Charles Hamelin concluded his career on Sunday by winning his 38and medal at the world championship under the applause of the crowd massed at the Maurice-Richard arena.
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First with four laps to go in the 5000m relay, the last event of the worlds, the Canadians finally won the bronze. The Koreans and the Dutch took gold and silver respectively.
Hamelin, like his teammates, would have preferred to repeat their Olympic Games feat when they were on the top step of the podium, but the Sainte-Julie native skater assures that the color of the medal does not bother him.
“The color of the medal didn’t matter,” Hamelin said. The most important thing was to live these last moments in career with the boys in front of my family and Quebec fans. The feelings are amazing and the memories will stay forever. »
“The gold we wanted, we won it a few weeks ago in Beijing during the Olympic Games, to pursue the six-time Olympic medalist. We were ready and the game plan was precise, but I was surprised when the Dutch skater passed me and I tried to keep my place. I lost speed and the Koreans also passed. We tried to come back, but we ran out of time. »
These last moments in his career will remain etched in Hamelin’s memory.
“I could never thank life enough for having had the chance to live these moments in Montreal,” he said. It was magical. »
- Listen to Geneviève Pettersen’s interview with Charles Hamelin on QUB radio:
lap of honor
After a lap of honor with his daughter Violette in his arms and the podium ceremonies, Hamelin was treated to a video tribute where family, friends and the leaders of the Canadian and Quebec Speed Skating Federations saluted his contribution to the sport and thanked him.
Photo Martin Alarie
As a proud dad, Charles Hamelin made a last lap with his daughter Violette in his arms.
After the ceremonies, the 37-year-old put on his skates again and enjoyed another round with his daughter before leaving the ice. “I cried a lot on the ice listening to the crowd and the testimonies of people,” he said. I wanted to skate with Violette and I had been waiting for these moments for a long time. I don’t know how much she was aware of it, but she will be able to see lots of pictures when she grows up and she will have flashes of those moments. She could hear the supporters show their love for her dad. »
Although he knew his retirement would be celebrated, Hamelin was treated to a surprise when the Korean and Dutch skaters insisted on being present on the ice during the ceremonies.
“I didn’t expect that,” he said. It touched me to see that they insisted on being present. I realize that I had an influence on Canadian skaters, but I didn’t realize that I had an impact elsewhere in the world. »
The Canadian skaters all popped the champagne on the ice. The celebrations continued into the evening.
“I don’t know if I’m going to bed,” said Hamelin with his best smile. It only happens once in a career and I want to make the most of it with the guys. »
This week, Hamelin will fly to Punta Cuna with his fiancée and daughter, a trip they had to delay due to the postponement of the world championship.
Hamelin concludes his career with six Olympic medals, including four gold, 38 world championship medals including the cumulative ranking title won in Montreal in 2018, and 142 World Cup podiums.
Tears for a legend
Moved, Charles Hamelin’s teammates witnessed their hero’s last strokes
Photo Martin Alarie
After descending from the dais, Charles Hamelin was carried in triumph by his teammates.
Charles Hamelin’s teammates fully enjoyed the opportunity to turn an important page in the history of short track speed skating in Canada.
“Everyone had a little tears in their eyes and Charles can be proud of everything he accomplished,” said Pascal Dion, who finished the worlds in second place overall.
“Charles is a legend and a role model for so many young people. His mark on our sport will remain for a long time. »
Dion says he was inspired by the Sainte-Julie locomotive. “Charles is a hard worker and an ox in training and I learned a lot from him,” said the 27-year-old skater. I don’t think I’ll still be here in ten years. »
Photo Martin Alarie
The “Ste-Julie locomotive” in full action in the 5000 m relay.
Even if he did not experience a world championship that lived up to his expectations, Steven Dubois really enjoyed living these last moments in the company of the star of the day. “We had a special moment and had a lot of fun. We don’t lose Charles. He will remain our friend. »
“Four years ago, we were so far from that and we had such a great year, a magical year, added Jordan Pierre-Gilles. I’m going to continue in his honor and I’m really looking forward to what’s next. »
Present on the ice, the skaters of the Canadian team were also able to experience these special moments. “It’s an honor to be here,” said Alyson Charles. He brought so much to our sport. He was an example and we should all be inspired by him. »
Strongly moved, Wednesday, at the press briefing to launch the activities of the world when she delivered her comments on the imminent retirement of
Hamelin, Kim Boutin again praised his teammate.
“Charles was a role model and he proved that we could grow in our sport. Short track skating evolves so quickly and Charles has always been able to adapt. It’s amazing what he’s achieved. »
Photo Martin Alarie
The crowd massed at the Maurice-Richard Arena did not miss the opportunity to encourage the man who has become a legend in his sport.
Even if he leaves, Hamelin is convinced that the Canadian team will enjoy great success in the future.
“The team for both men and women is solid,” he said. I know what they are capable of. We have a vice-world champion overall and I am convinced that others who have had a less good world will bounce back. I will continue to cheer them on and look forward to seeing them win medals. »
No coaching in sight
Could Hamelin remain associated with the Canadian team in a different role?
“I do my coaching lessons on the internet in my spare time, but I have no short-term ambition to coach, said the one who will celebrate his 38and April 14 birthday. I have so many things to take care of. There are good people in place and I have no intention of taking the job from anyone. If an opportunity arises later, I will listen. »