Canada wins 5 medals in short-track
Charles Hamelin came to the Vancouver Olympics as Canada's golden boy of short-track speedskating.
And after a slow start that briefly tarnished his lustre, he leaves the Winter Games shining brighter than ever.
Hamelin failed to qualify for the finals in the men's 1,500-metre final. Canada's Olivier Jean, of Lachenaie, Que., finished fourth.
Then in the 1,000-metre, Hamelin (the world-record holder) had a chance to realize his dream standing on the podium with his with his younger brother, François, 23, as both made the five-person final.
The brothers from Sainte-Julie, Que., rode the adrenaline to an early lead, but they fell back and missed the podium. Korea's Lee Jung-Su won his second straight gold medal, while his teammate, Lee Ho-Suk, took the silver. American skater Apolo Anton Ohno took the bronze.
But the Hamelins' disappointment was only a brief chapter in the Hamelin's Olympic story.
Along with teammates Jean and Montreal's François-Louis Tremblay, the brothers finally stood together on the podium after the four won a near-flawless 5,000-metre relay victory on Friday at the Pacific Coliseum.
Just hours earlier, Charles Hamelin, in one of the most exciting moments of the Vancouver Olympics, stumbled across the finish line to win gold in a wild men's 500-metre final. His teammate, Tremblay, earned the bronze.
The men offered an emotional cap the fantastic performance Canada's short-track women displayed earlier at the Games.
St-Gelais marks birthday with silver
Marianne St-Gelais celebrated her 20th birthday with a silver medal in the women's 500-metre final.
St-Gelais was unable to catch the defending Olympic champion, China's Wang Meng, who took the gold.
The boyfriend of St-Gelais, Charles Hamelin, was ecstatic after her silver-medal win. (She later returned the support during his gold-medal skate in the 500, with one of the most entertaining cheering sessions, capped with a memorable embrace after he was declared the victor.)
"Apart from having a gold medal, silver is the best gift I could have had," said an emotional St-Gelais after the race. "Second place for my 20th birthday, that works well."
Canada had a shot at two medals in the women's 500-metre final, but Calgary's Jessica Gregg got boxed out at the start and couldn't recover.
Gregg would find redemption as a member of the women's 3,000-metre relay team.
Gregg won the silver medal with St-Gelais, Montreal's Kalyna Roberge and Tania Vicent of Laval, Que. The team initially finished third, but South Korea was disqualified after Kim Ming-Jing clicked skates with China following an exchange with five laps to go.
China rules women's competition
China swept the four short-track women's events.
Wang Meng won the 1,000-metre and 5,00-metre races, while leading her team to victory in the 3,000-metre relay. Meng's teammate Zhou Yang won the 1,500 race, and set an Olympic record in the 1,000 semifinal.
But the biggest short-track story at the Games was Ohno, who won a silver and bronze medal in the 1,500 and 1,000 events, respectively, giving the 27-year-old a total of seven medals in three Winter Olympics.
Although disqualified in the 500-metre final that Charles Hamelin won, Ohno's tally sets the record for most medals won by an American athlete at the Winter Games, as well as for any short-track speedskater from any country in history.