Charles Hamelin crowned World Champion

Marianne St-Gelais ends her career on a good note by winning bronze with women's relay

Montreal, March 18, 2018 – Charles Hamelin became the first Canadian in 20 years to be crowned overall World Champion in short track speed skating and he also helped the men's relay earn the silver medal, while Marianne St-Gelais ended her career on a positive note by helping the women's relay collect the bronze medal, Sunday, on the last day of the 2018 ISU World Championships that were held at Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal.

Charles Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, QC, finished first in overall standings with a total of 81 points, close to double what the second-place skater, Hungary's Shaolin Sandor Liu, earned (45 points), as well as the third-place skater, South Korea's Dae Heon Hwang (44). Hamelin therefore became the first Canadian to become overall World Champion since Marc Gagnon in 1998.

Hamelin was able to do it by winning Sunday's 1000m, ahead of South Korea's Hyo Jung Lim, the silver medalist, and Dutch skater Sjinkie Knegt, the bronze medalist. That was his second gold medal of the weekend, as he also came out on top of Saturday's 1500m race. That allowed him to qualify for Sunday's 3000m super final, which was open only to the top eight skaters in overall standings following the first three individuels events of the competition. He skated to fourth place in that race, which was won by Liu.

“There were two titles that I hadn't won so far over my career, the Olympic 1000m and the overall world championship title, and the fact that I was able to do it now, here in Montreal, I can't find the words to describe the feeling. To be able to do it in front of my family and friends, it gives me the impression that I'm young again! Why should I stop skating, for sure I can't stop now!,” said Charles Hamelin, who announced before the World Championships started that he had decided to postpone his retirement by at least a year. “Now, I think people understand why I wanted to keep on skating!”

“I was ready mentally to go get these kinds of results over the weekend, but to be able to do it for real, it's like a dream come true. It took me 15 years to be crowned World Champion, it's feels like an incredible relief,” added Charles Hamelin. “In short track, it's so competitive now that one small mistake, a fall, one disqualification results in you losing a lot of points and the chance to become World Champion. But I was able to be consistent, I wasn't disqualified, I came up with top-5 results in every distance and it ended up putting me on top.”

Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, saw his day of individual racing end in the 1000m, during which he was penalized and had to settle for fifth place. He finished 10th overall.

Charles Hamelin and Samuel Girard also helped the Canadian team pick up silver in the relay, finishing behind South Korea and ahead of Japan. Pascal Dion, from Montreal, and Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, also skated in Sunday's final, while François Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, QC, who was to retire after this weekend, was also part of the team.

“Our relay race was impeccable, it's just that the Koreans were really strong when they passed me to take over first place. Hats off to our team,” said Samuel Girard.

“The energy the crowd gave us during the relay helped me forget some of the physical fatigue I had, and I was able to come up with a solid performance anyway. The Korean who was ahead of me was also quite solid, so it would have been hard for me to catch up to him, and I fosused mostly on protecting the second spot,” said Charles Hamelin, the skater who crossed the finish line for Canada.

François Hamelin therefore ends his career with a total of 49 international medals – one at the Olympics, four at World Championships and 38 on the World Cup circuit.

Bronze for St-Gelais and the relay
On the women's side, Marianne St-Gelais, from Saint-Félicien, QC, who had already announced that she would retire after this season, ended her career on a positive note by helping the women's relay to earn the bronze medal, behind South Korea and the Netherlands. Kim Boutin from Sherbrooke, QC, Kasandra Bradette from Saint-Félicien, QC, and Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, QC, also skated in Sunday's final, while Jamie Macdonald of Fort St. James, B.C., skated in Saturday's semifinal.

That was the only medal Marianne St-Gelais earned at these World Championships. She therefore hung up her skates for the last time on Sunday after collecting 114 medals on the international scene – three at the Olympics, 15 at World Championships and 93 on the World Cup circuit.

“I felt a bit torn because today's 1000m was important to me, but emotions took over and that's fine,” said St-Gelais. “I'm happy with the way it ended. I wanted to skate in the relay, I wanted to skate well, I wanted to finish off with nice memories from here, the crowd was behind me.”

“I'm quite fine with my decision. I was able to enjoy the weekend, to be in the moment on numerous occasions. But what makes me so emotional for now, it's the fact that I've just skated my last relay, which was my favourite event because that's the one I skate with the girls. I think that's the thing that I will miss the most.”

In individual racing, Kim Boutin was the top Canadian at the World Championships with a seventh-place finish overall with 21 points, 89 points away from Min Jeong Choi. The South Korea skater was crowned 2017-2018 overall World Champion on the women's side with a total of 110 points, way ahead of her teammate Suk Hee Shim (63 points).

Boutin was eliminated in the 1000m semifinal, Sunday, but she took part in the women's 3000m super final, where she finished fifth in a race that was won by Choi.

“It's really been an incredible season for me, but I've had lots of ups and downs because it's so taxing physically,” said Kim Boutin, who won three individual medals at the 2018 Olympic Games held in PyeongChang. “In today's 1000m, I didn't have any energy left, and then I tried to gave it my all anyway in the 3000m, the relay too. Overall, I'm really proud of my season, of what I've accomplished.”

Also eliminated in the 1000m semifinal, St-Gelais finished 19th in overall standings. Jamie Macdonald, who was given a yellow card in the 1000m quarterfinals held Sunday but had taken fourth place in Saturday's 500m, ended up ninth overall as she was skating in her first-ever World Championships.

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

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

1000m W
Kim Boutin: 5th in semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 9)
Marianne St-Gelais: 6th in semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 11)
Jamie Macdonald: yellow card in quarterfinals (final ranking: 37)

1000m M
Charles Hamelin: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
Samuel Girard: penalized in the A final (final ranking: 5)
Pascal Dion : 1st in his heat and 1st time overall in ranking round (final ranking : 21)

3000m SF W
Kim Boutin: 5th place (final ranking: 5)

3000m SF M
Charles Hamelin: 4th place (final ranking: 4)

Relay W
Canada: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
(Kim Boutin, Marianne St-Gelais, Jamie Macdonald, Valérie Maltais, Kasandra Bradette)

Relay M
Canada: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
(Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Charle Cournoyer, Pascal Dion, François Hamelin)

Final overall standings
Women
7. Kim Boutin
9. Jamie Macdonald
19. Marianne St-Gelais

Men
1. Charles Hamelin
10. Samuel Girard
22. Pascal Dion
 
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, Excellence sportive Québec-Lévis

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
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