Ten Short Track Nominees Set for 2010 Olympic Team
Speed Skating Canada has nominated its Olympic short track team for Vancouver 2010. It is a 10-member team, five men and five women, who represent the top talent in short track speed skating in this country.
Where a regular speed skating oval is 400 metres in length, a short track oval is about 111 metres. At Canada’s last Olympic Winter Games, in Calgary in 1988, short track made its debut as a demonstration sport. Four years later it was a full medal sport and between then and now, Canadians have made a distinct mark on the sport’s landscape.
Short track has been a plentiful source of Olympic medals for Canada at past Games. Along the way, legendary Olympic names such as Frédéric Blackburn, Nathalie Lambert and Marc Gagnon have given way to modern stars such as François-Louis Tremblay, Charles Hamelin and Kalyna Roberge.
It is one of the most thrilling spectator sports at any Olympic Games, featuring mass starts and highlight reel crashes. Success goes not necessarily to the fastest skater, but to the smartest skaters – strategy is invaluable in short track speed skating. In Vancouver, the house of short track will be Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum.
There, you can expect the following 10 skaters to vie for medals in eight events.
Kalyna Roberge (St-Étienne-de-Lauzon, Que.): 2006 Olympian captured silver in relay and finished 4th in 500 metres … Won relay bronze at 2009 World Championships … Triple bronze medallist at 2008 World Championships … 2008 Female Athlete of the Year at Canadian Sport Awards.
Jessica Gregg (Edmonton): Two bronze medals at the 2009 World Championships … Won silver in relay at 2008 World Championships … Six 2008-09 World Cup medals including gold in 500 metres in February … Canadian women’s short track skater of the year in 2009 … Mother, Kathy, was an Olympic speed skater and father, Randy, an Olympic hockey player.
Marianne St-Gelais (St-Félicien, Que.): 2009 World Junior Champion in the 500 metres … Current junior record holder in the event … First World Cup medal a silver in 500 metres in 2008 … Speed Skating Canada 2009 “Rising Star” … Three medals in two World Cups in 2008-09.
Tania Vicent (Laval, Que.): Three-time Olympian with two bronze (1998, 2002) and one silver medal (2006) in the 3,000-metre relay … Has competed in 12 World Championships, winning seven relay medals … Three-time bronze medallist at World Team Championships … 2004 Canadian women’s short track skater of the year.
Valérie Maltais (La Baie, Que.): Young, talented skater … Member of bronze medal relay team at 2009 World Championships … Silver (relay) and bronze (1,500 metres) medals at 2009 World Junior Championships.
Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, Que.): 2006 Olympian won silver in relay, finished 4th in 1,500 metres … 2009 world champion in 500 metres, bronze in 3,000 metres … Won 14 medals at past five World Championships … Skated to new world record in 1,000 metres in January 2009 … Amassed 29 World Cup medals over past three years … Four-time Canadian men’s short track skater of the year.
François-Louis Tremblay (Montréal): Double silver medallist in 500 metres and relay at 2006 Olympic Winter Games … Won Olympic relay gold in 2002 … World champion in 500 metres in 2005 and 2006 before taking silver in 2007 … 4th in 500 metres at 2009 World Championships, 6th in 3,000 metres … 2008-09 World Cup Champion in the 500m and relay.
Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, Que.): Won bronze medal in 500 metres at 2009 World Championships, 6th overall at the event … Won silver in relay two years earlier … Won eight medals in 08-09 World Cup season … Gold at 2007 World Team Championships, silver in 2009 … 2007 Speed Skating Canada “Rising Star”.
François Hamelin (Ste-Julie, Que.): Member of 2008-09 World Cup champion relay team … Silver medallist at 2009 and 2008 World Team Championships … Silver medallist in relay at 2008 World Championships … Won six World Cup medals in 2008-09.
Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, Que.): Helped his relay team capture the World Cup Title in 08-09 … Won three bronze medals in his first World Cup event in the Winter of 2008 … Finished 2nd overall in the 2008 Canadian Open Championships.