Canadian brothers miss out on podium

Canadian brothers Charles and Francois Hamelin both fail to make the podium as they finish fourth and fifth in the 1000 metres short track final.

Apolo Anton Ohno won the bronze for his seventh career Olympic medal, becoming the most decorated American in the Winter Olympics. The medal broke a tie with speed skater Bonnie Blair.

The Koreans owned the race as Lee Jung-Su, the favourite in the event, took the gold with a time of 1:23.023, an Olympic record. Fellow countryman Lee Ho-Suk took the silver.

Charles and Francois jumped out early to take control of the race, leading the pack and setting the pace. They led for six laps while the remaining racers bided their time, content to let the brothers lead and wait for the right time to strike.

During the seventh lap, the Koreans, who were skating in the back of the pack, broke to the front and overcame the Canadians. The Koreans, led by Jung-su, picked up the pace that proved to be too much for the Hamelin brothers.

Both Charles and Francois heavily faded in the end; the race then became a three-person skate for gold. While Ohno had enough gas to keep up with the Koreans, he couldn’t get an opportunity to pass and had to settle for third place.

It’s a disappointing race for the Canadians, especially for Charles. The race was his best chance for a medal as he is currently the world record holder in the event. The finish compounds with his failure to even reach the finals in another of his specialties, the 1500 metres.

Francois almost didn’t make the 1000m finals, let alone eventually missing out on a medal.  During his semifinal race, the Canadian got cut off and bumped by American J.R. Celski. The contact resulted in Francois crashing heavily into the wall.

Skate officials deemed Celski impeded Francois and caused the fall, meaning the American was disqualified while the Canadian was advanced in addition to the regular qualifiers in the heat.

Charles’s semifinal heat also had some controversy. Leading eight of the nine total laps in the race, the Canadian skater got passed by Ohno down the final stretch and was in a dead sprint with Korean Sung Si-Bak to finish second place and qualify for the finals.

As the two skaters approached the line, Sung appeared to grab onto Charles’s shoulder to try and gain some ground, but it didn’t work as the Canadian finished ahead of him anyways.

Next chance for Charles to grab an Olympic medal is in the 500m, which begin February 24. Francois will compete with his brother in the 5000m relay on February 26.