Alex Boisvert-Lacroix Surprises by Winning 500m at Short Track National Team Selection

Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, QC) surprised many today, in Calgary, as he finished first in the 500m races and qualified for the fall World Cup Team.

The 500m is the most contested distance among the Canadian men, with many able to win medals on the international stage. Boisvert-Lacroix finished just ahead of current World Champion in the distance, Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC). Steve Robillard (Montréal, QC) finished third while World Record holder Jean-François Monette (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) was disqualified in the final.

“I really wanted to win this race”, said the gold medallist. “Everything was going well this week in training, so I was confident and felt ready. I had a great start and just relaxed to keep some energy for the last laps. When Charles passed me, I kept my focus and managed to pass him right back.”

Boisvert-Lacroix, 20 years old, has just entered his first year as a member of Speed Skating Canada’s Talent 2014 Team, recently created to ensure the development of young skaters within the high performance program. “I have never skated in an international competition yet, so qualifying for World Cups is very special for me”, he said.

In the semi-final, Charles Hamelin established a new Canadian Record when he finished in 40.950 seconds, under the World Record time (41.184). The record can’t be recognized as a World Record as it is not an International Skating Union sanctioned competition. Steve Robillard also skated under the World Record, with a 41.02. “It was the perfect race”, Hamelin said. “I had a great start, and accelerated well. The Olympic Oval ice is great to keep speed so that definitely helped. I’ve been wanting to skate under 41 seconds for a long time now, so I’m proud of having done it!”

On the women’s side, Kalyna Roberge (St-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC) stayed consistent and once again won every race she took part in. Anne Maltais (Québec, QC) and Tania Vicent (Verchères, QC) were right behind her the entire race and they finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC) was 4th.

This is a good competition for all four skaters, who also finished in the top four yesterday. Vicent didn’t expect this success, as this is her first competition in over a year. “Coming here, I just wanted to skate well, get back into the competitive rhythm, I had no expectations performance wise”, she said. “I don’t feel pain at all anymore, which makes a huge difference. I’m very relaxed and have no pressure, which is probably what helps me skate this well.”

Tomorrow is the last day of competition in this first National Team Selection of the season. 1000m races start at 10am at the Olympic Oval, and more skaters will be added to the World Cup Team after the completion of the races.