Hamelin Keeps Dominating in Day 2 of Short Track Fall World Cup Selection

Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC) continued his domination of the Fall World Cup Selection today at the Pacific Coliseum today, winning two more races, making it four in four so far in the competition. At the end of the day, four athletes were named to the Fall World Cup team based on their results in the 1500m races today and yesterday: Valérie Maltais (La Baie, QC), Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau (Montréal, QC), Hamelin and Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, QC).

Hamelin started first in the 1000m final and led a very fast paced race, and while many skaters tried to challenge his position, he never gave anyone the space to do it, cruising to the finish line shortly ahead of the pack. François-Louis Tremblay (Montreal, QC) followed closely for the whole race, and was able to finish second. Third place went to Rémi Beaulieu, fourth to Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, NT). Olivier Jean was also of the final, but he was disqualified for impeding when he tried to pass Tremblay.

“The 1000m is my favourite race, I always try to stand out in it,” said Hamelin. “In the first rounds, I just wanted to keep some energy for the final. My strategy there was just to lead the whole race, it was the safest way to win it.”

Charles Hamelin and Olivier Jean in the 1500m final, Photo by Jeff Bough
Hamelin then repeated in the 1500m final, with Jean finishing just behind him, followed by Beaulieu. François Hamelin, Charles’ younger brother, was fourth. Hamelin and Jean, who were also 1 and 2 yesterday in that distance, have now secured their spots on the Fall World Cup Team. “Having won the 1500m yesterday, I wanted to be first again in order to make the World Cup Team for sure,” continued Hamelin. “Now that I’m qualified, I will definitely try new things in my races. My objective, ultimately, is to win it all!”

Olivier Jean came out strong in these selections, and he now sits second overall with three second places and a fifth. This is an amazing come back after a year off the ice, after he was severely injured in training last fall. “I trained really hard all summer, I knew I could do this,” said a confident Jean after day 2 of competition. “When I couldn’t skate last year, it allowed me to work on other aspects of my career as an athlete, such as mental preparation, nutrition, etc. Overall, this makes me a better athlete now than I was last year. I wanted to make the team after day 2, and I did so I’m really happy right now.”

Jessica Hewitt (Langley, BC) came close to winning her second event in as many days, as she lead for the last four laps of the final 1000m race, but Anne Maltais (Québec, QC) had her say and she managed to go from third to first in the last two laps, securing the win. Hewitt was second to cross the line, young skater Laurie Marceau (Dolbeau, QC) finished third and Edmonton’s Jessica Gregg, also dominant so far in the competition, fourth.

In the 1500m, Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau took the first position, after taking

Valérie Maltais and Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau, two World Cup rookies, Photo by Jeff Bough
the lead with less than 5 laps to go. She then accelerated, and forced the other skaters to try and keep up with her. Anne Maltais crossed the line just behind her, followed by Valérie Maltais, Annik Plamondon (Longueuil, QC) and Marianne St-Gelais (St-Félicien, QC). Jessica Gregg, generally a sprinter, but who also impressed in the other distances in this competition, couldn’t keep up in the last lap and finished sixth.

Valérie Maltais and Mendes-Campeau, who finished 2nd and 7th respectively in the 1500m yesterday, took the first two overall positions, and they will be skating in World Cups for the first time in their careers this fall. “I knew I could do it, I just had to stay focus, avoid mistakes,” said Mendes-Campeau with a smile after her victory. “The fact that three of the top girls are not skating (Kalyna Roberge, Tania Vicent, and Amanda Overland, injured) changed a lot of things. Now everyone has an even chance to win.”

In the overall rankings, Anne Maltais is now first, closely followed by Jessica Hewitt and Jessica Gregg. Valérie Maltais and Mendes-Campeau follow in fourth and fifth place. On the men side, Hamelin and Jean are first and second, with Rémi Beaulieu third and Michael Gilday fourth.

Tomorrow is the last day of competition at the Pacific Coliseum, and athletes will battle hard in the 500m and 1000m, hoping to gain one of the four spots left on the World Cup Team for each men and women. Competition starts at 9am.