Francois Hamelin, short track veteran, desperate to recover lost skates
Air Canada hopes to find bag and return it to Canadian
Short track speed skater Francois Hamelin is desperate to get his skates back after accidentally leaving them on a plane in Toronto.
Hamelin, a gold medallist in the relay at the 2010 Winter Olympics, said the custom-made skate boots were in a bag he forgot in a overhead compartment on Air Canada flight AC088 on Monday. He has been pleading with Air Canada and Pearson airport personnel to find his bag.
The Ste-Julie, Que. skater even sent out a tweet with a picture of the Oakley bag asking anyone who found it to get it back to him.
"I'm kind of freaking out," Hamelin said Tuesday. "I need my boots."
I left my carie on on flight AC088 in Toronto yesterday. <a href="https://twitter.com/TorontoPearson">@TorontoPearson</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AirCanada">@AirCanada</a>, I really need that bag back. <a href="https://t.co/a5JHFJsGWy">pic.twitter.com/a5JHFJsGWy</a>—@FrankHamelin
Hamelin was returning from an eventful visit to Asia that included his first ever win in an individual race in the 500 metres in Nagoya, Japan, and a terrible crash that left him with two cracked teeth and a concussion in the 1,500 metres on Saturday in Shanghai.
He said he was asleep on the plane and woke up just as it was landing. He took one carry on bag with him but left another in an overhead compartment. He realized his mistake after leaving the plane, and was upset that security guards would not let him go back on the aircraft to get it.
"I asked if they could get it for me but they just didn't care," he said. "They didn't understand how important they are to me. I was really mad."
Hamelin believes the bag is somewhere at the airport. He was in the last row of seats, so it is unlikely another passenger took the bag. He feels it was probably found by a crew member or a cleaner.
Air Canada spokesperson Isabelle Arthur said the airline hopes to find the bag and get it back to Hamelin as quickly as possible.
"We are a sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Committee and several athletes so we have the well being of our athletes and their equipment at the top of our minds," said Arthur.
The skate boots, which are moulded to fit his feet only, are hand made in the United States and will take time to replace. There was a Canadian team jacket and other clothes in the bag but he said "I don't care about them, I need my boots."
He said he is feeling much better after the crash, although he is going through concussion protocol. He will also need work on the two back teeth on his upper left side.
Hamelin, 28, is the younger brother of Olympic triple gold medallist Charles Hamelin.