Valérie Maltais has just written a new chapter in the regional history of speed skating. A member of the national team on short track for a decade, the Baieriveraine became the first skater in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean to qualify for the world Championships single distances long track, presented from 7 to 10 February, at Inzell in Germany.
The athlete, 28-year-old has confirmed his place at the end of the second Canada Cup of the season, at the end of the week, to the olympic oval in Calgary. Malta has recorded the fastest time in the 1500 meters and second in the 3,000 m, Not bad for a girl who has decided to make the jump from the courteà the long track there is barely six months old.
“I think it shows a perseverance, a passion for the sport, a desire to invest “, said Valérie Maltais during a telephone interview, expressing surprise of his progress in six months. His performance in the fall and his ease on the oval to him, however, have given confidence, to such an extent that at the dawn of the Canada Cup, she believed in its chances to make its place in the view of the World.
“As long as I am onboard on the ice, I adapted quite quickly. The more I skate, the more I master the technique, and the better I feel, has revealed Maltese. When I qualified for the first two world Cups in December, I had a good month of training and it seems that I was less stressed. I took a check over at the world cup by watching the “pros”, because after all, I was going to learn with the best. I think it has worked, and the training has borne fruit. I was very confident of being able to do something well, but at the long track, you know what you can do, but you don’t really know what the others can do at a competition. “
Valérie Maltais gave the credit to speed Skating Canada, who offered him all the tools to focus on the long track, in addition to train with the elite from the start.
“I was placed in a group for the national team, so I had access to good training, good coaches, and for me, it is 100 per cent with it if I was able to move forward as quickly, she said. I knew that the mission was great and I’ve had a lot of insecurity. At the beginning, I was not following all the accelerations, but I think that my experience has finally helped. I had to trust myself and to remind me of what I had accomplished in a short track. I am still driven for 21 years, including 10 seasons on the national team. The process lived helped me to be more patient in the process towards the long track. “
The athlete confessed that she sometimes wondered if the decision she had taken was the right one.
“There were several moments where I wondered what I was doing there, she conceded. I was away from my family and the bar was set high, but I’ve never been on the point to stop training. I agreed to make small steps back a day to try to make the next day. “
Since things are going well in the long track, it is easy to say that his decision was completely legitimate. Except that in beyond the results, the main interested was ripe for a new challenge and a new experience as an athlete. She was charmed by the beauty of the long track for the first time at the olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010. More than eight years later, it was time to give it a try.
“I left the short track in a good state, but my the end of the season was difficult, and admitted of Malta. I am talking about my last olympics (in Pyeongchang) and I’m still emotional. I needed a change and just the fact of finding myself in my hallway, to skate to my full potential, this is what I wanted to do. In the past years at the short track, I came in top form during competitions, but the results were not always there. I was at a point where I didn’t want to continue four more years. My parents have always instilled the values of having fun in what I do, especially in sport. I may not have done it for the right reasons if I had continued. “
Before the world Championships, Valérie Maltais and the canadian team will participate in the fifth world Cup, at the end of the month of January, at Hamar in Norway.