Canadian speed skater Charles Hamelin was hopeful at the beginning of this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. He felt confident, and he was being touted as the skater everyone should watch out for. He was in the running for medals in all four of the men’s short track events—that is, until the unfortunate happened, and he started falling.
Hamelin was expected to rack up medals from the men’s 5000-meter relay, and the 500m, 1000m, and 1500m heats. After falling in the 1000m and 500m events, he was only able to take the gold for the 1500m. In the semifinals of the 5000m relay, his team fell as well.
While he only managed to snag one gold, he doesn’t think of it as disappointing; after all, he was able to prove that a Canadian can race against the world’s best in one of the toughest events in speed skating. The 1500m event was often noted as the Canadians’ weak spot, and Hamelin was able to show the world what a misconception that is.
This year, Hamelin first fell in the 1000m event, and again during the 500m heats on Tuesday. Up until that point, he was feeling good and he had everything under control. There had been observations that the quality of the ice at the Iceberg Skating Palace was not suited for short track skating—it was over-watered and overused—but Hamelin refused to blame the ice. He said he never had a bad feeling about it. Besides, he wasn’t the only one on it.
It must have been a bad stroke of luck for the speed skater, but he was very professional about it—he let out his anguish and frustration in private, and went on to cheer his girlfriend, fellow speed skater Marianne St-Gelais during her speed skating events. He beamed with pride and said he was happy for the women’s team, who won silver in the 3000m relay. That’s a kind of sportsmanship you don’t see every day.
Hamelin wins gold in men's 1500m short track
Image via Wikimedia Commons