The race for the Olympic Games opens this weekend in Hungary in short track speed skating

Montreal, September 26, 2017 – Canada's short track speed skaters will open their international season this weekend as the first stage of the 2017-2018 ISU World Cup season will be held, Sept. 28 to Oct. 1st in Budapest, Hungary, where qualifying spots for countries at the 2018 Olympic Games will be at stake in the different events.
 
In Hungary, Canada will be represented by members of the provisional Olympic team as Kim Boutin (Sherbrooke, QC), Kasandra Bradette (Saint-Félicien, QC), Jamie Macdonald (Fort St. James, B.C.), Valérie Maltais (Saguenay, QC) and Marianne St-Gelais (Saint-Félicien, QC) will skate on the women's side, while Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, QC), Pascal Dion (Montreal, QC), Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC), Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC) and François Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC) will do so on the men's side.
 
Audrey Phaneuf (Saint-Hyacinthe, QC) and Steven Dubois (Lachenaie, QC) are also travelling with the team.
 
This fall, members of the provisional Olympic team will take part in four World Cup stages. On these four occasions, each Thursday will feature qualifying for the final rounds of the 1500m and 500m distances slated for the Saturday, while Friday will be dedicated to qualifying in the 1000m and relay races, with the final rounds in these events set for the Sunday. Unlike the format for non-Olympic seasons, each event will be held only once per weekend.

Over these four World Cups, a maximum of three skaters per gender, who can differ, will be allowed to take part in each of the individual races. During these events, athletes will collect points in each of the individual distances while countries will earn points in the relays. At the end of the four World Cups, the top three performances out of four for each skater will be tallied and will count for the special standings which are dedicated to Olympic qualifying, and will therefore determine how the available spots for the PyeongChang Games will be attributed.
 
Skaters for each individual event
In Hungary, Kim Boutin and Valérie Maltais will take part in the 1000m and 1500m events, while Kasandra Bradette will race in the 500m and 1000m races and Jamie Macdonald, in the 500m and 1500m.
 
Marianne St-Gelais will race in the 500m event.
 
“With my coach and my support team, we decided it was best to only take part in the 500m event for this first World Cup of the season,” explained Marianne St-Gelais. “I'm having a slower start to season than usual. For the time being, I’m not entirely at the physical level that I wished I would have been. Training in the past few weeks has been harder for me and my legs have felt heavy. So the decision to only focus on one event is the best option under the circumstances. The most important thing is that I be at my best in February… and I will be!”
 
Although this is an Olympic year, Kim Boutin doesn’t see a difference compared to previous seasons.
 
“We did some things that paid off in the past years,” said Boutin, who won eight of nine events at the 2018 Short Track Team Selections in August. “As for me, I’ll keep the same mindset.”
 
On the men’s side, Samuel Girard, Charles Hamelin and Charle Cournoyer are the skaters designated to represent Canada in each of the three individual distances that are scheduled.
 
“The boys' performances, including those at the Olympic Selections when the season started, showed that we are ready to face the competition,” said Charles Hamelin, who will be kicking off his 15th season at the international level. “The team is doing super well and it has really improved over the summer. We've been training at home for a while and we are eager for this first World Cup to start. Now, the goal is to be consistent and smart during the races in order to pick up the three spots for Canada in each of the distances.”

Aside from the individual distances, the primary goal will be to qualify for the relays by finishing among the top seven, excluding host country South Korea. Qualifying would mean that Canada could send over a full team, i.e. five skaters per gender. If not, a maximum of three non-qualified skaters per gender will be allowed to go at the Olympic Games.

More details are available on Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Speed Skating Canada is committed to Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating. 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. www.speedskating.ca

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
Official Technical Equipment Supplier: Nagano Skate
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, Conseil du sport de haut niveau de Québec

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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