COC photo: Greg Kolz

Hamelin hammering toward Sochi

Charles Hamelin is no stranger to a hot pace. And if his start to the 2012 World Cup season is any indication of what he is capable of in this early lead-up to Sochi 2014, things are looking to heat up again for the Sainte-Julie, QC native.

In less than two weeks, Hamelin boosted his resume to include 19 career World Cup wins and 52 medals.

At the Samsung ISU World Cup opener Calgary, AB the Vancouver 2012 double gold medallist placed second in the men’s 500m final and third in both the 1,500-meter final and 5,000m relay final.

A week later, the two-time Olympian said the Sochi 2014 Games was in the back of his head as he celebrated second place finishes in the men’s 500m and 1,000m finals at the Samsung ISU World Cup in Montreal, QC.

“The season before the Olympic season is always very important”, said Hamelin. “It’s an opportunity to focus on your physical and technical form to make sure you’re in the best possible shape for the Olympics. As a team, I think we did that today. I’m very proud of myself and my teammates.”

Looking toward Sochi 2014, Hamelin is drawing inspiration from the Canadian pride and energy generated by the recent London 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

“During the London 2012 Olympics, Marianne [St. Gelais] and I watched the summer athletes compete every day,” he said. “Sometimes we’d have three events playing at once — one on the TV, one on the computer, one on the iPad. Watching the Olympics is always inspiring.”

Whether it’s at the Olympic Games or during the regular season, Hamelin said wearing the Maple Leaf during competition is a proud feeling unto itself – one he is proud to share with supporting fans and fellow Canadians.

“It’s always a great feeling to step out on the ice in my skin suit, knowing that ‘Canada’is written across my back,” he said. “Canadian support helps us a lot and really makes a difference when we’re competing.”

–  Kristina Velan