Boutin and Girard solid, Steven Dubois impressive. ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


14 août 2017

Boutin and Girard solid, Steven Dubois impressive.

Text: Carl Savard
Photos: Carl Savard

Even though the day started with the announcement that Canada's top skater Marianne St-Gelais would not take part in the competition after a fall during practice on Friday brought her concussion symptoms, the show did not suffer from her absence on this first weekend of the 2018 Canadian short track team trials. This event used to select the skaters who will represent the country at next winter's Olympics in Pyeongchang is off to a flying start. The olympic dream is what fuels those thirty-two athletes and the tension is palpable at the Maurice-Richard arena.


On the men's side of the competition, Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, François Hamelin, Pascal Dion, Maxime Laoun and Steven Dubois were facing off in the A final of the first 1500m after hard fought semis. A move from François Hamelin causing him to fall alongside Laoun and Dubois forced the stoppage of the race. After a few minutes, the race was restarted without Hamelin, penalised for his move. Steven Dubois didn't have the opportunity to shine on the second wave of this race, bothered by a knee injury caused by the three men fall. With just a few laps to go, simultaneous reactions from Dion and Girard resulted in Samuel Girard, Charles Hamelin and Pascal Dion finishing in the top three positions. Because of a disqualification, 2017 canadian champion Charle Cournoyer finishes the distance sixteenth.

On 500m, the best race on the men's side was definitely the B final with François Hamelin, Guillaume Bastille, William Preudhomme and Samuel Bélanger-Marceau battling it out for fifth position points. Hamelin got the best of his rivals. In the A final, Samuel Girard, Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer and Steven Dubois made sure to protect their points instead of having a fight in a race without any pass.

On the women's side, that first day of competition was a copy and paste on both distances with Kim Boutin, Jamie McDonald, Kasandra Bradette and Valérie Maltais finishing in that order on 1500m and 500m. In Marianne St-Gelais's absence, all eyes were on those four women and they sure delivered a good dose of action. On the poll conducted on our website last week, the fans placed those four women and St-Gelais as their favourite to represent Canada in Pyeongchang next winter. So far, no real surprises but we are not yet halfway through the competition.


A lot of action on the men's side on 1000m even though after all was said and done, Samuel Girard finished in first place again. Charle Cournoyer and Charles Hamelin finished in second and third place. François Hamelin finished fourth after having a bumpy ride all the way up to the A final. Sasha Fathoullin finished in fifth place of this race, a much better results for the young skater who had a tough day Saturday.

On the second 1500m of the competition, all eyes were on Samuel Girard. Would he be able to win this second 1500m of the competition and assure himself of first place on the distance without even racing the third one next Saturday? Girard raced well, but veteran Charles Hamelin won his first distance of the competition. Steven Dubois's race was impressive and he was able to finish third. Even though he was disqualified on 1000m earlier that day, Dubois ends this first weekend with three A final. Here are his impressions after an amazing weekend.

On the women's side, Kim Boutin also went three for three winning the distance in front of Valérie Maltais and Jamie McDonald. Young skater Alyson Charles ends the race in fourth place. Kasandra Bradette who finished third on both distances yesterday, ends her first 1000m of the competition at the seventh spot, finishing third of the B final in a race won by Audrey Phaneuf.

On 1500m, the race was battled by eight skaters following a penalty to Kasandra Bradette in her semi-final resulting in the advancements of Jamie Macdonald and Courtney Shmyr. Like Samuel Girard, Boutin was not able to end her weekend with a perfect record finishing second in front of Macdonald and behind Valerie Maltais who got her first win of this important competition.

Skaters will be back in action Wednesday night with the second 500m of these selections.

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