Welcome! My name is Michael Gilday and I am a Short Track Speedskater from Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. I currently train at the National Training Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I've created this blog primarily to let family and friends know about competitions and travel. I also hope to educate a bit about short track and maybe even entertain. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

After practice... (video)

After practice, do short trackers just change and take their own separate ways home? Not a chance. Everyone has to talk about pratice, and about what they have heard that will make them better than the next guy. Check it out...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Olympic Blogging Opportunity

The following is a re-post from my coach, Jon Cavar's blog. You can read all about it in the part below but I'll give you a little blurb first. The blog he recommends is written by his friend Hart Shouldice. Hart spent four months in Yellowknife during the winter of 2008. In his blog he writes very eloquently about his time there. I have read through it all in the last couple days, and his blog posts brought back quite a few good memories of growing up in Yellowknife. So, if you are from Yellowknife check it out. It might make you appreciate a few things about living in YK you may have taken for granted. If you aren't from Yellowknife and like a good read or want to learn about what its like in Yellowknife, I suggest taking a quick look at it.(You have to scroll back to the 2008 posts to find the ones on Yellowknife) And if you don't fall into either of those categories, why not just vote for Hart in the contest! (see below).

Opportunity of Olympic Proportions

Almost half my lifetime ago, back in Ottawa, I lived around the corner from a young man named Hart Shouldice. I was in the same grade as his older sister in high school. While I don't remember much of that time long ago I can say one thing for certain, that even back then he was more articulate than I. Or should I say than "me". Not sure.


Hart has entered a contest to become a writer for the Globe & Mail during the Olympics in Vancouver 2010. An amazing opportunity for any writer. A position that I am confident Hart would do amazingly well.

He needs your votes to win!
Vote for Hart

Hart is truly fantastic with the written word. You can and should check out his blog to see for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

A Harty Meal


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 3, Charles' Day

Day three. First day of finals. Turned into a good day for the Canadians. But as Mark Mathies, National team Coordinator told me, it was good, but what was better was that it could easily have been great.

This day turned into Charles Hamelin's day really quickly. He started out with a semi in the 1500 that was quite difficult. Si-bak Sung, Apolo Ohno, Nicola Rodigari and Sjinkie Knegt. He made it through fine. The final turned into the real show though. With three Koreans in the final, Charles knew to stay close to the front and not let the Koreans dominate. Si-Bak Sung hit the front and it looked to be a done deal. But Charles held in second, and then sniped Sung at the line by .001 seconds. A great start that really pumped up the home crowd. On a side note, this was the first World Cup win in the 1500m in 12 years. Jonathon Guilmette was the last to do it.

Video of the the 1500m and post-race interview can be found here:

A second shout out goes to Travis Jayner of New Brunswick, who now skates for the US on getting his first individual wolrd cup podium.

The biggest thing that I noticed with the 1500m skating was that no one was going to let the Koreans just take over the race like they did in Asia. The Koreans finished 2, 4 and 6 a big difference to their two sweeps in China and Korea.

500s were next. Highlights on the womens side were Kalyna Roberge's silver. Almost better than the second place was that she had a great start and managed to pass Meng Wang early in the race. This is something Wang isn't used too, and will give her something to think about. Jess Gregg said that Wang in beatable and it seems the girls really believe it.

In the men's 500, Charles and Flou both had dominating performances through all the round and were one two on the line for the final. Charles lead, but Flou made a nice pass. Unfortunately for him though he slipped and had to settle for 4th. This opened the door for Charles' second win of the day.

From what went on today, it would be fair to say that Flou is back at the level that he was before injuring his ankle and he could have won today if not for bad luck. The only slight hitch is that Si-Bak Sung lost an edge and went down earlier in his semi, this not allowing us to see him in the final and the crowd missed out on what could have been an even bigger showdown.

I had mentioned that the ice was pretty bad earlier this week. Things aren't a ton better, the ice is still soft apparently, but the refs seem to be smart about making sure that there are lots of Zambonis so that the the ice is fair for everyone.

