Two-time Olympian Charles Hamelin is Canada's best all-around short track skater and among the best in the world. He will compete in all four events in Vancouver: 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 5000m relay. Hamelin won a silver medal at the 2006 Olympics on the relay. He is the reigning world champion in the 500m.
So far this season, Hamelin is ranked first in the 500m in the fall 2009 World Cups, with two victories. He also is ranked second in the 1500m, winning once, and third in the 1000m. Hamelin helped Canada's 5000m relay to one win, two second-place finishes and one third at the four World Cup events in fall 2009. In 2008-09, Hamelin won at least one World Cup medal in all three distances in 2008-09.
All in the family
Short track is a family affair for Hamelin. His father, Yves, is Canada's national team program director, and his younger brother, Francois, also will compete at the Games (in the 1000m and relay). Francois, 23, was actually the catalyst that ignited his older brother and father's involvement in the sport. The younger Hamelin began skating at age 5, and within a year Charles and Yves were participating as well. If not for Francois' choice, Yves likely would have continued coaching Charles' amateur baseball team, where Charles played second base and right field. Their mother, Manon Goulet always was driving the boys to practices and competitions when they first got into short track. Hamelin has another brother, Mathieu, the youngest.
Sharing the podium
At the Vancouver World Cup on Oct. 25, 2008, at the Olympic venue, Charles and Francois shared the podium in an individual event for the first -- and so far only - time. Charles won the 1000m, and Francois was third. Francois said when he was on the podium that day he was able to envision it being the Olympics. Francois has said that competing with his brother is fine, they don't ever have problems because their relationship is strong. Francois understands that Charles is the star of the team but adds that some day he would like to be the star of the team so everyone could ask Charles about him instead.
Hamelin is into designer sunglasses and watches but also has quite the collection of sports shirts. Some of his favorites include an Alexei Kovalev Montreal Canadiens shirt, a Brazilian national soccer team shirt and one Arsenal soccer shirt. He says he likes wearing them because the successes of the featured teams motivate him to try to attain the same level of success. The Canadiens are his favorite team, and he follows them at all times, either on TV, radio or through the internet. After returning home from the Torino Olympics, Hamelin had the chance to be a part of a pre-game ceremony at a Habs game, a very special moment for him.
Off the ice
After the Olympics, Hamelin wants to pursue a degree in physical education. He lives with his girlfriend, Marianne St-Gelais, who also is competing in Vancouver for the women's short track team. Hamelin likes to draw and sketch and has combined that interest with his enjoyment of video games, as he likes to sketch video game graphics.
As the pilot for the USA-1 bobsled, I broke a 62-year gold medal drought when my sled, the 'Night Train" won the Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. A degenerative eye condition nearly caused me to quit my sport in 2008, but corrective surgery restored my vision to 20-20.