The die is cast! Short track speed skaters are one step closer to Sochi

The die is cast! Short track speed skaters are one step closer to Sochi.

Two World Cup events in Turin and Moscow will set the stage for Olympic qualification in November

Montreal, August 18, 2013 – Six names to remember for Sochi: Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean, Charle Cournoyer, Valérie Maltais, Marianne St-Gelais and Marie-Ève Drolet. These are the short track speed skaters to watch as they have met selection requirements, which makes them eligible to compete in World Cup events this November. World Cup events are used for Olympic qualification. It took the results of the very last race today to confirm the first three spots on the team. On Monday, the selection committee will meet to determine the fourth and fifth spots, which will be followed by an announcement. 500m Event: A fight to the finish!Valérie Maltais recorded a 5th consecutive win, withstanding the charge from Marianne St-Gelais led for the majority of time in the final sprint. Both Jessicas, Hewitt (3rd) and Gregg (4th) crossed the finish line within the same second as their fellow competitors. The great 500m specialist Jessica Gregg, after a bout of illness, performed below her usual high standard.The 500m final featured the Hamelin brothers, Olivier Jean and François-Louis Tremblay. Apart from Charles Hamelin, whose spot was already assured, the three other competitors were in search of valuable points in order to meet the selection requirements, a battle they fought to the end. François Hamelin resumed where he had left off on Thursday, finishing neck and neck with his brother Charles, who ended up winning by a hair, thereby extending to eight his consecutive winning streak at the Selections.
1000m
The women's 1000m final was intense with Marianne St-Gelais finishing just behind teammate Valérie Maltais. Her sixth consecutive victory made Maltais the overall female champion of the Selections. For this athlete from La Baie, Qc, the process of these last weeks was important to confirm her place on the team and also to consolidate her lead. "During the last Olympic Games in Vancouver, I had not been selected to be part of the relay team. This decision to not select me was a trigger, because from that moment I promised that I would put all my energy into being among the best. I followed my plan to the letter and all my efforts have paid off. "With her trademark style, Jessica Hewitt delivered a very good race finishing third, and passing teammate Gabrielle Waddell at the finish line.On the men’s side, there was an incredible end to the race. In the semi-final round of the 1000m, François-Louis Tremblay tried a risky manoeuvre by passing Charles Hamelin, which resulted in Charles, Francois-Louis Tremblay and Vincent Beaulieu-Tinker falling. As a result, Hamelin injured his left ankle, which ended his winning streak of eight victories (out of a possible 9). Tremblay meanwhile received a yellow card and a penalty costing him valuable points in the standings. A record for Charles?The only other athlete who achieved a perfect sequence in a selection process for the Olympic Games is Marc Gagnon, who won all four events (500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m) in the selections for the Olympic Games in Lillehammer. However, the selection process has evolved over the years, so it is difficult to compare Charles Hamelin’s perfect sequence to that of Gagnon’s, or any other athlete. Update on Marie-Ève Drolet’s InjuryMarie-Ève Drolet was present at the Maurice Richard Arena for this last day of competition, but as a spectator. Drolet, who also competed at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, had already accumulated enough points to secure the third spot on the team. She met the medical team who diagnosed sacroiliac irritation caused by her fall last Thursday. Marie-Ève will benefit from a break from competition and training next week (as will the whole team). This will allow her to recover from the muscle pain she is suffering.

Men’s1. Charles Hamelin, highest ranked athlete based on the combined distance result of the 500m and the 1000m distances2. Olivier Jean, highest ranked athlete (best two distances)3. Charle Cournoyer, second highest ranked athlete based on the combined distance result of the 500m and the 1000m distances. Women’s (the three highest ranked athletes based on the final selection ranking - best two distances).1. Valérie Maltais, 1st2. Marianne St-Gelais, 2nd3. Marie-Ève Drolet, 3rd
Day 5 – Results: Final 500m (women), 3rd of 3 events1. Valérie Maltais, La Baie, QC (0:43,756)2. Marianne St-Gelais, St-Félicien, QC (0:43,808)3. Jessica Hewitt, Kamloops, BC (0:43,954)4. Jessica Gregg, Edmonton, AB (0:44,592) Final, 500m (men) – 3rd of 3 events1. Charles Hamelin, Ste-Julie, QC (40,726)2. François Hamelin, Ste-Julie QC (40,733)3. Olivier Jean, Lachenaie, QC (41,024)4. François-Louis Tremblay, Alma (Montréal) (41,189) Final 1000m (women), 3rd of 3 events1. Valérie Maltais, La Baie, QC (1:32,093)2. Marianne St-Gelais, St-Félicien, QC (1:32,118)3. Jessica Hewitt, Kamloops, BC (1:32,137)4. Gabrielle Wadell, Red Deer, AB (1:32,555) Final, 1000m (men) – 3rd of 3 events1. Olivier Jean, Lachenaie, QC (1:27,106)2. Charle Cournoyer, Boucherville, QC (1:27,153)3. Alexandre St.Jean, Québec, QC (1:27,244)4. Rémi Beaulieu-Tinker, Alma, QC (1:27,273) Results:http://www.speedskating.ca/national-competitions-short-track-0 List of participating athletes:http://www.speedskating.ca/olympic-selections Selection process steps:http://www.speedskating.ca/sites/speedskating.ca/files/fact_sheet._en.pdf