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Hamelin becomes Canada’s most decorated male Winter Olympian with 5,000m relay gold

Hamelin now tied with sprinter Andre De Grasse for most Olympic medals won by any Canadian man
Charles Hamelin (6) of Canada after winning gold in the men’s 5,000-metre short-track speedskating relay final at the Beijing Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Charles Hamelin’s final Olympic race was one for the record books.

Hamelin, 37, capped off his Olympic career in golden fashion as he helped his teammates win the men’s 5,000-metre short-track speedskating relay on Wednesday.

The medal — his sixth — makes him the most decorated Canadian male Winter Olympian of all time, and ties him with long-track speedskater Cindy Klassen as the only other Winter Olympian with a half-dozen podium finishes. He has three golds, one silver and one bronze from previous Olympics.

Hamelin and Canadian teammates Steven Dubois, Jordan Pierre-Gilles and Pascal Dion won the race in a time of six minutes 41.25 seconds.

South Korea won silver in 6:41.69, while Italy claimed bronze in 6:43.431.

The medal means Hamelin is now tied for most Olympic medals won by any Canadian man, with sprinter Andre De Grasse. He’s the oldest man to win a short-track speedskating medal, and joins women’s hockey players Caroline Ouellette, Jayna Hefford and Hayley Wickenheiser as the only Canadian Olympians with four gold medals.

Dubois, meanwhile, has now won three medals — one of every colour — at the Beijing Games. He had earlier won silver in the 1,500 and bronze in the 500.

He becomes the second Canadian Olympian to complete the medal set in Beijing. Long-track speedskater Isabelle Weidemann won a gold, silver and bronze on the Ice Ribbon oval.

Meanwhile, at the Ice Cube, Brad Gushue’s rink secured a semifinal berth without hitting the ice for a match.

Canada was guaranteed a top-four finish when the men’s round-robin session was completed. Losses by Switzerland and Russia cleared the qualification route for 5-3 Canada.

“It’s a big stress relief to be honest,” Gushue said.

Jennifer Jones began her day by putting her Canadian rink back in the playoff conversation with a 7-6 victory over Tabitha Peterson of the United States. Jones improved to 4-3 with her third victory in a row.

A second match against China wraps up later Wednesday.

Canada was 1-3 earlier in the week — a far cry from medal contention — before beating Russia, Britain and the U.S. in consecutive matches.

“We just go out there and try to enjoy it,” said Jones. “I always feel it’s such a privilege to be on the ice. So we’re never really scared to lose or make mistakes. We’re just trying to go out there and do our very best.

“We just want to keep winning so we can keep curling.”

A fourth loss wouldn’t have eliminated the Canadians, but it would have been a serious blow to their semifinal aspirations in the women’s curling draw.

Jones was tied for third place with Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa after 10 sessions. The top four teams in the 10-team field will advance.

“I feel like we’re playing with tons of confidence,” said Canada vice Kaitlyn Lawes. “It doesn’t hurt when the skipper is making some amazing shots.”

Canada closes out round-robin play Thursday against Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont.

In Zhangjiakou, the cross-country duo of Antoine Cyr of Gatineau, Que., and Graham Ritchie of Parry Sound, Ont., set a best-ever result for Canada in the men’s classic team sprint in an Olympic Games.

The Canadians held their own for much of the six-leg race until the Norwegians, Russians and Finns pulled away. Canada crossed the finish line fifth, a little over 22 seconds behind the gold-medal winners from Norway.

Canada’s last Olympic medal in cross-country skiing was in Turin in 2006.

In the women’s four-person biathlon relay, the Canadians struggled to keep up en route to a 10th-place finish. Canada finished 4:30.4 behind the gold-medal-winning team from Sweden in the 24-kilometre race.

Canada’s foursome was made up of Emma Lunder from Vernon, B.C.; Calgary’s Megan Bankes; Emily Dickson of Burns Lake, B.C.; and Sarah Beaudry from Prince George, B.C.

Canada has not won a medal in biathlon since Myriam Bedard’s two golds in 1994.

On the slopes, Max Moffatt of Caledon, Ont., placed ninth in men’s freeski slopestyle with 70.40 points against some stiff competition.

Alexander Hall of the United States won gold with 90.01 in his first run. Hall called it the best slopestyle run of his career.

In his first run, the 23-year-old Moffatt ended a rail slide too early, leading to a score of 47.18. Then in the second run he was a little tighter in his technical elements for 65.31.

“Unfortunately, I felt like I had a little more gas in the tank to try and get a better run down,” said Moffatt, who won silver in slopestyle at the X-Games in Aspen, Colo., last month.

“Just got caught up in the rails there, but that’s slopestyle, that’s the way it goes.”

Meanwhile, a stumble for alpine skier Erik Read took him out of contention in the men’s slalom.

Read, from Canmore, Alta, was making good time in his second run when a mistake saw him take a little spill halfway down the hill. He quickly got back up and finished the race 5.01 seconds behind gold-medal winner Clement Noel of France. Read placed 24th.

Calgary’s Trevor Philp failed to complete his opening run and did not ski in the second run.

— The Canadian Press

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