Canada adds four medals in Sunday’s races at ISU World Cup Short Track stage in South Korea
Speed Skating Canada – Gangneung, South Korea, December 18, 2016 – Charles Hamelin won gold and Charle Cournoyer came up with bronze to put two Canadian skaters on the podium in the second 1000m event of the weekend and the Canadian men’s relay collected a medal for the first time this season by earning silver while the women’s relay won bronze, Sunday, on the last day of the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating held in Gangneung, South Korea.
After winning five medals on Saturday, the Canadian team therefore concludes its introduction to the official ice of the 2018 Olympic Games with a total of nine medals over the weekend. That is the country’s highest tally at a World Cup stage so far this season and its best performance since the World Cup stage held in Toronto in November of 2015. In four World Cups held so far in 2016-2017, the Canadian skaters have stepped on the podium on 23 occasions.
In the second 1000m scheduled in Gangneung, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, and Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, won gold and bronze on Sunday to become the third pair of Canadian skaters to find themselves together on the podium over the weekend. Russia’s Semen Elistratov earned silver in Sunday’s 1000m (2).
That was a welcomed result for Charles Hamelin and Charle Cournoyer, who each found themselves on the podium for the second time this season.
“Today was a good day for me because until then, I had gone through some tough moments since the team had arrived in Asia,” said Charles Hamelin. “On Sunday, I really wanted to give everything to find my way onto the podium, find some confidence and get some good vibes in this building before leaving – because the next time we will come here, it will probably be during the Olympics.”
“After some tough races earlier in Asia, my win today was like a release. It was good to be back on the podium, and the fact that it was gold made it even better,” added Charles Hamelin, who won bronze in the 500m held at the second World Cup stage of the season in Salt Lake City.
Charle Cournoyer was also quite satisfied with his bronze medal, especially after all the work he put in over the fall.
“I’ve worked on a lot of things recently during my races,” said Charle Cournoyer, who stepped on the podium on Sunday for the first time since his win in the 1000m in Calgary, at the first World Cup stage in 2016-2017. “This season, my goal is really to improve my decision making during races. In some races, I put myself in danger when I found myself in situations I wasn’t accustomed to, or situations in which I didn’t feel comfortable. So I’m happy to see that the work is paying off and that I ended up on the podium today, especially at this test event on the road to the Olympics.”
First podium of the season for the men’s relay
Hamelin and Cournoyer then each won their second medal of the competition by coming up with silver in the relay, along with Samuel Girard from Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, and Pascal Dion from Montréal, QC, as well as François Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, QC, who skated in previous rounds and who was celebrating his 30th birthday on Sunday.
Hungary won gold and bronze went to the United States.
That was Canada’s first podium finish in the men’s relay this season, after seeing the men’s team notably finish fourth twice in earlier stages.
“We did some great work today,” said Charles Hamelin. “That was our best relay race since we’ve been in Asia. We added some small things in our execution. We protected our position well considering it was a five-team race.”
In the women’s relay, Canada earned bronze to come up with a podium finish for a third World Cup stage in a row. South Korea won gold and was followed by the Netherlands.
The Canadian foursome, which was comprised on Sunday of Marianne St-Gelais from Saint-Félicien, QC, Valérie Maltais from Saguenay, La Baie borough, QC, Kasandra Bradette from Saint-Félicien, QC, and Kim Boutin from Sherbrooke, QC, while Marie-Ève Drolet from Saguenay, Chicoutimi borough, QC and Jamie Macdonald from Fort St. James, B.C., skated in earlier rounds, was first with eight laps to go when a fall caused it to drop back to third place.
“Our strategy was really good, we were solid,” said Marianne St-Gelais. “The fall changed the course of events, but I think we can still be proud of what we did. We put together a brand new relay and it was really solid.”
Jamie Macdonald fourth
In the women’s individual events, Jamie Macdonald came up with the best result of the day on the Canadian women’s team as she finished fourth in the 500m A final. She finished behind South Korea’s Min Jeong Choi, China’s Kexin Fan and Poland’s Natalia Maliszewska, who respectively ended up first, second, and third.
“It was a tough final. It started very fast,” said Jamie Macdonald, who won silver in the 500m raced at the first World Cup stage of the season in Calgary. “I wanted to try to stay patient and set something up. Arianna (Fontana) made a move on me and I was able to get her right back, and I’m pretty happy about that. I think that if I could have had a half a lap more to work with, maybe I could have tried something at the line. It’s definitively a confidence booster to know that I can skate that fast and that I can do better.”
Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, reached the B final of the women’s 500m, which ended up not taking place because only two skaters qualified for that event. In the semifinals, St-Gelais ended up fourth after losing her balance following a contact with another skater.
St-Gelais therefore saw her series of consecutive podium finishes end at five. She has a total of six medals in four World Cup stages so far this season.
“It’s disappointing, but at the same time, there’s little I could have done differently. It’s part of sports,” said St-Gelais. “I came up with good performances in earlier World Cups and it’s normal to not always be on the podium. I’m not too disappointed.”
Three other Canadian skaters qualified in various B finals.
In the men’s 500m, Samuel Girard and Pascal Dion respectively finished first and second while Valérie Maltais was third in the women’s 1000m (2).
Athletes on the Canadian team will now prepare for the Canadian Senior Championships, which will take place January 13-15 at Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal. Skaters will then attempt to qualify for this winter’s international competitions, including the World Championships. Tickets are available at a cost of $5 per day or $10 for the weekend at http://www.speedskating.ca/events/st-canadian-senior-championships-montreal-qc.
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
Jamie Macdonald: 4th in the A Final (final ranking: 4)
Marianne St-Gelais: qualification in the B Final (final ranking: 7)
Kasandra Bradette: penalty in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 8)
Samuel Girard: 1st in the B Final (final ranking: 5)
Pascal Dion: 2nd in the B Final (final ranking: 6)
François Hamelin: 5th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 18)
1000m (2) W
Valérie Maltais: 3rd in the B Final (final ranking: 7)
Marie-Ève Drolet: 5th in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 10)
Kim Boutin: 6th in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 11)
1000m (2) M
Charles Hamelin: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
Charle Cournoyer: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
Patrick Duffy: 6th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 20)
Canada: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
(Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Kasandra Bradette, Kim Boutin, Marie-Ève Drolet, Jamie Macdonald)
Canada: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
(Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer, Samuel Girard, Pascal Dion, François Hamelin)
More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
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