Samuel Girard, Kim Boutin get closer to Olympic spots at short track selection trials
Girard needs victory in 1,000m to solidify spot in Pyeongchang
Samuel Girard and Kim Boutin both increased their chances of being the first male and female skaters to lock up their spots on the Canadian short track team at the 2018 Olympic Games.
They both the men's and women's second 500m event at the short track selection trials from Montreal.
Samuel Girard, from Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., led the men's 500 A final from start to finish, just ahead of veteran skater Charles Hamelin, from Sainte-Julie, Que.
The win gave him his fourth in five races so far, including both from 500.
Girard's second 500 win is an important step towards the Olympics, as he now only needs win one of the next two 1,000 races to book his ticket to South Korea.
"The goal ... was to go for the win in the 500m to ensure first place in this distance," said Girard. "It takes away a lot of pressure for the rest of the competition. This isn't over, I still don't have my ticket in my hand although we could say they're about to print it, but there are still important races to come and only after the weekend's races will I be able to say that I've earned my spot."
Hamelin is second in the standings linked to position one on the men's side, while Charle Cournoyer is third.
Boutin close to Pyeongchang
On the women's side, Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, Que., also led the women's 500 A final from start to finish to edge Kasandra Bradette, of Saint-Félicien, Que.
Boutin also came up with her fourth win in five races so far at these Selections, and her second in as many 500 events.
"Tonight's win is an emotional one for me because during the summer, I worked a lot on my 500m, on the technical aspects of this speed event, and I worked on my fears when I skate the 500m," said Boutin, who is also looking to earn her first-ever spot at the Olympics. "I almost didn't believe anymore in my chances of earning some good results in this distance."
Bradette made amends after a tough Sunday, as her second-place finish on Wednesday comes on top of her two third-place results earlier in the competition.
Racing will continue on Saturday with the second 1,000 event in both the men's and women's competitions.
You can watch live coverage of Canada's best at the short track selection trials on CBC sports.