If you are looking for video coverage and live in the US you can check out full coverage of today's racing at universalsports.com.

Hope you all enjoyed the live coverage by CBC today. They will be back tomorrow as well so make sure to check it out.

Day 2...a bit delayed

Day 2 wrapped up last night. The day turned out to be a bit shorter, mostly due to the fact that one of the men's relay teams (possibly Bulgaria but I'm not sure) pulled out thus eliminating the need for a round of heats.

The 1000's went of pretty well for the Canadians. Unfortunately, Olivier Jean was dqed. He tried to pass outside to inside and made contact. Other than that all Canadians skated strongly and will skate on Sunday in the quarters.

Olivier's DQ and that of Cho Ha-Ri of Korea on the womens side really showed everyone the value of skating clean in a qualification meet. Their DQ's means that the team as a whole will have to pull together next weekend in order to qualify the full quota of three skaters. This is because qualification happens as a COUNTRY, not as an individual.

For example, Canada's worst result in the men's 1000m next week, regardless of who skates, will count with Olivier's DQ when the combined placings are added up. That means that our third skater will have to have enough points to get in to the top 32 overall after the WCup in Marquette, despite starting with zero, while everyone else starts with their points from this weekend. Therefore, another dq next week by any of the three Canadian skaters eliminates our chance of having three skaters entered in the men's 1000m at the Games.

Our mens team is very strong though and I know that everyone is motivated to go out and get three top results next weekend.

The second half of the day was the relays. Watching this was definitely the most exciting part of the weekend so far. For some countries, the relay is the best chance they have to qualify for the games. That combined with the aspect of the pride of racing as team for your country brought out a lot of emotion. The heats were tight for the second qualifying positions and this brought out good and bad skating. Mistakes can easily be made under the big pressure and they were. Others rose to the occasion and had excellent performance when they needed too.

The most tense moments were once the races were over. On the women's side, Britain and Hungary had an epic battle, with some contact early on causing the Hungarians to go down and the Brits to go off-track. Both teams got back in the race, but the Brits had a substantial lead. With three laps to go, it looked like the Hungarians would be hard pressed to close the gap and they put their top skater Hiedum Bernadett out to do three laps (almost never done). She was closing fast on the British who completed their last exchange with 2 laps to go (normal). As Bernadett went to pass, she collided with the British skater who had given the relay push to their anchor. She fell, essentially ending the race for them. But wait, they had to wait for the refs decision. Both teams waited anxiously on the ice, and in the end the British were DQ'ed. They were crushed, the Hungarians elated. The emotions and pressure of Olympic Qualifications personified.

Finals today in the 1500 and 500. Come out and support the Canadians if you are in Montreal or watch live on CBC 5pm EST, 3pm MST.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 1 over.....finally!

Just got back from the rink. 500's are in the books. All Canadians are through to the next round easily. Everyone will try hard to rest up before as tomorrow is another long day.

Only really big surprise today was that Kwak Yoon-Gy went out in the first round after stripping his edge (From what I could tell anyways). He was completely unable to put any pressure on his left skate.

One thing I also saw today is the intensity of the skaters and the staff of the various teams. They know what is at stake. Every race really counts. Not that they don't at every world cup, but with Olympic berths on the line, you have skaters looking closely at times and placings to find out where they stand.

Another thing that I have been learning this week is that many countries have standards on top of just placing skaters in the top 32 after the two weeks or racing. For example in Germany, to qualify in the 1500, you not only have to be top 32 after the two qualifying World Cups, but you also must achieve a top 18 (semi final) either this weekend or next. (This only applies if Germany does not qualify a relay team. If they do qualify a relay team, then anyone who reaches the ISU standard of Top 32 is eligible to race individually in the distance they have a top 32)

Remember to check out live TV coverage on CBC friday and saturday.


