Canada's Hamelin crashes out of 500-metre race

Canada's Charles Hamelin reacts after crashing out in the men's 500 metres short track heat event...

Canada's Charles Hamelin reacts after crashing out in the men's 500 metres short track heat event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 18, 2014. (REUTERS)

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - The Olympic Games are over for speed skater Charles Hamelin.

One gold, two falls, one brother down and a whole lot of bittersweet memories.

Hamelin came into these Games with an outside shot at winning four medals, which would have made him the most decorated Canadian in Olympic history.

Instead, he leaves with one gold in the 1,500 metres, another fall in the 500m and failure in the 5,000m relay when his teammate and brother, Francois Hamelin, fell in the heats.

The latest disaster to befall the Sainte-Julie, Que. native occurred in the 500m heats Tuesday. Hamelin, who won gold in the 500 and relay in Vancouver four years ago, was cruising along in first place when his right blade gave out and he crashed into the boards.

“After the race I felt like I wanted to destroy everything,” Hamelin said, with a laugh. “But now I’m more of a gentle person.”

What tempered his anger was the fact that his girlfriend, Marianne St-Gelais, helped the Canadian women’s 3,000m relay team capture the silver medal about an hour after his crash.

“For me, (the fall) was a disappointing moment, but I was so happy for Marianne and the team,” he said.

Hamelin was at a loss to explain why he went down. Nobody touched or bumped him. He seemed to be in total control with one lap remaining.

“My blade slipped,” he said. “I was feeling really good, everything was under control. The ice just break under my blades, or my blade slipped. I will have to look at the race with the coaches to know what happened.

“I did nothing wrong in that race. I was in control,” he added. “It’s just unfortunate what happened. If I could redo the race, I would do exactly the same thing because that’s how I race, and that’s how I win my race. It was just bad luck.”

Hamelin said he ran the race through his head a few times afterwards.

“And it was like ‘Why? Why? Why?’” he said. “I went back into the (dressing) room, changed, took time to think of what happened . . . I cried.”

But after getting a hold of himself, he went upstairs into the stands at the Iceberg Skating Palace to cheer his girlfriend on to a silver medal

At 29, Hamelin isn’t ready to commit another four years to get to the 2018 Games, though he’s not ruling it out either.

“Maybe. Maybe,” he said.

— Steve Buffery

 

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