Michael Gilday, a Yellowknife speed skater, competed in his first ever Olympics on Monday while his fans at home gathered to watch his race.

Over 70 Yellowknifers camped out all night in the city’s fieldhouse to cheer on their Olympian in the 2 a.m. PT race.

At first it was all cheers as Gilday qualified for the men’s 1,500 metre semi-final.

However, Gilday was disqualified from the semi-finals after making contact with a French skater during the race while attempting to move between two skaters — a move that could have helped put him in the lead.     

"Basically at that level you get one chance," Gilday said. "You have to execute on the first try. You have to be essentially perfect on a big stage like that and I wasn't perfect at that moment and I didn't go through.  And that's the reality of this level of sport." 

While Gilday says he thought the amount of contact he made with the French skater was inconsequential, judges felt it was enough to disqualify him.  

With the penalty, Gilday wasn't able to move on to the finals.

“I think he should be proud of what he's done. I think we're all really proud and excited for him," said Hannah Lowing, a Yellowknife resident and skater.

"I mean, well, everybody is a little sad, but ... he's done really, really well.”

Canada's Charles Hamelin, however, went on to win the Gold medal for Canada. 

Gilday still has a shot at a medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He will compete in the Men's 1,000 and 5,000 metre short track relay semi finals on Thursday. 

with files from Curtis Mandeville