Mission accomplished on both the men’s & women’s side

Mission accomplished on both the men’s and women’s side

Canada will put forward three athletes in every distance at the Sochi Olympics

Charles Hamelin falls and withdraws, as a precautionary measure Valérie Maltais gets her groove back and wins silver

Montreal, November 16th, 2013 – The Canadian Short Track Speed Skating team earned a perfect 20/20 grade! After today’s Olympic qualifications in Kolomna, Russia, athletes were guaranteed the maximum spots available per event, ensuring three Canadians will take the start line in every distance, as well as relays.

“Our women’s team couldn’t afford to falter in the 500m and 1500m events. All three skaters had to make the semis to guarantee our three spots. Despite Marianne’s health issues (see below), our three skaters made it through with flying colours. At our recent training camp in Budapest, we had set our sights on coming back home with the maximum number of quota spots allotted at these Olympic qualifiers. It’s mission accomplished”, proudly explained Yves Hamelin, Short Track Program Director.

Charles Hamelin falls
Charles Hamelin was dragged into a violent fall by American skater John Henry Kruger in the 1500m semi-final. Hamelin, from Ste-Julie, Que., suffered a bruised leg. As a precautionary measure, Nicolas Sauvé, the team’s doctor, withdrew him from the day’s races. It is still too early to determine whether he will skate tomorrow. Dr Sauvé will examine Hamelin again on Sunday morning. Despite the fall, he took 11th place. In his absence, his brother François had the best Canadian result, finishing in nine spot. Yellowknife’s Michael Gilday took 18th.

In the men’s sprint, Olivier Jean was fourth on the start line for the final. The tall skater skated well for the entire race but was unable to close the gap and settled for fourth. Another solid performance from the fishing enthusiast.

Charle Cournoyer, Boucherville, Que., who showed great consistency over the course of these World Cup races, led the B final from start to finish until the last turn, where he was passed by a Korean skater. He finished 6th despite a dislocated shoulder, an injury sustained during a fall in yesterday’s 1000m. Charles Hamelin, despite withdrawing for the competition, earned 16th place.

Second podium finish for Maltais in the 1500m
Valérie Maltais took silver in the 1500m in front of a cheerful and boisterous Russian crowd. Maltais skated with precision in the semi-final and the composure she’s known for in the final, crowning her efforts with a silver medal. The skater, who on her own admission, sometimes attacks too early in the race, took the time to position herself well and wait for the gap that placed her at the head of the pack. With five laps to go, Maltais settled in second place, where she stayed for the remainder of the race. Her colleague, Jessica Hewitt from Kamloops, BC, finished 12th. Marianne St-Gelais was unfortunately impeded by a virus. The St-Félicien, Québec, native managed to finish the morning’s quarter finals, which earned her the 19th spot.

Jessica Gregg flirted with the podium in the 500m. Edmonton’s tall sprinter had the advantage of the second spot on the line for the final, next to Wang Meng. She finished fourth. St-Gelais finished 14th and Jessica Hewitt, who didn’t make it through the qualifying round, took 22nd place.

Schedule for Sunday, November 17th
Tomorrow’s program will feature the 1000m and the relays. The individual finals will begin at 4:15 p.m. Kolomna time, or 7:15 a.m. EST. The relay finals will begin at 5:45 p.m. Kolomna time (8:45 a.m. EST)