Canada hits 10 gold with short-track haul
Under heavy criticism for underperforming at the Vancouver Games, the Canadian men's short-track team responded on the final night of competition at the Pacific Coliseum with gold and bronze in the 500 metres and gold in the 5,000 relay.
Charles Hamelin won the men's 500 and François-Louis Tremblay was third in the race Friday night.
The two then came back about an hour later with François Hamelin and Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., to win the relay.
"My goal was to bring back home one individual medal and one team medal," said Charles Hamelin. "Two gold is the best I could have dreamed of.
"To do it with my brother in the relay is incredible."
The results give Canada 10 gold medals in Vancouver — the first country to reach the total — and push its overall count to 21 medals.
"What we had hoped for was an exceptional day," said Yves Hamelin, short-track team leader and father of Charles and François.
"To have results like that, all the planets have to be aligned. There are often unplanned things that happen in short-track. But today it was our turn and we had good races."
The 500 gold-medal final was up for grabs when a crash occurred in the final turn, with Sung Si-Bak of South Korea and Montreal's Tremblay sent crashing.
Hamelin hung on to his balance and crossed in first ahead of Apolo Ohno of the United States.
Ohno was disqualified after the judges conferred, charged with knocking Tremblay away. Sung captured silver.
"It was a weird finish," Hamelin said, "but a good result."
Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Que., had endured personal disappointment in the 1,000 and 1,500 races earlier in the Games, failing to reach the podium despite high expectations.
But in one night's work, he became the first Canadian man to win multiple medals at the Vancouver Games.
The 25-year-old crossed in 40.981 seconds in the 500. He was quickly embraced by girlfriend Marianne St-Gelais, who has won two short-track silver medals in Vancouver.
Long-track speedskater Kristina Groves of Ottawa has also earned silver and bronze for Canada.
Tremblay won silver in the 500 at the 2006 Torino Games and was also part of the silver-medal relay team in Italy, as was Hamelin.
Canada breaks Korean domination
Hamelin's win prevented a sweep of the individual men's events by the South Koreans.
In the relay, Canada took the lead from China just over 3½ minutes into the race and Hamelin extended the lead with about 10 laps to go.
Canada crossed in a time of six minutes 44.224 seconds. South Korea took silver, with Ohno winning his eighth Winter Olympic medal as U.S. took bronze.
Kalyna Roberge of Montreal and Calgary's Jessica Gregg were eliminated in the semis in the women's 1,000 metres, with veteran Tania Vicent of Laval, Que., disqualified in the quarter-final heat.
Vicent won a fourth career Olympic medal in the women's relay Wednesday with Roberge, Gregg and St-Gelais, who hails from Saint-Félicien, Que.
Wang Meng of China went on to her third gold medal in Vancouver, taking the women's 1,000 metres in 1:29.213 seconds. Katherine Reutter of the United States captured silver, with Park Seung-Hi of South Korea claiming the bronze.
Wang now has six career Olympic medals after taking 500 gold and two silver at the Torino Games four years ago.
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press