*UPDATED with interview* Valérie Maltais is switching to long track ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


28 août 2018

*UPDATED with interview* Valérie Maltais is switching to long track

After months of speculation it’s now official. The Sotchi olympics’ medalist and olympic record holder on 1000m in short track, Valérie Maltais, switches to the 400m oval to open a new chapter of her career in long track.

By Carl Savard

It’s not the first time that a skater decides to make the switch from short track to long track. Great athletes like Gaétan Boucher, Bonnie Blair, Shani Davis and Jorien ter Mors had a lot of success doing so. Not too long ago, Canada’s Olivier Jean also joined the long track team with success winning a bronze medal in the mass start event at the World championships in 2017.

"I am happy to announce that I am officially switching to long track speed skating. After 3 Olympic cycles in short track speed skating, this new endeavor is providing me with a fresh start.
I have been training this past summer with the long track national team with the hopes of joining their ranks and I continue to work toward this goal.
I would like to thank my short track teammeates, with whom I have shared so many unforgettable moments. Thank you, as well, to my coaches, integrated support team and to the members of Speed Skating Canada who have facilitated my transition.

I am taking this next step in my athletic career with the belief that I have given everything I can to short track speed skating. I am turning the page with much nostagia but also, much serenity. I'm excited to begin this new chapter with a dynamic and motivated team!"

Update 2018-08-28

I just hung up the phone with Valérie Maltais. Here are more details about her new endeavour:

Did you try long track in the past?
"I did in 1999 with the Quebec circuit but it was pretty much short track on a 400m oval. I had long track boots made last season and went on the ice in Calgary but didn't train. I just skated."

Were you thinking about this switch a while ago or was it recent?
"It was recent, although I've always been interested in watching it. At the Vancouver Olympics I was present at the team pursuit event when Canada won the gold medal and thought it was a awesome. Last season, someone asked me if I was retring after Pyeongchang and I said 'No but I may try long track' and the word got out." 

In the last year and a half it seemed to me like you were more relaxed on the ice. Am I right?
"In my life in general I was more relaxed. I felt like I was more in control over all the aspects of my life on and off the ice. I wanted to give a 100% but was able to accept that some days it doesn't go 100%. I arrived at the Olympics and I felt so ready. I was like 'Bring it on!' but then I turned an ankle and wasn't able to perform like I thought I could, but you have to move on." 

Do you have an idea of which distances you think you are going to concentrate on? 
"I'm training with the medium/long distances group right now so I'm thinking about 1500m, 3000m. I will eventually try the mass start also. With the quality I developped in short track and inline, I won't be intimidated by the fact that you skate in a pack." 

Do you see this as a way to continue your career or does it feels like a new challenge for you?
"I see this as a new challenge. A new beginning. The idea of stretching my career just because the possibilty is there is not something that aligns with my values. My parents always told me that I should put all my heart into what I do and not think about the financial aspect of it and I could not continue if it was just to go through the motion. I need to be passionate and have fun." 

Valérie Maltais is leaving for Calgary tomorrow to start this new adventure. 

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