Boisvert-Lacroix and Hudey win their 500m races at the 2018 Long Track Team Selections
Speed Skating Canada Hudey, Heather McLean and Gilmore Junio added to the provisional Olympic Team
Calgary, January 5, 2018 – Alex Boisvert-Lacroix and Marsha Hudey respectively won the men’s and women’s 500m events, Friday, at the 2018 Long Track Team Selections that are slated to be held until Tuesday, January 9, at Calgary’s Olympic Oval.
On the women’s side, Marsha Hudey from White City, SK, skated to a time of 37.46 seconds to win the race, followed by Heather McLean (37.79) from Winnipeg, MB. Kaylin Irvine (38.15) from Calgary, AB, was third.
Hudey and McLean therefore earned two of the three quota spots allotted to Canada in the women’s 500m for the 2018 Olympic Games, as they not only took the spots based on their respective ranking, but they also achieved the qualifying time standard of 37.76 in the past year.
Hudey and McLean have therefore been provisionally named to the Canadian Long Track Speed Skating Olympic Team and would represent Canada in PyeongChang in the women’s 500m, depending on the final team composition based on maximum skaters per country, i.e. 10 men and 10 women for a maximum number of 20 skaters per country.
“I was a bit nervous but that’s always a good thing, I think,” said Hudey. “I didn’t have to necessarily worry about a time (having already met the standard), I was just thinking about putting together a good race. It was just another awesome opportunity to skate, to do a 500m and to nail as many things as I could to get ready for the Olympics.”
If her spot on the Canadian team is confirmed, the 27-year-old skater would then be taking part in her second Olympic Games after her Russian experience in 2014.
“I think it’s going to be a totally different experience,” she said. “I’ve heard from so many veterans that every Olympics is a unique experience. I’m looking to just go and skate the best I can, and with the experience I’ve gained over the last four years on the World Cup circuit, I think it will feel a bit different going into my second Games.”
Heather McLean, for her part, qualified for her first-ever Olympics.
“It wasn’t the race that I was hoping for, but I’ll take it. I’m qualified,” noted the skater from Winnipeg. “I’m happy about that, and that’s what I came here to do. But I’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of execution. I’ve got a little time to improve on that, so that will be my focus over the next couple of weeks.”
“But I’m super excited!”, added the 25-year-old athlete. “It’s obviously something I’ve dreamt about my entire life to be an Olympian and to compete at the Olympics. I can finally start thinking about it!”
Junio joins Boisvert-Lacroix in the 500m with a provisional spot
In the men’s 500m, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix from Sherbrooke, QC, won the race with a time of 34.38 seconds.
Boisvert-Lacroix had already prequalified in this distance for the PyeongChang Olympic Games following the two gold medals he won on the World Cup circuit last fall, which allowed him to finish among the top five in the ISU Special Olympic Qualification Classification (SOQC).
“There’s no doubt that I had a lot less pressure than the other skaters today,” admitted Boisvert-Lacroix. “But for me, this was an important race because this was a pressure-packed environment. The atmosphere was pretty stressful and I tried to do my race by taking in that stress and consider it as good preparation for the Games. I’m always happy when I skate a time of 34.3 seconds.”
Although he had already prequalified, Boisvert-Lacroix said Friday’s win was an emotional one for him, as he will be skating in his first-ever Olympics.
“I really wasn’t expecting to feel that way. I was more emotional then when I prequalified, in part because of today’s atmosphere. This is one of the tightest races you can have to win a spot at the Games. To have this feeling that I’m officially going to the Olympics, my life’s dream, it came true tonight and I finally felt these emotions that I was expecting to experience when I qualified.”
William Dutton from Humboldt, SK, skated to second place in 34.53, followed by Gilmore Junio (34.55) of Calgary and Laurent Dubreuil (34.58) from Lévis, QC.
Canada has three spots available in this distance for the PyeongChang Games, as only Junio and Dubreuil have already met the time standard of 34.47, which they did last fall.
However, according to Speed Skating Canada’s 2018 Olympic selection policies and procedures, skaters have until January 9, 2018 to meet the time standard during a sanctioned event. William Dutton will therefore have another opportunity to met this time standard at Canada Cup #2, held at the same time as the 2018 Long Track Team Selections and which is the last event to be sanctioned before January 9. The second and last 500m event at Canada Cup #2 will take place on Saturday, January 6, as of 9 AM.
If Dutton meets the time standard, he would take one of the two available spots for the men’s 500m at the PyeongChang Games thanks to his ranking at the 2018 Long Track Team Selections, along with Gilmore Junio. If not, the spot would go to Laurent Dubreuil.
Junio, for his part, has been provisionally named to the Canadian Long Track Speed Skating Olympic Team and would represent Canada at the PyeongChang Games in the men’s 500m along with Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, depending on the final team composition based on maximum skaters per country, i.e. 10 men and 10 women for a maximum number of 20 skaters per country.
“Today was a big day,” admitted Junio. “It was really stressful going in. There was obviously a lot of anxiety. To skate a really good time and pull together a really good race that I’m proud of, considering how things happened this year with going away and coming home to race at these trials against some really good skaters, I couldn’t be happier and couldn’t be more relieved.
“Having been to the Games once and getting through these trials is a big confidence booster,” he added. “It’s not easy getting through the Canadian trials. Just being able to now have that weight off my shoulders gives me a big boost.”
1500m to follow on Saturday
Racing will continue on Saturday at the Selections with the men’s and women’s 1500m. In both events, Canada can have a maximum of three skaters as long as athletes achieve the time standard of 1:44.14 seconds for the men and 1:55.35 for the women.
No skater has prequalified for any of the two events. However, Brianne Tutt from Airdrie, AB, who has already been provisionally named to the Olympic team in the women’s 3000m event, as well as Kali Christ from Regina, SK, on the women’s side, in addition to Vincent De Haître from Cumberland, ON, and Denny Morrison from Fort St. John, BC, on the men’s side, have already met the time standards.
Held simultaneously to Canada Cup #2, the 2018 Long Track Team Selections events start each day at 5 pm (Calgary time). Admission is free.
Racing is also be webstreamed live on CBC Sports’ website (http://www.cbc.ca/sports), Radio-Canada Sports’ Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/radiocanada.sports) and website (http://ici.radio-canada.ca/sports), and Calgary’s Olympic Oval YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/theolympicoval).
The final Canadian Long Track Speed Skating team for the 2018 Olympic Games will be introduced at a media event on Wednesday, January 10, at 12 pm (Calgary Time), to be held at Jack Singer Concert Hall (205 8 Ave SE) in Calgary.
The full 2018 Olympic Selection Policies and Processes are available at www.speedskating.ca/2018-og/long-track.
Additional 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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Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Phone: 514 213-9897