Kim Boutin waves and smiles after a racePhoto: Antoine Saito
Photo: Antoine Saito

Boutin & Dubois lead at Canadian Short Track Championships

After the first three days of racing at the 2021 Canadian Short Track Championships, Kim Boutin and Steven Dubois lead the women’s and men’s overall rankings.

On Wednesday, Boutin won her second 500m race of the championships, locking up the national title in the distance. She also finished first in the 1000m on Wednesday, after placing third in the first race over the distance this past weekend. Those results translate to 36,400 points to rank Boutin ahead of Florence Brunelle (30,496), Alyson Charles (27,277), Courtney Sarault (26,949), and Camille de Serres-Rainville (23,040).

Brunelle and Charles earned their way onto both 500m podiums so far and it was Brunelle who won the first 1000m race on Sunday.

Short track speed skaters racing in a pack
Kim Boutin leads a pack of short track speed skaters at the 2021 Canadian Championships (Photo: Antoine Saito)

“I had some great races today and I’m proud of myself,” said three-time Olympic medallist Boutin. “I’m very happy with my composure and how I approached my races, Finding my bearings was my goal over the last few days and I think I’m getting there. I recognized myself in my races today and I have more and more confidence in what I am doing.”

Dubois also claimed two victories in the men’s 500m and 1000m races held on Wednesday. That was his second win in the 1000m at the championships. He sits first with 36,000 points, ahead of Pascal Dion (28,389), Nicolas Perreault (23,773), Jordan Pierre Gilles (23,633) and Maxime Laoun (21,150).

The Canadian Championships are the first step skaters will take towards qualifying for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. You can dive into the details of the 2022 Olympic Selection Policies and Procedures for Short Track here, but there are a few key things to keep in mind.

Two short track speed skaters racing
Steven Dubois races against Pascal Dion at the 2021 Canadian Short Track Championships (Photo: Antoine Saito)

At the Canadian Championships, skaters are competing in each of the three individual distances (500m, 1000m, 1500m) three separate times. They are allocated ranking points based on their placements in each of those nine events. The overall ranking is based on a skater’s best two distance results, which is calculated using the points from their best two races within those two distances (ex: their best two 500m races plus their best two 1000m races).

Competition will continue on Saturday and Sunday, with the third and final races in each of the 500m, 1000m, and 1500m taking place.

After the Canadian Championships, six women and six men will be selected for the 2022 Special Olympic Qualification Competitions (SOQC) Racing Pool. An athlete must first qualify to the SOQC Racing Pool to be eligible for nomination to the 2022 Olympic Team.

The first three spots for each gender in the SOQC Racing Pool will be filled by the top three ranked athletes in the overall rankings at the Canadian Championships.

Then, the SSC Olympic Selection Committee for Short Track will review any bye requests for athletes who were unable to compete at the Canadian Championships due to illness or injury. Five-time Olympic medallist Charles Hamelin had to withdraw from the competition after suffering a concussion during Saturday’s races. Another national team member, Dana√© Blais, has also not competed for medical reasons, but is being re-evaluated to see if she might return to the ice this weekend. A maximum of two bye requests per gender may be granted.

If no byes are granted for a gender, then the results of the Canadian Championships will be used again to select more skaters to the SOQC Racing Pool. The remaining spots — up to two per gender — will be discretionary selections of the SSC Olympic Selection Committee for Short Track, based upon such factors as past international performances and experience, training performances, and effect on team dynamics.

The 12 athletes in the SOQC Racing Pool will then head out on to the ISU World Cup circuit, for which the four stops will serve as the Special Olympic Qualification Competitions. To be eligible to earn the maximum quota of five women and five men for Beijing 2022, Canada must qualify for the relay and earn eight starting places in individual distances for the respective gender.

The four World Cup events will take place in Beijing, China (October 21-24), Nagoya, Japan (October 28-31), Debrecen, Hungary (November 18-21), and Dordrecht, Netherlands (November 25-28).