De Haître makes his mark while Nesbitt confirms her status

Day two of Intact Insurance 2014 Speed Skating Team Selections in Calgary



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Newcomer Vincent De Haître (Cumberland, On) stunned the crowd and himself at the Intact Insurance 2014 Speed Skating Team Selections on Monday with a winning skate in the men’s 1000m event. Christine Nesbitt, who won the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, captured the women’s race.


Two other relative newcomers to the national scene, 21-year-old Kali Christ of Regina was second and 23-year-old Kaylin Irvine of Calgary was third.


De Haître is just 19 years old and has just two World Cup races on his resume, both 1500m distances — on Nov. 8 in Calgary and Nov. 15 in Salt Lake City. “I feel out of this world,” De Haître said after finishing a lengthy round of hugs at the Calgary Olympic Oval. “This is surreal. I couldn’t be happier, really.”


Skaters at the selections are vying for spots on Canada’s team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.


Canada has four spots in women’s 1000m in Sochi and four in the men’s 1000m.


De Haître’s whipped past his previous personal best with a winning time of one minute, 08.37 seconds. Muncef Ouardi of Quebec City was second in 1:08.78 and Gilmore Junio of Calgary third in 1:08.87. De Haître skated a 1:09.64 at the Oval on March 6, 2013.


Nesbitt, who also won the 500m on Saturday, won the 1000m in 1:14.19. 


Christ and Irvine are both in their third international seasons.


“I’m so overwhelmed right now, it hasn’t really sunk in,” Christ said. “I’m sure tonight I’ll be pretty jittery. The past two years have been a blur. I never thought I’d be here now.”


Irvine was likewise “ecstatic” after the race. “I’ve been thinking about this race for at least two years,” she said. “Every time I race a 1000m I think this could be the Olympic trials and I try to approach each race like that. To be honest, the nerves definitely caught up to me and this was a battle. ”


The selections continue Thursday, Jan. 2 with the women’s 1500m at 5 p.m. Mountain time and the men’s 1500m at 6 o’clock. 


Following the Olympic Qualifying competitions (Essent ISU World Cups), the Canadian long-track Olympic team currently has the ability to send 18 athletes to the Games (10 women, eight men), with the athletes to be nominated by Speed Skating Canada’s Olympic Selection Committee following the Selections and announced publicly on Jan. 22 at Calgary’s Olympic Oval.


SCHEDULE for Intact Insurance 2014 Speed Skating Team Selections:

Thursday, Jan. 2

5 p.m.                           Women                1500m

6 p.m.                           Men            1500m

Friday, Jan. 3

3 p.m.                           Women                5000m

4:30 p.m.                      Men            10000m

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