Kim Boutin, Samuel Girard & Charles Hamelin have a perfect day in qualifying to kick off the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal

Marianne St-Gelais, Jamie Macdonald each earn a spot in the final rounds of two events

Montreal, March 16, 2018 – Kim Boutin, Samuel Girard and Charles Hamelin all had a perfect day in qualifying, Friday, at the ISU World Short Track Championships held until Sunday at Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal, as they earned spots in the final rounds of each of the three individual events in which they were competing. Marianne St-Gelais and Jamie MacDonald, for their part, qualified in two of the three distances.

Kim Boutin from Sherbrooke, QC, skated to the final rounds in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m by finishing first in her heat in each of the three distances, as did Samuel Girard, from Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, on the men's side.

“I'm back to the energy level I was before after having a little low following the Olympics, I felt confident out there on the ice, it went well, and I feel confident I will be able to keep my energy level up until Sunday,” said Kim Boutin, who won a medal in each of the three individual distances at the 2018 Olympic Games held in PyeongChang. “World Championships are very different from Olympic Games because here, all the races happen over three days only, so it's a challenge mentally and physically. The key is to manage one's energy level well.”

“I really followed the race plan we had set out and I skated pretty much like I wanted to,” said Samuel Girard, who won gold in the 1000m at the Olympic Games and was third in overall standings at last year's World Championships. “I wanted to attack all my races the same way I did at the Olympics and that's what I was able to do. I felt good out there on the ice, I was able to pull away from the pack even though the level of competition is very high.”

Charles Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, QC, achieved the same result as Boutin and Girard by finishing first of his heat in the 500m and 1500m, and second in the 1000m.

“That was the goal, to qualify for each of the three distances, regardless of the fact that I would finish first, second or third (in qualifying). I can therefore say mission accomplished,” said Charles Hamelin, who was second overall at the 2016 World Championships. “I felt great out there on the ice, everything was going really well – the body, the blades, my head also –, so it bodes well for the weekend. Now, I'm just looking forward to skating out there in front of the crowd, at home.”

St-Gelais and MacDonald qualify for 500m and 1000m
Marianne St-Gelais from Saint-Félicien, QC, qualified for the final rounds in the 500m and 1000m distances by finishing first in her qualifying heat each time, while Jamie Macdonald from Fort St. James, B.C., qualified in the 500m (second in her heat) and the 1000m (first in her heat).

In the women's 1500m. St-Gelais was fifth in her heat while Macdonald was sixth, both following a fall.

“I had an OK day, although I had a bad fall in the 1500m, where I ended up being a little too greedy – I should have been content with the second spot instead of trying to gain first place,” said Marianne St-Gelais, who was second overall at the 2016 and 2017 World Championships. “So I started out the Worlds with a strike already against me, but it's possible to be be world champion (overall) while skating in only two distances, although I'll have to be really sharp in those two distances.”

“I felt like I was going to qualify for the 1500m but then the ice broke out and I fell. My blade just slipped out,” said Jamie Macdonald, who is skating in her first career World Championships. “But I'm excited about qualifying for the other two distances. I came very close to earning a spot on the (World Championship) team over the last three years, so I'm looking forward to taking part in the final rounds and to see what I can do.”

Pascal Dion of Montreal, who was taking part in individual races at the World Championships for the first time, did not qualify in any of the three distances.

“I'm disappointed with the performances I gave today, although you learn from all of this, for sure. But it's a tough way to learn,” said Pascal Dion. “I would have hoped for more. I didn't have a good 1500m race and I wanted to make up for it in the 500m, but at the start my blades hit another skater's blades. It really destroyed my blades, and I fell because of that. Then, it was tough to get back into the right frame of mind for the 1000m, where I came up against three Olympic champions in my heat, so it was a tough challenge.”

The 500m and 1500m final rounds will take place on Saturday, while the 1000m final rounds will follow on Sunday. After these three individual events, the top eight skaters per gender in overall standings will have the opportunity to earn additional points by taking part in the 3000m super final. World championship titles will be awarded to the winner of each event and to the skaters who finish first in the men's and women's overall standings.

The relay races will kick off on Saturday with the semifinals, followed by the finals on Sunday. Kasandra Bradette from Saint-Félicien, QC, Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, QC, Charle Cournoyer from Boucherville, QC, and François Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, QC, are all available to take part, as are the six Canadians who skated in Friday's individual distances.

“The goal now, in my case, is to help the Canadian team to win a medal, if they need me,” said Pascal Dion.

Live on CBC Sports
The final rounds will be broadcast live on CBC from 5 pm to 6 pm (ET) on Saturday, March 17, and the next day from 4 pm to 5 pm (ET) as part of the weekly CBC Sports program Road To The Olympic Games. In addition, CBC Sports will webcast all the races live at cbcsports.ca as well as on the CBC Sports application for iOS and Android devices. CBC Sports was chosen by the ISU as the host broadcaster of the World Championships.
 
In French, the competition will be broadcast in its entirety live on TVA Sports 2 on Saturday, March 17 from 1 pm to 6 pm, and on TVA Sports on Sunday, March 18 from 1:30 pm to 5 pm.

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

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
 
500m W
Kim Boutin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Jamie Macdonald: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
 
500m M
Samuel Girard: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Charles Hamelin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Pascal Dion: 4th in the heats (fall) and will take part in the ranking round Saturday
 
1000m W
Kim Boutin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Jamie Macdonald: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
 
1000m M
Samuel Girard: 1st in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Charles Hamelin: 2nd in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Pascal Dion: 4th in the heats and will take part in the ranking round Sunday
 
1500m W
Kim Boutin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Marianne St-Gelais: 5th in the heats and will take part in the ranking round Saturday
Jamie Macdonald: 6th in the heats and will take part in the ranking round Saturday
 
1500m M
Samuel Girard: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Charles Hamelin: 1st in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Pascal Dion: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the ranking round Saturday
 
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
Website: www.speedskating.ca  
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Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC