BEIJING, CHINA – The Canadian men’s relay team executed the perfect race on the biggest stage to win Olympic gold at Beijing 2022, allowing Charles Hamelin to join Canadian royalty in the last Olympic race of his illustrious career.
Hamelin teamed with Steven Dubois, Pascal Dion and Jordan Pierre-Gilles for the top of the podium finish. Maxime Laoun will also receive a medal after racing in the semifinals, where the team won their heat to advance into the A final.
In the final, the Canadians executed their race strategy to perfection. They settled into third place for the first half of the 45-lap race, content to draft behind the leading South Koreans and save their energy. With 20 laps to go, a pass was made to get into second. On the exchange two laps later, they burst to the front and soon picked up the pace of the race. The Koreans were the only ones able to stay close to the speedy Canadians, but by the time Dubois took over for the last two laps, there was little doubt the gold medal would be theirs. Italy beat out the ROC for bronze in a photo finish.
For Hamelin, the gold medal has many historical implication. It is the sixth Olympic medal of his career, tying him with long track speed skater Cindy Klassen as Canada’s most decorated Winter Olympian. He is also tied with sprinter Andre De Grasse as Canada’s most decorated male Olympian, one behind swimmer Penny Oleksiak for the all-time lead, a record she set this past summer at Tokyo 2020.
His four Olympic gold medals tie him with hockey players Jayna Hefford, Hayley Wickenheiser, and Caroline Ouellette for the most ever by a Canadian athlete. This is the fourth Olympic relay medal Hamelin has won. He was a silver medallist in his Olympic debut at Turin 2006 before winning gold at Vancouver 2010. He was part of the bronze medal-winning team at PyeongChang 2018. Individually, he won 500m gold in Vancouver and 1500m gold at Sochi 2014.
Hamelin is the first male short track speed skater to win a medal at five different Olympic Winter Games. At 37-years-old, Hamelin is the oldest ever Olympic medallist in short track speed skating.
For Dubois, who had already won silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 500m, it is his third medal of Beijing 2022 as he completes the full set. Dion adds to the bronze he won in the 5000m relay four years ago at PyeongChang 2018. Pierre-Gilles and Laoun will stand on an Olympic podium for the first time.
This is the seventh Olympic medal Canada has won in the men’s 5000m relay since it was added to the Olympic program at Albertville 1992. Canada only missed the podium at Lillehammer 1994 and Sochi 2014 and has more medals in the event than any other country. It is the fourth time Canada has won gold in the relay, winning back to back at Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake City 2002 before the victory on home ice at Vancouver 2010.
“Finishing on top of the podium with these guys, it is living your dream. These guys worked so hard every single day with me and that’s exactly the reason why we are here. We worked so hard for so long, and it just came easy at the end. In the final we just knew what to do, and we executed perfectly. For us it was a done deal with like 15 laps to go. We knew we were going to win.”Charles Hamelin
“It’s amazing, a dream come true. I love these guys on and off the ice. It’s crazy good, we are a special team. We showed the world in the special year, we are dominant. We wanted so bad to show we are the best.”Jordan Pierre-Gilles
“Charles means a lot to all the Canadian skaters. He’s such an example, he’s worked so hard throughout his career, that’s why at 37-years-old, he’s still here, still so strong. He won a medal, he skated very well, and for all the skaters in the world, he’s such a great example of perseverance, he loves what he does, and that’s what makes him a champion.”Pascal Dion
“Charles has always been very welcoming to the new skaters. He made me feel like family and most importantly, he showed me how to work at training, even if you’ve achieved great things, to not settle and think that you’ve done it all. He’s a great example, great friend, and I’m very happy and proud I can say I won his last gold medal with him at these Olympics. We had such a crazy season, and we wanted to show so bad what we could do. I saw on the last two exchanges that there were some small gaps and thought, ‘This is it’. We wanted to show how dominant we were in the relay and it meant so much for us to win this race. We’re just proud and grateful to have the chance to be at the Games, living this relay with our team, against these great teams around us, so it’s just an amazing moment.”Steven Dubois