Bronze medals for Hamelin & Tremblay at Nagano Short Track World Cup

Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC) and François-Louis Tremblay (Montréal, QC) both stepped on the third step of the podium, today, at the 4th stop of the ISU Short Track World Cup Circuit, in Nagano. Kalyna Roberge (St-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC) was the strongest women, with 4th in the 1000m.

Tremblay was the first one to step on the podium, as the 1500m was the first final to be skated. He was the lone Canadian skater in the distance today, and had to fight his way through three Korean athletes in the final. Lee Jung-Su and Sung Si-Bak, both of Korea, took gold and silver.

“The 1500m is not my specialty, I don’t like it that much, but I wanted to skate it this weekend to get more experience and be better for the national qualifications next month,” explained Tremblay. “I didn’t expect to win a medal, but it’s nice to see what I’m able to do. I did the best I could, I knew the three Koreans would go for a podium sweep, so I would have to sneak in somewhere, be aware of how many of them were in front of me, not let them take all the room. I made the right move at the right time.”

Hamelin, a medalist in 6 of his 7 individual World Cup races so far this season, showed once again that no matter the distance or where the World Cup is, he can get on the podium. Today, in the 1000m, it wasn’t without frustration though, as the Canadian saw Korean Kwak Yoon-Gy steal the silver from him by 0.003 seconds at the finish line. Lee Ho-Suk, another Korean, was first.

“Today, the final was a bit frustrating,” said Hamelin. “I had a good race, my strategy went well, but I made a few mistakes. I almost fell in the last lap, I lost a lot of speed at that time, which allowed the Korean who was third to catch up to me. It was a race for the finish, and as he had more speed than me at the time, he had the advantage.”

Also in the 1000m, Richard Shoebridge (Cambridge, ON) gained more World Cup experience by skating in the quarter final, and took 15th overall. Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, QC) was disqualified for impeding in that same round, for 19th place.

On the women side, Kalyna Roberge skated really well for 4th in the 1000m. Chinese skaters Wang Meng and Liu Qiuhong, and Korean Yang Shin-Young took the three medals. The other Canadian in the distance, Jessica Hewitt (Kamloops, BC), was 14th.

In the 1500m, Annik Plamondon (Longueuil, QC) was 2nd of the B final for 8th place, her best finish so far this season. Anne Maltais (Québec, QC) was also in the B final, and finished 10th. Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC) finished 3rd in the repechage session, one spot too far to make the afternoon semi-finals, and she settled for 19th place overall.

The Canadian women’s relay team of Roberge, Lambert, Plamondon and Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB) took second place of their semi-final, just behind the Koreans. The men (the Hamelin brothers, Tremblay and Jean) finished almost a second ahead of the Koreans for first place of their heat.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the event in Nagano, and athletes will skate the final rounds of the 500m and 1500m as well as the relay finals.