Short track – a family affair
In the Hamelin family, short track speed skating is a real passion. Dad is the manager of the Canadian national team, while the three brothers, Charles, François and Mathieu, are skaters.
From Turin to Vancouver
Charles Hamelin is the eldest of these talented brothers. He has the longest international experience, including numerous titles and medals in world competitions. In Turin in 2006, with his relay partners, Eric Bédard, François-Louis Tremblay and Mathieu Turcotte, he won silver, his first Olympic medal. In the Palavela, they were beaten by three-tenths of a second by South Korea in the final. In the 1,500m, Charles Hamelin ended at the foot of the podium. Between 2006 and 2010, the Canadian asserted himself and won two world 500m titles. The 2010 Vancouver Games were a major objective for him. He came seventh, then fourth again at the first two events. Charles Hamelin was getting ready to compete in the most important day of his career. Indeed, on 26 February 2010, he was on the starting line of the 500m and 5,000m team finals.
Gold medal and Operation Cobra
The 500m went like a dream. Charles Hamelin won the event, beating the Olympic record in front of a home crowd, and wore his first gold medal round his neck. Next to him, on the third step of the podium, was his partner, François-Louis Tremblay. There was no time to savour this Olympic title as, only a few minutes later, the two Canadians were on the ice again for the relay. They were accompanied by Olivier Jean and François Hamelin, Charles’s younger brother. The race was extremely close, and in the final the four best teams were separated by only four-tenths of a second. “Operation Cobra” worked perfectly. The strategy implemented by the Canadians saw François-Louis Tremblay going into orbit a few laps from the end, leading the team to the title. This time, they beat the South Koreans. For the new Olympic champions, what could be better than the crowd in the Pacific Coliseum going wild to share the joy of their gold medal?