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Speed-skater de Haitre vies to be both Summer and Winter Olympian

Easier said than done when you’re an elite cyclist/speed skater.

The cyclist Vincent de Haitre competed at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games this summer. The speed skater Vincent de Haitre is attempting to make it to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games in February.

That’s just 180 days apart. Impossible, you say?

“Well … watch me,” said de Haitre, big smile on his face.

On Friday at the 2021 Canadian long track championships, de Haitre won silver in the men’s 1000 metres, finishing in a time of 1:08.02. It was his first official race in nearly four years.

“To be really honest, I pulled my groin a couple of hours ago during warm-up so that hindered me, especially at the start of the race,” said the 27-year-old from Ottawa post-race. “I know there’s more to come. Overall, with the circumstances I had, it was about as good as it could get. The coaches are happy. So to finish second at the Canadian championships after just skating full-time for eight weeks is a very big win. It’s more than what we had predicted.”

The race was also the first time he was allowed to start, as protection for his groin and his back.

“It’s retraining my body to be a speed-skating body and also taking into account that although I’m fit, that doesn’t mean my body’s able to move the way it should,” continued de Haitre, who got back to training eight weeks ago.

When the Tokyo Games were postponed, an anxious de Haitre knew his transition time from sport to sport would be even shorter.

“Someone has it out for me — someone did this on purpose,” de Haitre said with a chuckle. “I was staying with a friend, and I asked them, ‘What’s your opinion, what do you think? And they responded, ‘Vince, the world has bigger problems than whether you go to another Olympics.’ That’s the sense of grounded-ness I like. It was a motivating thing for me.

“You want to throw this other challenge at me? Fine. Bring it.”

De Haitre, who competed at both the 2014 and 2018 Winter Games, knew going in there would be barriers in his quest to join the 13 Canadians who’ve competed at both Games and four who’ve done so in a 12-month span.

“Physically, it’s been challenging just avoiding injuries and dealing with them as they come,” he explained. “Mentally, it’s knowing that I’m not allowed to try my best on any given day until the coaches tell me I’m allowed to.

“I don’t think it’s easy by any means, and I don’t think my performance today should fool anyone into thinking it’s easy. I think it’s a testament to the work me and my coaches have put in.”

As for the near future, the progression will continue.


“I’ll have another discussion with the coaches on what is the best course of action for me in the next two months,” de Haitre said. “World Cups don’t win you Olympic medals. Going to the Olympics does. And I didn’t come back to participate in another Games. I’m here to be competitive.”

Laurent Dubreuil won gold in the 1000m, his second of these championships, breezing in a time of 1:07.29. The bronze went to Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu (1:08.10).

In the women’s 1000m, Quebec’s Valerie Maltais was crowned champion, as she posted a time of 1:14.95. It’s the first time she has skated a 1000m at a Canadian championship. Kaylin Irvine of Calgary was second in 1:15.39, while Ponoka’s Maddison Pearman took third (1:15.60).


Maltais, who represented Canada at the Olympics in 2010, 2014 and 2018 in short track, made the transition to long track three years ago and is setting her sights on making it on that Games squad in 2022.

“Today, the focus was working on my speed to bring it into the team pursuit with the girls — that’s what I’ve been doing this summer,” Maltais, 31, explained post-race. “Honestly, I didn’t expect to do that good. It was over two-second (personal best), and I just couldn’t believe it when I crossed the line. For sure, it changed my mindset. OK, now I’m going to race it at World Cup.

“My intention was I wanted to be a potential for the team and not only be on the team but be a contender. I’m really happy to feel, especially in team pursuit, that it’s really possible.”

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© 2024, Vincent De Haître. Canadian Olympic Dualsport Athlete. Created by: Chabo Communications & Design