-Félicien, QC, and Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, both skated to wins in each of their two scheduled events, i.e. the 500m and 1500m, Friday, on the first day of the 2016 Short Track Fall World Cup Selections, which will take place until Sunday at the Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal. For her part, Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, QC, finished second in both her races.

For Boutin, this marks a return to form, after she had to give up on skating at last January's Canadian Senior Championships as a precautionary measure due to fatigue, which meant that she would not qualify for the Winter World Cups and the 2016 World Championships.

Marie-Ève Drolet from Saguenay (Chicoutimi borough), QC, skated to third place in the women's 1500m, as did Valérie Maltais of Chicoutimi (La Baie borough), QC, in the women's 500m.

“I wasn't expecting that at all,” said Boutin, age 21. “I knew I had what it took to make it on the podium in both distances. But it was quite nerve-racking because it had been a while since I had skated in a competitive setting against these same women and I didn't quite know where I measured against them. But right after the heats in the 1500m, I found my groove again. I love what I was able to accomplish today.”

Marianne St-Gelais came up with wins in the distances that earned her a world championship title in the 1500m and a silver medal in the 500m at last season's World Championships in Seoul, South Korea.

She won Friday's 500m after a very fast start that, according to some, should have been a called a false start and, by the same token, should have disqualified her considering it was the second false start in the final.

“I really stole the start and, after that, the race was pretty much settled,” said St-Gelais. “It would have been interesting to see Kim skate in front of the pack. There's still another 500m to go! But all in all, I had a very good day. I tried different things in the 1500m and I wanted to go with my first instincts.”

“I saw the false start but at the same time, these things happen and you have to deal with it,” said Boutin. “But I would have liked to see if I would have been able to challenge Marianne. I think I have what it takes to do it. But I don't want to take anything away from her because she does have strong starts.”

Two more wins for Charles Hamelin

On the men's side, Charles Hamelin finished on top in the first races of the weekend, in the 500m and 1500m.

Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, and Patrick Duffy of Oakville, ON, completed the podium in that order in the 1500m, while Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC, and Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, did the same in the 500m.

“The first race of the season is always stressful,” said Charles Hamelin. “I trained very hard this summer and I considered this to be a first serious test, in the sense that this was an opportunity to see at what level the others were at. To see that everything went well, that I was able to manage my energy level and my races well, that I followed the strategies that I had prepared to perfection and that I improved on certain things that I wanted to improve on in those distances, it made for a satisfying day.”

On Saturday, the first 1000m race as well as the second 1500m of the weekend are scheduled.

All participants will skate twice in each of the scheduled distances, namely the 500m, 1000m and 1500m events, for a total of six races each over the weekend. Athletes are vying for a spot on the team that will represent the country at the first four World Cup stages of the 2016-2017 season, with the first one to be held on home soil, at Calgary’s Olympic Oval, November 4-6, 2016. Tickets are available at http://www.universe.com/Calgary2016.
 
The four highest ranked skaters in the overall ranking, based on the total points earned in their two best distances at the Fall World Cup Selections, automatically qualify for the World Cups. The two other positions per gender will be discretionary choices. The team that will skate at the World Cup to be held in Calgary will be announced in the weeks following the Fall World Cup Selections.

The full schedule, the list of competing athletes as well as results will be available on Speed Skating Canada’s website at www.speedskating.ca.

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 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.

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

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
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Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca  
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