A Silver Medal for Now – The Ring To Come Later

Vancouver (Sportcom) – Spectators must have wondered where the screenwriter was hiding Wednesday night in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum - things were picture-perfect. Marianne St-Gelais, one of the short track team’s youngest members, won a silver medal in the women’s 500m final, at her first Olympic Winter Games, and on her birthday no less. Marianne St-Gelais, race after race, was front and centre at the starting line with a smile on her face. Charles Hamelin - also a member of the short track speed skating team - explained his girlfriend’s good humour, “Marianne is like that every day; she lives like that. She’s amazing, I’m so happy she’s in my life,” explained Hamelin, moved by his beloved’s exploits on the ice today. “It’s the most incredible feeling; I think I couldn’t be happier if it was me winning a medal.” he exclaimed. The top step of the podium went to Chinese skater Meng Wang (43.048), followed by St-Gelais (43.707) for silver, bronze for Italy’s Arianna Fontana (43.804) and in fourth place Alberta’s Jessica Gregg (44.204). The native of Saint-Félicien turned 20 years old today and was walking – or rather skating - on a cloud. “It’s a dream come true, that’s for sure. When I heard the bell ring for the last lap I said to myself, It’s close. Yet, I didn’t want to think about that too much, because in short track, it’s not over til it’s over. In any event, it’s a great birthday present! I am extremely proud of myself, I had a great race.” Hamelin wore his emotions on his sleeve while watching St-Gelais skate, but afterwards was stumped as to what could possibly rival a silver medal as a birthday present. “I think that the only thing that might beat it is an engagement ring!” He went on to reveal, “Although the ring hasn’t been bought yet, it will be in the very near future.” The impressive fourth place finish of 21 year-old Jessica Gregg (sister of long track skater Jamie Gregg), went unfortunately unnoticed among the medal celebrations. “In the A Final I hesitated a bit. I was still skating well, but I just couldn’t catch the other girls,” calmly explained the Calgary resident of her first-ever Olympic Winter Games experience. History Repeats Itself The second time was not a charm for Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon’s Kalyna Roberge, who was unable to qualify for the A Final – just as had happened at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Her absence from the final in Torino in 2006 may have been a controversy, but in 2010 it was a case of faster skating by Wang and St-Gelais. “I said to myself that perhaps my place wasn’t to win a medal, but instead to help the team,” explained Roberge between tears. “I did the best that I could, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough to make the A Final.” Roberge finished in sixth place overall, and warmly congratulated her teammate after the medal win, “I told her that she did it; that she skated incredibly well.” Leading the Way in the 1000m Skating prior to the women’s 500m finals, Charles and François Hamelin easily earned their places at the starting line for the 1000m quarter final heats. The brothers used the same tactic: get out in front and control the race. Charles skated with his hands relaxed, behind his back, the entire duration of the nine lap race. At the very end of the race he sped up slightly, and set a new Olympic record - 1:25.256. The record didn’t last long however, as Korean Si-Bak Sung (1:24.245) eclipsed it several heats later. “I had a race just the way I like them; I got out in front away from trouble and it worked. And yes, the 1500m is a much longer race!” Hamelin added, referring to his seventh place finish in that distance. Though younger brother François was in his first Olympic Winter Games, he was able to handle the nerves and the pressure well, “I’ll admit I felt a bit weird today. I was more stressed than usual, but on the ice, everything went really well. I broke the proverbial ice – the next race is going to be something!” He concluded with a smile. The final heats of the Men’s 1000m event will take place February 20th. A Packed Men’s Relay Final Ahead The Finals of the Men’s relay will make for occupied ice, as this year five – instead of the customary four – teams have qualified; Canada will be there. Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, QC), François-Louis Tremblay (Montréal, QC) and Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-loup, QC) were encouraged enthusiastically by a thrilled crowd. “We could feel the crowd – it was so loud! I think it was even louder than the Canada-Norway hockey match I saw!’ said Bastille, happy to have contributed positively to the short track team after a disqualification three days ago in the 1500m event. Tonight, (Wednesday), Marianne and her teammates will share a bottle of champagne, provided by Team Director, Yves Hamelin – a celebration of many things for the short track speed skating family. -30- Best Canadian Results, Men’s Short Track 1000m Event: 1992 – 2th Frédéric Blackburn 2002 – 3th Mathieu Turcotte 1998 – 3th Éric Bédard 1994 – 3th Marc Gagnon Best Canadian Results, Men’s Relay: 2002 and 1998 - Gold 2006 and 1992 - Silver Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/SSCHouse