Valérie Maltais officially moves on from short track to long track

Maltais is following in the footsteps of Olivier Jean who, after the 2014 Olympic Games held in Sochi, had also decided to move on to long track from short track.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – After representing Canada for more than a decade in short track speed skating at the international level, Valérie Maltais, who won a silver medal in relay at the 2014 Olympic Games, has officially moved on to long track.

After a few weeks of rest at the end of last season, the athlete from Saguenay, La Baie borough, QC, travelled to Calgary to familiarize herself with her long track clap skates and kick off a sustained training program in her new discipline. She had been considering such a move for some time.

“I've always thought that long track speed skating is a beautiful sport,” said Maltais. “At my first Olympics in 2010 in Vancouver, I had tickets for the team pursuit event and the Canadian men's team won gold. That's when I started to follow long track more closely.”

While short track's main objective is simply to cross the finish line as quickly as possible, long track consists in a battle against the clock and that is what has attracted the veteran skater to that discipline.

“That type of race against time fascinates me and I want to try my luck at it,” she said. “At age 28 and after three Olympic cycles in short track, this new challenge gives me a chance at a fresh start.”

“I'm already familiar with how the body must move in speed skating, but long track still requires an adjustment period,” noted Maltais, who started training on ice approximately one month ago. “Each time I go out on the ice, I feel more and more comfortable. I'm satisfied with the rate at which I'm improving.”

“Valérie is an athlete who has experience performing at the highest level. She is a fresh face who is most welcomed to the team and she lifts up the training level of the entire group,” said Remmelt Eldering, who will be her coach in long track this season. “It's too soon to predict any outcomes or when she would be able to skate in competition. She is working hard to improve every practice. After initially skating in the back of the pack, she is now leading sets and pulling the train. Valérie is strong mentally, eager to learn and she loves being out on the ice. These things combined will make it easier for her to fight her way up among the top female skaters in the nation. Timing is everything, and when she is ready to perform, she will.”

“My goal this year is to skate fast enough to qualify for next year's long track national team,” said Maltais. “But there's no doubt that qualifying for my first World Cups would be the icing on the cake!”
 
Maltais is therefore following in the footsteps of Olivier Jean who, after the 2014 Olympic Games held in Sochi, had also decided to move on to long track from short track. Jean, who won a gold medal in relay at the Vancouver Games, went on to collect bronze in the mass start event at the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships, and then qualified for last February's PyeongChang Games, where he finished 14th in the mass start, which was an Olympic event for the first time.
 
Valérie Maltais took part in the ISU World Junior Short Track Championships in 2006, 2007 and 2009, earning bronze in the 500m and silver in the relay in 2009. Also during the 2008-2009 season, she skated in her first career World Cup stages and World Championships. At the 2012 World Championships, she took the second spot in the overall ranking and finished third in 2014. At the 2014 Olympic Games, she broke the Olympic record in the 1000m with a time of 1:28.771, which is still the time to beat. Over nine seasons in short track at the international senior level, she earned a total of 50 medals, including 16 individual medals and 34 podium finishes in the relay.