Hat-trick of golds for short-track master Hamelin
Canada's Charles Hamelin claimed his third Olympic gold medal when he won the men's 1,500m short track title at Sochi’s Iceberg Skating Palace on Monday.
The 29-year-old skater clocked 2:14.985 to snatch the gold ahead of 17-year-old Han Tianyu of China, who took silver in 2:15.055. Victor Ahn, 28, gave hosts Russia their first ever Olympic short track medal with bronze in 2:15.062.
Hamelin, who won gold in the 500m and the 5,000m relay at Vancouver 2010, as well as a silver in the 5,000m relay at Turin 2006, is the highest-ranked male short-tracker in Sochi and currently tops the World Cup rankings in the 1,000m and 1,500m.
"For me, and even more for Canada the gold in the 1,500m is really important because we wanted to show the world that we could overcome the little disappointment we had in Vancouver in that distance,” said a delighted Hamelin.
“All the work I have done with my coaches and my team-mates has paid off.”
Meanwhile, silver medallist Han was delighted to make the podium on his Olympic debut.
“It's my first Olympic Winter Games, and I'm a little bit nervous,” he admitted. “I didn't think very much. I never thought I could make it to the finals, let alone stand on the podium. I took every round as my final, and tried my best to compete.”
Well-suited to success
The new 1,500m champion caught the eye wearing a new aerodynamic skinsuit that was specially designed for the Canadian short-track team.
The bodysuit, made of spandex, is the latest in high-tech clothing for speed skaters "It is based on the aerodynamics of the fabric," explained Hamelin, adding that the design also has psychological benefits.
“We are told this suit is faster and more comfortable. Knowing that in our minds will make us faster in competition."
Having clinched the 1,500m crown, he has no plans to rest on his laurels, with the small matter of two Olympic titles to defend: “I want to be the first man to win the 500m in two Olympic Games,” he said.