Four world records set as new Junior Short Track Team is selected at Olympic Oval

Four junior world records were set by short trackers Jessica Gregg, Nicholas Bean, Joel Mineau and Francois Hamelin as the six member National Junior Team was selected this weekend at the Canadian Junior Short Track Championships.

In today’s 1,000 metres Hamelin, from Que., set a junior world record in 1:26:670 and Bean, from Ottawa, set the record in the 1,500 metres in 2:12:702. In yesterday’s 500 metres races Gregg, from Edmonton, and Mineau, from Que., set world records with Mineau clocking a time of 42.037 and taking first place. He beat the old junior world record of 42.536 set by Ho-Suk Lee of Korea in 2003. Gregg, the only female record setter of the weekend, skated the 500 metres in 44.084 to come in first place.

“I was on the inside lane and had a good start,” says Gregg, 17. Her personal best has been faster than the junior world record, but skated in a senior race. “When I found out I set the junior record I was so excited, I was speechless.”

All junior world record setters accumulated enough points over the weekend to qualify for the Canadian Junior Short Track Team. The 2005-2006 junior team is comprised of Gregg, Andrea Do-Duc, of Que., and Valerie Maltais, also of Que., for the women and Mineau, Hamelin, and Bean for the men.

“Making the team means I’ve achieved one of my life goals,” says Bean, 18. “It is definitely a shock to me and it hasn’t really set in yet.” By the end of the day yesterday, Bean was sitting in first place. Combining that with his junior world record in the 1,500 metres set today helped lock down his spot on the Canadian Junior Short Track Team.

More then 80 junior short track skaters from across Canada competed in this weekend’s competition. Skaters who’ve made the team will go on to the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships Jan. 6 – 8, 2006 in Romania. Making the team will give these six under-19 skaters a lot of great experience leading to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Text courtesy Bridget Cox, Communications Specialist, Olympic Oval.