All’s Well That Ends Well for Short Track Skaters
Canada Earns Two Golds, One Bronze

Vancouver (Sportcom) – Canada skated to an impressive gold medal win in the men’s 5000m relay, Friday, during the last day of short track speed skating at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  The relay medal is in addition to a pair of medals – a gold won by Charles Hamelin and a bronze won by François-Louis Tremblay - earlier in this evening in the 500m event.  In total, the short track speed skating team has won five medals – three from tonight’s racing, as well as the women’s relay silver and Marianne St-Gelais’ silver in the 500m.

Mission: Accomplished

Relay skaters Charles and François Hamelin, Olivier Jean and François-Louis Tremblay had a precise plan in mind when they accessed the final round beside teams from Korea, the United States of America, France and China: stay well-placed and shielded until half-way through the race and wait patiently. At the half-way point, Olivier Jean took over leading the Canadian men – effectively skipping over Tremblay.  The move worked like a charm however, as Tremblay was able to rest for his all-important anchor leg.

“This gold medal represents a lot of teamwork,” began Lachenaie’s Olivier Jean.  “We’ve been working on strategy for months in training, and it went so very well today.  It felt like we could have written the race’s story even before stepping onto the ice.  It’s by far our best result in four years – at exactly the right moment,” he concluded. 

At one point during the race, when Team Canada had begun to put some distance between themselves and the other teams, Charles Hamelin had a near-miss, almost falling.  “Let’s just say that I’m happy that nothing happened!” Hamelin said, relieved.  Younger brother Francois remarked, “We train really hard to be ready to react in that sort of situation.  I watched Charles to make sure we had a good exchange.”
Guillaume Bastille, who skated in the semi-final will also receive a gold medal.  “I watched the guys, I counted the laps and it worked!” exclaimed Bastille.  “Honestly, I think it will take some time to realize what’s just happened – we’re still in our ‘Olympic bubble,” concluded the student who will return to his studies once the Olympics are over. 

Team Korea won the silver medal, and Team U.S.A  earned the bronze.   

A Rock N’ Roll  500m Event

Two Canadians made it to the final in the distance; Charles Hamelin and François-Louis Tremblay.  From the start, Charles took the lead; mid-race, he was passed by Korea’s Si-Bak Sung.  In the last corner, the Korean skater fell and knocked Charles off balance, American Apolo Anton Ohno pushed Tremblay who ended up in the mats.  Charles got to the finish line leaning backwards, barely balanced on his skates.  Sung slid on the line and Ohno was disqualified – Tremblay was awarded bronze.  “That was a crazy finish!” commented Hamelin.

Last week, Hamelin’s joy at his girlfriend’s successes he claimed was a feeling that was hard to beat – he admitted today “There is no better feeling than winning two gold medals in 30 minutes! You can’t ask for better than that,” he laughed.  “Marianne’s two medals at her first Games is still something she can’t quite believe I think,” he added. 

Tremblay, who has more than likely just skated at his last Olympic Winter Games, could not ask for anything more, “When you begin your Olympic career, you never know if you’ll make it one, two, or three Olympic Games; you never know if you’ll even be on the Olympic Team the next year.  I’ve earned five Olympic medals; I’ve just begun to realize it.  For 13 years I’ve been on the National Team; I’m not retiring quite yet – but let’s just say I’ve already had a fulfilling career.”

Olympic Swan Song for Vicent in the 1000m Event

Tania Vicent was also at her fourth and last Olympics, “Well, that’s it, I’m crying,” Vicent half-laughed when she met the press.  “I’m crying because I just raced my last race at the Olympics; it’s been amazing, I had an incredible career with a lot of different adventures – sometimes difficult, sometimes brilliant.  The team has been fantastic, they are a pleasure to skate with – I’ll always remember them.  For better, for worse, this is it for me.”  

Vicent was disqualified in the quarterfinals of the 1000m event, “It’s been a challenging Olympics for a lot of people; Joannie for example.  I know what it’s like to lose your Mum, I lost mine to cancer in 2004.  These things do heal; as for skating now it’s time for me to move on to other things,” she concluded.
Kalyna Roberge finished second in the Final B, and fifth overall.  Apart from this result, the skater from Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon finished 6th in the 500m and 13th in the 1500m events.  “People may think I had a bad Games, but they weren’t.  Considering all the events I skated in, I have nothing to complain about!” explained the 23 year-old whose favourite Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games moment wasn’t her own silver medal in the relay, but rather the silver medal performance in the 500m of teammate Marianne St-Gelais. 

Jessica Gregg, who also took to the ice for the 1000m event, finished in a very respectable sixth place in the final race of her first Olympic Winter Games. 

Video from CTVOlympics.ca: Men’s 500m, Men’s 5000m Relay

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Written by Sportcom for Speed Skating Canada