Hamelin Brothers Come Close to Podium
Tania Vicent, finalist in the 1500m event

Vancouver (Sportcom) – In an extremely competitive final, Charles and François Hamelin gave it their all to get to the podium in the men’s 1000m final, Saturday night in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum.  Sadly for the two skaters from Sainte-Julie, their “stay out in front” strategy proved successful until one lap to the finish; Charles and François finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

Korean Jung-Su Lee grabbed the top spot of the podium with an Olympic record-setting skate 1:23.747; fellow Korean Ho-Suk Lee took silver in 1:23.801, and American speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno stepped up to the third step of the podium in 1:24.128.
From the very start, the Hamelin brothers controlled the race, with four laps to go their adversaries began pouring on the pressure, yet the Hamelins resisted the attacks.  Ho-Suk Lee grabbed the lead on the last lap; Charles Hamelin still had a medal in his sights at that point, but was forced to cede his place to hard-charging American Apolo Anton Ohno.

“We wanted to position ourselves close to the front of the pack because the five best skaters in the world were in our final.  We mismanaged our speed at the beginning – we went too fast and we paid the price for it at the end of the race,” analyzed François Hamelin.

“The strategy works often for me, but it’s the speed at the start of the race that got me,” commented Charles Hamelin, who earned his berth for the Final A race by a mere four one-thousandths of a second.

“The crowd made it difficult to hear where the skaters behind me were, and that didn’t help me  much.  Finishing off the podium is disappointing for myself as well as my team, however I do have some pride in the fact that we both (Charles and brother François) planned on getting to the final, and did.  It was one of the most competitive races of my life and I’m now going to concentrate on the 500m event and the relay in the hopes of bringing home a medal,” the elder Hamelin concluded.

Tania Vicent Gets to the 1500m Finals

In the women’s 1500m event, Laval’s Tania Vicent was the highest placing Canadian, finishing in eighth place.  Kalyna Roberge (Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC) and Valérie Maltais (La Baie, QC), had both of their evenings end in the semi-final round.  The podium was dominated by Asian skaters with the victory of China’s Yang Zhou – who also set an Olympic record of 2:16.993 – and Korea’s Eun-Byul Lee (2:17.849) and Seung-Hi Park (2:17.927) who earned themselves silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Canada’s short track team veteran was not upset with her performance in the Final A, even with her eighth place.  

“I just ran out of juice, but I’m still happy.  I wanted to leave the oval without any regrets; so I’m not upset,” indicated Vicent, who skated a solid semi-final round.

“It’s always said that I’m the oldest on the team, so this latest experience has a purpose; I was strategic in the semi-final and it paid off, but my legs didn’t have anything left in them for the Final itself.  I haven’t really trained a lot for the 1500m event, so to get to the Final A, it’s an accomplishment,”  Vicent summed up.

Kalyna Roberge fell in the semi-final when she was attempting to pass with four laps to go.  “My semi-final was very competitive; I tried to keep my place when Meng Wang (China) passed me, I lost my line and hit a block.  At that moment my skates came out from under me.  I’m still satisfied with myself though, since the 1500m event isn’t my favourite distance.  I knew I had to work tonight, and that is what I did until I fell.”

Valérie Maltais had the opportunity to dispute her first individual race at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “I enjoyed my Olympic experience – 100%!  Before my first race I was very nervous, but it went really well.  I gave it everything I had in order to make it as far as I could,” she concluded.

The next short track speed skating events will be presented on Wednesday, where the following events will take place: the 500m men’s final, the women’s 1000m event as well as the women’s relay.

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Written by Sportcom for Speed Skating Canada

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