Charles Hamelin crashes in men’s 1,000m short track heats
Canadian loses his balance on corner
Canada’s Charles Hamelin was knocked out of the Olympic men’s 1,000-metre short track event Saturday at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi when he fell during his quarter-final race.
Competing in the third heat, the 29-year-old from Ste. Julie, Que., was sitting comfortably in second place when he lost his balance during a corner and slid into the boards, taking American Eduardo Alvarez with him.
"I hit a crack or the ice broke under my blades and I got off balance and I wasn’t able to come back from that," Hamelin told CBC. "It wasn’t enough [time], there was two laps [left] in the race. It’s unfortunate but I need to come back strong and be ready for the 500 metres."
Later in the final, Victor An and Vladimir Grigorev thrilled the Russian crowd by winning gold and silver, respectively.
Hamelin, who won gold in the 1,500-metre race on Thursday, was seeking his fifth career Olympic medal.
While not his best event, Hamelin won three World Cup races this season in the 1,000m.
Hamelin turns to 500m
Hamelin will now turn his attention to defending his Olympic gold medal in the 500m beginning with the heats on Tuesday (5:15 a.m. ET, streaming at cbc.ca/olympics).
"You have to come, you need to be strong and that’s what I will do," said Hamelin. "I will come back on the ice tomorrow morning and make sure that I’m ready to focus on the 500 metres and be ready to do good things in that distance."
Two other Canadians, Charle Cournoyer, 22, of Longueil, Que., and Olivier Jean, 29, of Lachenaie, Que., also failed to qualify for the semifinals.
Sochi hasn't been kind to the Canadian men's short track team.
A gold-medal favourite in the 5,000m metre relay, the defending Olympic champions failed to qualify for the final on Thursday when François Hamelin — in similar fashion to his brother Charles — fell around the halfway point of the race.
Russians go 1-2
An and Grigorev took control of the final and were never really challenged. An, a former South Korea competitor who earned three gold medals at the 2006 Torino Games, won Saturday in 1:25.325.
An became a Russian citizen in 2011.
"I spent the whole last eight years for this medal," An said through a translator. "That's why I cried."
Grigorev made it a 1-2 finish for Russia, taking silver with a time of 1:25.399. Knegt Sjinkie of the Netherlands won the bronze medal in 1:25.611.