Road To The Olympic Games

Marianne St-Gelais suffers concussion symptoms, forced to withdraw from short track selection trials

Following a fall at training Friday afternoon, Canadian short track star Marianne St-Gelais withdrew from the national team selection trials this weekend in Montreal due to moderate concussion symptoms.

Girard, Boutin ahead of the pack after Day 1

Marianne St-Gelais, shown in this January 2017 file photo, =will not be competing in the national selection trials this weekend in Montreal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Following a fall at training Friday afternoon, Canadian short track star Marianne St-Gelais withdrew from the national team selection trials this weekend in Montreal.

St-Gelais, of Saint-Félicien, Que., suffered moderate concussion symptoms and will not compete at any of the events of the five-day competition.

To be able to take part in the 2018 Olympic Games, St-Gelais will ask for a bye, as stated in Speed Skating Canada's 2018 Short Track Olympic Policies and Procedures.

"It's very disappointing to be unable to take part in the selections for the 2018 Olympic Games," St-Gelais said in a statement. "I was in great shape and at the top of my form going into this competition, and I was ready to qualify through my performances on the ice.

My health is the most important thing and I should not take any chances, so I will follow the protocol and the medical personnel's instructions.

St-Gelais says she will ask for a bye from the national team, citing her performance in the years after the Sochi Games.

"I had my best years after the Sochi Games, as I won my first world championship title and was second in the world overall last season," she said. "I know I belong at the Olympics, so I'm not worried about the fact that the decision lies in the committee's hands. One thing is for sure, I will do everything it takes to get well and I will be back on track for this fall's World Cup stages."

Courtney Sarault from Moncton, N.B., has been added to the group of 16 women who will take part in the competition.

Girard, Boutin lead after Day 1

Samuel Girard and Kim Boutin both find themselves a step ahead of the rest of the pack after they each won both races scheduled on the first day of selections on Saturday. 

Girard, of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., won the men's 1,500-metre and 500, while Boutin matched his feat on the women's side. 

The two sit atop their respective standings, putting them in good position to be selected to the provisional Olympic team for the first time in their careers. 

"I was looking for two top-three results today in order to go get some points in the standings and take some pressure off," Samuel Girard said. "Today's wins reflect the work that was done in training. Those were good races and the goal now is obviously to keep doing the same thing until the end of the competition."

Charles Hamelin, from Saint-Julie, Que., sits second in the overall standings after being runner-up to Girard in both races.

Boutin won the women's 1,500 and 500, each time just ahead of Jamie Macdonald, from Fort St. James, B.C.

Both women's races gave way to the same top-four result as each time Boutin won it ahead of Macdonald, Kasandra Bradette, third, and Valérie Maltais, fourth. Boutin, Macdonald and Bradette therefore took the top-three spots in overall standings following the first day of the five-day selections.

"The 500 allowed me to calm down and find my comfort zone, after I felt quite nervous in the 1500, as it sometimes happens when you skate in the first race of a competition," Kim Boutin said. "In the 500, I was able to skate well and with confidence, in addition to focusing on my technique as I need to do to have success."

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