NEWS: Hamelin wins 500-metre gold, Jean takes silver in 1,000 metres, Canada is second in men’s relay

Audio (MP3): Cournoyer, Gilday, Hamelin, Jean.

SHANGHAI, China – On the last day of the ISU World Cup (results web site) in Shanghai, China, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., and Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., returned to the podium for a second consecutive day for individual medals and again for the silver medal in the men’s relay. Hamelin won gold in the 500 metres and Jean took the silver in the 1,000 metres.

Hamelin, building on his 1,500-metre silver medal win on Saturday, was first in each of his quarter-final (41.238), semi-final (40.961) and final (40.905) races to win his fourth gold medal of the season. He beat out Jon Eley of Great Britain (41.054), Wenhoa Liang of China (41.178) and teammate Charle Cournoyer of Longueuil, Que., (41.239) in fourth. Cournoyer was first (41.904) in his quarter-final heat and second (42.574) in one semi-final.

In the men’s 1,000 metres, Jean won his fifth medal of the season, first silver, with a second place finish (1:25.451), just 0.151 seconds behind Yoon-Gy Kwak of Korea (1:25.300). Korea’s Jinkyu Noh was third (1:25.971) and Michael Gilday of Yellowknife was fourth (1:25.989).

To reach the final, Jean was first in both his quarter-final (1:27.685) and semi-final (1:27.344) heats, while Gilday was first (1:27.315) and second (1:29.140), respectively.

In the men’s relay, Gilday, Hamelin, Jean and Rémi Beaulieu of Alma, Que., took the silver medal (6:48.858) behind China (6:38.567) and ahead of Great Britain in third (7:02.363). Korea, in the lead until the second last lap, was penalized and eliminated. Skating 45 laps of the 5,000-metre distance, the Canadians were behind the Koreans from the 38th to 43rd turn when they took the lead in the second last lap, only to lose 10 seconds and fall to second place. Cournoyer also received a silver medal for skating in the semi-final.

Quebec City’s Alexandre St. Jean also competed in the 1,000 metres. He skated in three repechage races (heat: 1st, 1:29.543; quarter-final: 2nd, 1:34.543; semi-final: 1st, 1:28.008) to reach the quarter-finals. St. Jean placed third (1:28.115) in the quarter-final to move on to the C final, where he was first (1:31.934) for a ninth overall ranking.

Beaulieu was in today’s 500-metre race with Hamelin and Cournoyer. He was second (41.798) in his quarter-finals, but fourth (42.825) in the semi-finals to qualify for the B final. Beaulieu was penalized in the B final for an overall ranking of eighth.

In the 500 metres, Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., was 0.196 seconds away from stepping on the podium for a bronze medal. She raced the four and a half turns in 44.561 seconds for fourth place. Arianna Fontana of Italy was first (44.026). China’s Qiuhong Liu was second (44.111) and Kexin Fan third (44.320). To reach the final, Truchon won her quarter-final race (44.299) and was second (45.310) in the semi-finals.

Montreal’s Sabrina Bourgela and Kasandra Bradette of St. Félicien, Que., competed in the 500-metre B and C finals, respectively. Bourgela won her final in a time 44.906 seconds for a sixth overall ranking. Bradette was second (44.845) in the C final to take 11th place.

In the women’s 1,000-metre distance, only Gabrielle Waddell of Red Deer, Alta., reached the quarter-finals, where she placed fourth (1:37.844) in her heat to move on to the C final. She took third place (1:37.647) in her final for a 13th overall ranking.

In the 1,000-metre repechage, Vanessa Bélanger-Marceau of Loretteville, Que., was second (1:34.328) in her heat and second (1:33.973) in the repechage quarter-finals for 19th spot. Montreal’s Andréa Do-Duc was third (1:34.671) in her first heat for 24th place.

In the women’s relay B final, Canada was third (4:16.400) to claim seventh spot. Bourgela, Bélanger-Marceau, Do-Duc and Truchon made up today’s women’s foursome.

The World Cup schedule resumes in Moscow from Feb. 3-5. Canadian skaters will be back on the ice for the Canadian Open Championship in Saguenay, Que., from Friday, Jan. 13 to Sunday, Jan. 15.

With today’s individual medals, the World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance is to $30,000 (17 gold medals, nine silver and four bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win. Last season, Intact Insurance awarded more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

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