Two Medals for Team Canada in Moscow

Two members of the Canadian men’s short track speed skating team were particularly impressive Saturday at the Moscow World Cup. François Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC) stepped up to the second place on the 1000m event podium for a silver medal, while Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, NT) skated to a bronze medal in the 1500m event.

With a time of 1:27.068, the younger Hamelin brother was only bested by Korea’s Byeong-Jun Kim who crossed the line in 1:26.726. China’s Liang Wenhao took third place and the bronze with his time of 1:27.389. Charles Hamelin also skated the final, and had to settle for fifth place, while Guillaume Blais-Dufour (Québec, QC) was eliminated in the repechage for 22nd place.

“I started fast so I could get to the front during the first lap. About midway through the race, Charles had a good spot in the pack but fell with a Dutch skater. After that it became a three-way race; the Korean skater passed me with four laps to go,” explained François Hamelin, who has now earned his second medal in an individual race this season.

Earlier Saturday, Michael Gilday of the Northwest Territories also made it to the podium with his bronze medal win in the 1500m event. Rémi Beaulieu (Alma, QC) earned fifth place in the race. Korea’s Jinkyu Noh scored the win with a time of 2:14.305, while American Travis Jayner skated to silver in 2:15.278. “Michael and Rémi had really solid races today. They started the race aggressively, then they were a little more passive - which let the leaders get away a bit - but Michael came back at the end with a lot of speed,” commented Yves Hamelin, Team Canada’s Short Track Director.

In the relay event, the men’s team earned a berth in the finals, which will take place Sunday. The Hamelin brothers, Rémi Beaulieu and Guillaume Blais-Dufour will combine efforts in the final with hopes to beat Team The Netherlands, Team France, and Team China.

Also taking place Sunday, Olivier Jean, Charles and François Hamelin will skate the 500m event, where the Hamelin brothers skated the two best times during qualifications. Blais-Dufour, Gilday and Beaulieu will be racing in the second 1000m event of the weekend.

Team Canada’s Women On the Right Track

Canada’s short track women also skated well today, with Marianne St-Gelais (St-Félicien, QC) finishing in fifth in the 1000m event, after having dominated the B Final. “I am really happy with the way I skated today. I’m still not used to this type of race, or the traffic on the ice, but I’m getting better. I had a great semi-final, but unfortunately I fell a few meters from the finish line,” recounted St-Gelais. Korea’s Yang Shin-Young and Hwang Hyunsun finished first and second in the 1000m with times of 1:32.640 and 1:32.733. Chinese Li Jiranrou won the bronze medal thanks to her time of 1:33.110.

Also in the 1000m, Caroline Truchon (Chicoutimi, QC), who was taking part in her first Career World Cup, finished 12th while Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB) was 14th.

In the 1500m event, Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau (Montreal, QC) skated well and earned passage into the finals, where she finished seventh with a time of 2:25.601. “She’s a young skater who’s developing well; she had a really good semi-final race. The final was a little more difficult, but that’s a part of learning the sport,” commented Yves Hamelin. Marie-Ève Drolet (Laterrière, QC) finished 3rd of the B final for 11th place overall and Jessica Hewitt (Kamloops, BC) finishes 13th.

In team relay skating, Marianne St-Gelais, Jessica Hewitt, Jessica Gregg and Caroline Truchon represented Canada, and finished first in the semi-final round. Sunday, the finals will see them take on Team China, Team Italy, and Team Japan.

The final rounds of the women’s 500m event will also take place on Sunday; Marianne St-Gelais, Jessica Gregg and Caroline Truchon will be on the starting line. Meanwhile, Drolet, Mendes-Campeau and Hewitt will race the last 1000m event of the weekend.