Charles Hamelin of Canada claimed the third gold medal of his career as he won the dramatic Olympic short-track 1,500-meter final in Sochi.
The eight-time World Champion dominated the race against a top-class field, defeating home nation favorite Victor An. Silver was claimed by youth prospect 17-year old Tianyu Han of China, with Yan claiming the bronze.
Great Britain's hope for a medal was dashed when former World Junior Champion Jack Whelbourne fell with three-and-a-half laps to go.
|Men's Short Track 1,500-meter Olympic Final|
|7||Great Britain||Jack Whelbourne||No Time|
The Canadian Olympic team tweeted their congratulations to Hamelin after the race:
Hamelin's victory in the 1,500-meter was a surprise, as it is not considered his favored discipline, according to The Canadian Press via CTVNews.ca. The Canadian is the defending champion in the 500-meter and the 5,000-meter relay.
He has been virtually unbeatable this season, winning six World Cup races.
The home crowd was rapturous on the presentation of An before the race. The former champion from the Turin 2006 Games was the favorite in the eyes of many. The veteran speedskater is originally from South Korea, but switched allegiances in 2010 to compete for Russia.
However, he found it hard to control the race and spent most of the final in fourth position, only challenging for the silver in the final seconds.
Before the race, new champion Hamelin spoke about the challenge An poses, per Reuters: "With good people like Ahn, I think the racing will be awesome. This year and last year he was a very tough guy to beat."
But it was indeed Hamelin who prevailed. No one could penetrate the dominance of the Canadian as the race drew to an exciting climax.
Unlucky Whelbourne of Team Great Britain had been fancied by many after overachieving in Sochi, but crashed out toward the end after a coming together with An. The British star was injured in the race and needed medical attention.
The athlete badly twisted his ankle and has a desperate race against the clock to be fit for the rest of the games. He has two more disciplines to compete in.
Hamelin now moves forward to defend his 500-meter crown and has a very strong chance of yet another gold. The speed skater has been using a new aerodynamic skinsuit to advance his chances of success in Sochi, and his result in 1,500-meter has already proved its technological worth, per ABC Australia.
Hamelin explained: "It is based on the aerodynamics of the fabric. We are told this suit is faster and more comfortable. Knowing that in our minds will make us faster in competition. I want to be the first man to win the 500m in two Olympic Games."
With his new suit, Hamelin will surely win the competition at which he is widely regarded the greatest in the world. There is no doubt that his victory today opened the eyes of many fans and that they now must take the Canadian star seriously for the remainder of his time in the sport.