Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau Surprises in Dresden

Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau (Montréal, QC) surprised by taking 5th place in the 500m today, in the last day of the Dresden Short Track World Cup. This was her best World Cup result so far in what is the most challenging event for Mendes-Campeau, who specialises in the 1500m.

The 18 year old skater was taking part in the third World Cup of her career this weekend in Germany. Her best result so far was 12th in the 1500m. “I’m really happy,” said Mendes-Campeau after her races. “The 500m is not my distance, so it’s encouraging to see what I can do internationally. It gives me experience, and with a B Final today, I can say I did more than reach my goal!”

Mendes-Campeau not only qualified for the B final, but she went on to win it in 45.045, ahead of German skater Susanne Rudolph (45.178). “Since I don’t have very fast starts, all I could hope for was to gain speed as fast as possible. In semi-final, it was simply too fast for me, the start was extremely quick, all I could do was try and follow them as best as I could. I had the fastest race of my life in the 500m (44.423) and I was able to qualify for the B final. I did the same there, I accelerated a lot and passed two girls outside with one lap to go to take the win,” explained the modest young athlete. Team leader Yves Hamelin then said: “Marie-Andrée actually had the two best races of her life today!”

Laurie Marceau (Dolbeau, QC) won all of her races in the morning repechage session to qualify for the quarter finals. She finished the competition in 13th place. Marie-Ève Drolet (Saguenay, QC) takes 15th place after another questionable disqualification. “The referrees are very strict this weekend, anyone touching someone else even slightly is disqualified, or if someone falls and brings another skater down, it’s an automatic disqualification,” explained Hamelin. “At least it’s fair across the board, they disqualify everyone.”

In the 1000m, Anne Maltais (Québec, QC) was the best Canadian in 10th place, followed by Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC) in 15th.

On the men side, Rémi Beaulieu (Alma, QC), coming off a bronze medal in yesterday’s 1500m, posted the best Canadian result with a 10th place in the 1000m. “It wasn’t a very good day for me,” explained a disappointed Beaulieu. “In the quarter final, I didn’t have the race I wanted. I was planning on fighting with the American and the German, but the skater from the Netherlands took the 2nd place. I didn’t know him, I tried to go in front but it didn’t work, so I ended up 3rd again. I didn’t think the Dutch skater would be able to stick with the American until the end, but he did. We were side by side in the last lap, but there was some contacts in the last corner and I lost some speed and didn’t make it.”

François Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC) posted the fastest time in the 1000m during Friday’s qualification rounds, but he got injured in a fall yesterday and couldn’t skate today, so he was awarded 15th place. Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) was disqualified for impeding in quarter finals for 16th.

In the 500m, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, QC) was the lone Canadian in the quarter finals, and he had to settle for 13th place after a fall. Marc-André Monette (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) had also qualified, but he couldn’t skate, as he is still recovering from an injury from yesterday. Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, NT) was third in the final of the repechage, for 17th position.

The last race of the weekend was the men’s relay final, and Team Canada took the 4th position in 6:48.399, behind China (6:41.221), Korea (6:47.255) and Germany (6:47.928). “We fell early in the race, we came back well, and almost managed to catch up with the Germans near the end, but it was too late,” explained Beaulieu.

Most of Canada’s Team heads back home tomorrow to prepare for the World Championships and National Team Selection #2 in early March, but a few skaters (Mendes-Campeau, Lambert, Bastille and Boisvert-Lacroix) are heading to China, where they will meet up with six teammates to take part in the FISU Games later this week.