Despite a thigh injury suffered the day before Charles Hamelin brings home gold for the sixth time this season

Despite a thigh injury suffered the day before Charles Hamelin brings home gold for the sixth time this season

Montreal, November 17th, 2013 – And that’s a wrap! The last stage of the Olympic qualifying process is now behind the Canadian Short Track Speed Skating team. With their perfect showing (20 Olympic spots earned out of a possibility of 20), the Canadian athletes now return home and are set to begin their last Olympic preparations, with their next competitive test at the Sochi Olympic Games.

The second day of racing on Russian soil was highlighted by Charles Hamelin’s gold in the 1000m, despite having had to withdraw yesterday due to a bruised left thigh. Charle Cournoyer and Olivier Jean both stumbled in the preliminaries and finished at the bottom of the rankings.

The men’s relay team did not reach the main final. Charles Hamelin’s fall in the 30th lap created too large a gap for the other Canadian athletes to catch up to the pack, thereby excluding them from the A final. The team of Charles and François Hamelin (Ste-Julie, Que.), Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, Que.), Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, NWT) and Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, Que.) took advantage of a fall implicating the two leading teams in the B final as the final bell was ringing to win the heat and take 5th place. First place went to the Americans, second to the Russians and third to the Koreans.

On the women’s side
On the women’s side, Valérie Maltais was in fine form in the 1000m. She was in first place in the final and in the last turn, rubbed elbows, lost her footing and found herself in the mats. She finished 4th. Marianne St-Gelais, recovering from a virus, finished 14th, followed by her teammate Jessica Hewitt, in 15th. Neither skater advanced past the quarter finals.

In the relay, all the top teams were lined up for what promised to be a fierce battle. China finally took the lead with seven laps to go and managed to increase the gap in front of the Koreans (2nd) and Italians (3rd). The Canadian team (made up of Jessica Gregg, Edmonton, Alta.; Valérie Maltais, La Baie, Que.; Marianne St-Gelais, St-Félicien, Que.; Jessica Hewitt, Kamloops, BC and Marie-Ève Drolet, Laterrière, Que.) were shut out of the podium, finishing 4th. This relay signaled veteran skater Marie-Ève Drolet’s return to competition, after battling injury since last August’s Olympic Trials. Jessica Gregg fell during the race, slowing down her team’s rhythm.

Stats for Charles Hamelin
According to Infostrada sports statistics reported by the ISU, today’s gold medal puts Charles Hamelin in third place in the World Cup standings for medals, bringing his all-time total to 103. He only trails Russia’s Victor Ahn (110) and American Apolo Anton Ohno (108).