Sochi, while you were sleeping: Charles Hamelin falls out

Spills in speed skating and snowboard cross take out Canada’s medal favourites

by Aaron Hutchins

David J. Phillip/AP

David J. Phillip/AP

Canada started the day with an Olympic record at the speed skating oval, but it ended with several crashes eliminating Charles Hamelin and Marianne St. Gelais. On the final lap in his 500-m heat, Hamelin had a large lead but crashed on his own in the second last turn. Be it the ice conditions playing a factor or just bad luck, it was the end of Hamelin’s chance to defend his Olympic gold in the event.

The day wasn’t much better for his girlfriend and fellow Olympian Marianne St.-Gelais, who fell in her 1000-m heat. St.-Gelais tried an early inside pass, but couldn’t maintain her line. She crashed out and finished the race a few laps behind the leader.

 

 

Despite losing two medal favourites so early on Tuesday, it wasn’t all bad news at the speed skating oval. In the women’s 3000-m speed skating finals, Canada finished in third place, but a disqualification to the Chinese team meant Team Canada—and Marianne St. Gelais—will bring home a silver medal from Sochi.

Back in the individual competition, it may have only been the women’s 1000-m heats, but that didn’t slow down Valérie Maltais who broke the Olympic record.

Her teammate Marie-Ève Drolet finished third in her heat, when the top two advance, but a disqualification to a competitor in her race pushed her up to second place. On the men’s side in 500-m speed skating, Charle Cournoyer won his heat, as did Olivier Jean.

Away from the oval, news wasn’t great in men’s snowboard cross. Canada’s Kevin Hill was running in second in the semi-finals and looked poised to advance until a late crash took him out. It was the same kind of day for fellow Canadian Chris Robanske, who was looking strong in the quarter-finals until he crashed too.

Dispatches from Sochi: (Be sure to follow: @ChasGillis, @JonGatehouse, @kmqyvr, @KrRutherford and @reporterchris)

Jonathon Gatehouse: True champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skate their hearts out to silver

Charlie Gillis: Canada vs. the U.S.: An inevitable showdown in women’s hockey

Wake up! Still to come today: bobsleigh, Denny Morrison and hockey playoffs

Canada’s two-man bobsleigh teams didn’t win a medal in Sochi, but now it’s the women’s turn. Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse are the defending Olympic champions and look like strong contenders to repeat. The first two heats take place today, starting at 10:15 a.m. EST/7:15 a.m. PST.

It’s not often the Canadians care about a hockey game between Switzerland and Latvia. The winner of this match-up, however, will face Canada in the men’s quarter-finals, so think of it as a scouting report. The puck drops at noon EST/9 a.m. PST.

Denny Morrison already has a silver and bronze medal, but he can make history today. No Canadian has had a podium finish in 10,000-m speed skating since Frank Stack won bronze at Lake Placid in 1932. The Koreans and Dutch may be heavy favourites, but Morrison has surprised us twice already in Sochi.




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Sochi, while you were sleeping: Charles Hamelin falls out

  1. Has tampering with skates been considered? I find it really odd that Canada’s top medal prospects in speed skating are crashing and burning out of nowhere, for reasons they themselves can’t even explain. It’s not that they’re running into other skaters or not qualifying for not being fast enough. They’re just dropping like flies. Both Hamelins, St-Gelais…these aren’t surprise dark horses. These are world-renowned contenders for medals. The incident with Olivier Jean’s skates back in 2011 comes to mind.

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