I've been at the rink now for a few hours. Not as long as the racers though. One thing is becoming really clear though. These are loooooooong days. For someone skating both distances today (1500 and 500) the day started probably around 7:30am with arrival at the rink for warm-ups. Racing got under way at 10:15 with the 1500's and they wrapped up just before three. The 500's are going right now, and the schedule has the day wrapping up around 8pm tonight. Talk about a long day. Oh and everyone will be back to do it all again tomorrow.

Canadians are doing well. Olivier and Charles are through in the 1500, Bastille is out. He got into some trouble and was a bit unlucky to not have been advanced.

On the womens side, both Kalyna and Val Maltais are through, while Tania ran into a very very hard heat and did not advance.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Cup #3 update

Competition starts tomorrow. For those interested in minute by minute updates check out these two link

ISU Results webpage click on the live button at top for real time lap counter and positions.

Tony Chung's Twitter. Tony is a dedicated short track fan from the US who films tons and tons of video at races across North America. He does do some sales of his video from various events so visit www.shorttrackhd.com if you would like to order anything from him. He also does regular blog updates from events and he will be twittering like mad.

Schedule of what races are when can be found here.

CBC will also be showing live coverage on both Saturday and Sunday on the main CBC network and also streaming live on their website. This will be a first for Short Track in Canada. If you are a fan of amateur sport in Canada watch this! The more viewers the more coverage Short Track will get. It airs at 5pm Eastern, thats 3pm for all of you in Alberta and the NWT!

So, lots of options for live coverage. If you are in Montreal, come and check it out in person. I know all the athletes will appreciate a loud Canadian crowd.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Observing a World Cup

So again somehow I managed to go almost a month with no update. Might have been worth it though so that everyone got there dose of Jess Gregg's video and told their personal contacts about her personal dream of getting sponsored by Old Dutch Chips.

But enough of old posts. I'm in Montreal right now. Have been for a week now. Since I'm apart of the Olympic Alternate squad, we were invited out here to train with the team and help them out with some relay stuff in preparation for the World Cup this week that serves as the qualifying meet for a country's starting quota at the Games. I also managed to get up to Chicoutimi for an Elite Cup which I somehow managed to win despite being at the end of 4 exceptionally tough weeks of training.

These two weeks are all about different experiences. After settling into a routine in Calgary over the past few months, I was looking forward to changing things up a bit and coming out here. It really helps my motivation to go out and do new things with my training. I feel like you can learn a lot from training with different people too, and that can only make you better. My french is also loving being here in Montreal. This past weekend up in Chicoutimi was complete immersion for me and my french has never been better.

Enough about me though. Since I'm here at the World Cup, and I'm going to be trying to learn as much as possible, I am hoping to share some of my observations with all the short track fans out there who can't be in Montreal personally. I'll have my computer at the rink and will try to update a couple times a day if possible.

But to start here are a couple things I have observed to so far:

1. The ice was bad today. From what I could see it was really soft and wasn't freezing very well in between zambonis. There are about 12 hours of practices a day though so that will take a toll on the ice. Hopefully they can get the ice in top shape by thursday.

2. Countries are putting everything into this competition. If you don't do well in this World Cup and the one next weekend in Marquette, Michigan, you don't skate at the Olympics. Countries can qualify up to three spots per distance by placing skaters in the top 32 at the two World Cups. I got here two weeks before the start and by the time I got here, Italy and Great Britain had already arrived and were training in Montreal. The Netherlands, Hungary and Poland were all training in Trois-Rivieres, before they could get on the ice this past saturday. Poland was actually driving the 1.5-2 hours from Montreal to Trois-Rivieres each day.

3. Kind of unrelated, but it is really hard to find plain, unsweetened yogurt in the grocery stores these days.

4. Injuries are the talk of the competition so far. Two big names are out as of recently. Jordan Malone is out after a fun-wrestling accident. The biggest news is that Ho-Suk Lee has broken his ankle. Both of these skaters can still be at the Games though as the World Cups qualify spots for countries, not individuals.

Keep checking in.