2018 Olympic Short Track Speed Skating Preview

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Olympic Short Track Speed Skating

At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Charles Hamelin of Levis, Quebec and Marianne St-Gelais of Roberval, Quebec were the face of Canadian short track speed skating. The two were dating at the time and are now scheduled to be married in August of 2018. After Hamelin won a gold medal in the men’s 500m short track speed skating event at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, St-Gelais (who won a silver medal in Vancouver in the women’s 500m) and Hamelin had a long kiss that captivated Canadian sports fans. Hamelin and St-Gelais were also part of the Canadian relay teams that earned medals eight years ago. The Canadian men won gold in the men’s 5000m relay and the Canadian women won silver in the women’s 3000m relay.

Then at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Hamelin returned to the top of the Olympic podium. This time he placed first in the men’s 1500m, but overall the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi could have been considered a bit of a disappointment. Hamelin was a multi-medal contender but only reached the A Final in the men’s 1500m. St-Gelais meanwhile won her third career Olympic medal in Sochi as she won a silver medal in the women’s 3000m relay.

Olympic Short Track Speed Skating Preview

Heading into the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, St-Gelais has a lot of momentum in the women’s 500m. She was the World Cup champion in the event over the last three years, but only won silver in the women’s 500m at the last two World Short Track Speed Skating Championships. In 2016, St-Gelais was beaten by Fan Kexin of China in Seoul and in 2017, St-Gelais was beaten by Elise Christie in Rotterdam.

St-Gelais also has strong competition among Canadian short track speed skaters as well. Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, Quebec won a gold medal in a women’s 500m World Cup event in Shanghai, China on November 9 and in a women’s 1000m World Cup event in Shanghai, China on November 12. Like St-Gelais, Boutin was a World Cup women’s champion in 2017, having won the women’s 1000m title.

St-Gelais, Boutin and Valerie Maltais of La Baie, Quebec need to be considered strong medal contenders in the women’s 1500m. St-Gelais won the gold medal in the discipline at the 2016 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Seoul, silver at the 2017 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Rotterdam and silver in a 2016 World Cup in Gangneung, South Korea, which will host the world’s best short track speed skaters in February. Boutin placed third in the World Cup standings in the last two seasons for the women’s 1500m, while Maltais was fourth in 2017. Boutin also won a bronze medal in the 2016 World Cup in Gangneung.

St-Gelais, Boutin and Maltais are also expected to challenge for the podium together in the women’s 3000m relay—an event Canada has won an Olympic silver medal at the last two Olympic Winter Games. Eight years ago Canada was beaten by China and four years ago they were beaten by South Korea. In Gangneung in February, they will contend with China and South Korea for a podium spot.

Men’s Short Track

Like St-Gelais, Hamelin will have competition from other Canadian men. Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Quebec placed third in the men’s 500m on the World Cup circuit in 2017 and has won two silver medals in individual events at the last two World Speed Skating Championships—second in men’s 1000m in 2016 and second in men’s 1500m in 2017. He has also won four individual gold medals in World Cup events since 2015. Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, Quebec needs to be a medal contender in the men’s 1000m and after finishing third in a World Cup event with a rich field in Gangneung, South Korea in 2016. Cournoyer won a surprising bronze medal in the men’s 500m at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

Hamelin is a contender every time he is on the ice. Over the last two years, he has won the gold medal in the men’s 1000m at a World Cup in Gangneung and placed third in the World Cup standings in the men’s 1500m. Hamelin will also be leading the Canadian men in the 5000m relay—an event where they are always dangerous.

There is no doubt that Hamelin is hungry to end his Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame career on a high note. After finishing the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, he will probably retire after the 2018 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal.

Olympic predictions in short track speed skating

Men’s 500m Short Track Speed Skating:
GOLD–Dajing Wu–China
SILVER–Samuel Girard–Canada
BRONZE–Shaolin Sandor Liu–Hungary
Event: Finals–Feb. 22 @ 6:13 am ET/3:13 am PT

Men’s 1000m Short Track Speed Skating:
GOLD–Shaolin Sandor Liu–Hungary
SILVER–Dae Heon Hwang–South Korea
BRONZE–Shaoang Liu–Hungary
Event: Finals–Feb. 17 @ 7:21 am ET/4:21 am PT

Men’s 1500m Short Track Speed Skating:
GOLD–Dae Heon Hwang–South Korea
SILVER–Sjinkie Knegt–Netherlands
BRONZE–Hyo-Jun Lim–South Korea
Event: Finals–Feb. 10 @ 7:22 am ET/4:22 am PT

Men’s 5000m Relay Short Track Speed Skating:
GOLD–Netherlands
SILVER–China
BRONZE–Canada
Event: Finals–Feb. 22 @ 6:47 am ET/3:47 am PT

Women’s 500m Short Track Speed Skating:
GOLD–Marianne St-Gelais–Canada
SILVER–Kexin Fan–China
BRONZE–Elise Christie–Great Britain
Event: Finals–Feb. 13 @ 7:07 am ET/4:07 am PT

Women’s 1000m Short Track Speed Skating:
GOLD–Suzanne Schulting–Netherlands
SILVER–Min Jeong Choi–South Korea
BRONZE–Elise Christie–Great Britain
Event: Finals–Feb. 22 @ 6:23 am ET/3:23 am PT

Women’s 1500m Short Track Speed Skating:
GOLD–Suk Hee Shim–South Korea
SILVER–Min Jeong Choi–South Korea
BRONZE–Kim Boutin–Canada
Event: Finals–Feb. 17 @ 7:05 am ET/4:05 am PT

Women’s 3000m Relay Short Track Speed Skating:
GOLD–South Korea
SILVER–China
BRONZE–Canada
Event: Finals–Feb. 20 @ 6:23 am ET/3:23 am PT

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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