Three speed skating National Team members to take part in roller skate competitions at Pan American Games in Toronto

Speed Skating Canada will see three of its National Team members enjoy the opportunity to compete at home at the Pan American Games in Toronto, this summer, in roller inline skating (speed skating) competitions.
 
Olympic silver medalist in the women’s relay event at the 2014 Games Valérie Maltais (Saguenay, La Baie borough, QC), long track development National Team member Jordan Belchos (Toronto, ON), and 2015 Junior Long Track National Team member Christopher Fiola (Montreal, QC) all qualified during the trials held during the May 30 weekend in the Toronto area. Valérie Maltais and Christopher Fiola finished on top of the cumulative ranking in the women's and men's events, respectively.
 
Morgane Echardour (Toronto, ON) will round out the four-athlete Canadian team in this sport at the 2015 Pan American Games.
 
Valérie Maltais will join Cindy Klassen as an Olympic speed skating medalist who will represent the country at the Pan American Games in roller skating. At the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Klassen, a five-time Olympic medalist, also took part in competitions in this sport.
 
Maltais will also join Clara Hughes as a speed skating Olympic medalist who will take part in the Pan American Games. Hughes, a six-time Olympic medalist, won medals in cycling at the 1991, 1995 and 2003 Pan American Games.
 
The men's and women's 500m, 200m time trials, and 10,000m point race events will be held July 12-13 at the Pan American Field House in Etobicoke.
 
“Representing Canada in my hometown is what I'm looking forward to the most,” said Jordan Belchos. “The venue for inline speed skating is only about 5 kilometres away from the hospital where I was born, so it couldn't be much closer to home for me. Also, the opening ceremonies are in the stadium where I used to go to watch baseball games with my dad when I was a young kid, so that will definitely be a special experience for me. I'm really looking forward to the excitement and the pressure of the games at home.”
 
“I’m very excited to have another opportunity to compete at home which, I’m sure, will be different from the Olympic Games,” noted Valérie Maltais, who also took part in the 2010 Games in Vancouver, in short track speed skating. “Once again, a competition of this size, at home, really motivates me a lot and I’m sure there will be a lot of positives.”
 
The Canadian team will battle hard to beat Colombia, which won five gold medals out of a possibility of six at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Ecuador and Argentina were also on the podium.
 
“My objective is to be competitive for a medal,” admitted Jordan Belchos. “I believe that the training program I'm doing now will allow me to be one of the strongest skaters in the competition, and if I can race smart and have luck on my side, I really believe that I can do well.”
 
“For me, it’s hard to put forward an specific objective in terms of rank,” said Valérie Maltais. “I don’t know much about the calibre of the skaters who will be in action in Toronto. My objective will be to give it my best and to have strong and competitive races.”
 
According to long track National Team coach Bart Schouten, who also coaches Jordan Belchos, this opportunity to compete in Toronto will contribute to the development of his skater.
 
“In order to perform on demand in big competitions, there is nothing better than racing in important competitions, even if it is in another sport,” stated Bart Schouten. “So Jordan racing in inline skating at the Pan American Games will give him great experience on how to step it up in ice speed skating as well.”
 
More information can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website: 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 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 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC