Olympic legacy of Charles Hamelin, the 'Locomotive de Sainte_freckle removal bristol

Olympic legacy of Charles Hamelin, the 'Locomotive de Sainte-Julie', spans generationsCharles Hamelin won a record-tying fourth Olympic gold medal on Wednesday, but the hardware is only one part of the larger legacy he leaves behind as his Games career ends. Take a closer look at the effect the intense and competitive Canadian short track legend had on three generations of the sport in this country.

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Short track star finishes Olympic career tied for most gold medals won by a Canadian

Doug Harrison · CBC Sports(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Charles Hamelin's screams of joy on Wednesday brought back memories of many post-race celebrations Michael Gilday shared with the intense and competitive Canadian short track legend.

Gilday, now retired from speed skating competition, was part of CBC Sports' broadcast coverage of short track at Beijing 2022. That included Hamelin's gold on Wednesday, his fourth Olympic podium in the men's 5,000-metre relay. It was his sixth total medal across five Games, tying him with ex-long tracker Cindy Klassen for the most by a Canadian Winter Olympian.

The relay medal also tied him with women's hockey players Hayley Wickenheiser, Caroline Ouellette and Jayna Hefford for the most gold won by a Canadian at either the Summer or Winter Games with four.

"That is Charles in a nutshell," Gilday said about Hamelin's exclamations during the victory ceremony. "He's extremely passionate and his intensity is unmatched.

"I think that level of intensity is what has made him as great as he is."

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The 37-year-old Hamelin, who entered his first competition at age 9, is expected to retire following the upcoming short track world championships in Montreal, near his hometown of Sainte-Julie, Que.

"I think he's still at the top of his game and can draw on a wealth of experience others don't have," Gilday said, "but it's nice to go out on top [with Olympic gold]. It's a fairy-tale ending to a storied short track career."

WATCH | Hamelin makes history in final Olympic short track race:

Hamelin wins relay gold, ties Canadian record with 6th Olympic medal

4 days agoDuration 9:56Charles Hamelin closed his Olympic career on an emotional high, while the gold medal gives teammate Steven Dubois one of every colour at Beijing 2022.9:56

Gilday, who finished sixth with Hamelin in the men's relay at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, has admired his former teammate's ability to perform at an elite level every weekend for over 15 years.

"To me, that is truly the mark of excellence," he said. "Everyone's going to know about the Olympic medals, but he never had a weekend off. If we [his teammates] had a bad weekend, he was always there to bring a [positive] result. When I look back on his career, that's what I'll remember most, the consistency."

Family affair

Hamelin played baseball as a youngster and was introduced to speed skating by his younger brother François, a two-time Olympian with whom he won 2010 relay gold in Vancouver. A third brother, Mathieu, also skated, while their father Yves helped coach at the national level and was high-performance director for Speed Skating Canada between 2006 and 2014.

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"Charles is part of a wider family that is short track speed skating in Canada," said CBC Sports' host Scott Russell, host of Olympic Winter Games Primetime during Beijing 2022. "He has staying power and has become an iconic figure in his sport. A fierce competitor devoted to his family and completely aware of the importance of his team."

Yves was glued to his TV in Quebec for Charles' final Olympic race from Beijing along with his son's fiancée, sports journalist Geneviève Lefebvre-Tardif, with whom Charles shares a daughter.

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"It's a moment in history and we were feeling the emotion between [Charles and his teammates]. So much work to get there," Yves told CBC, "but now they have the sense of achieving [success].

"Seeing Charles having stayed healthy and having fun and putting the best of himself in any given race for [his] whole career, this speak[s] a lot to me. He enjoyed it for his current teammates and previous teammates. I know this will follow him for his entire life."

WATCH | 'A perfect race,' says Hamelin's fiancée Geneviève Lefebvre-Tardif:

Charles Hamelin's emotional family reacts to gold medal

4 days agoDuration 9:39Hamelin's fiancée Genevieve Lefebvre-Tardif and father Yves Hamelin describe the emotions of seeing Charles finish his Olympic career with a gold medal.9:39

Charles Hamelin, who also helped Canada to Olympic relay silver in 2006, gold in 2010 and bronze in 2018, has also earned 142 World Cup medals and more than 30 world championships, including 14 gold.

Here's a closer look at his Olympic short track success:

Torino 2006: 1st Olympic medal

Hamelin fell short of a gold medal by 3-10ths of a second, teaming with Éric Bédard, François-Louis Tremblay and Mathieu Turcotte to take silver in the 5,000 relay at Palavela arena in Turin, Italy.

A 21-year-old Hamelin also placed fourth in the 1,500 before establishing himself on the international scene, twice winning world championship gold in the 500.

Gilday:"If you look at the sport when he started on the World Cup scene in 2004 to now, you wonder how someone could have excelled then and still [competed] at a high level now. The lap times we're seeing now are probably a good half-second faster and the depth of the field is not comparable.

"There's no doubt Charles has physical gifts. He's incredibly strong, physically, and that has helped him a lot along the way, but [his recent results] tell you everything you need to know about how well Charles has been able to adapt."

Russell:"He is a driven athlete and completely aware of his place in the long tradition of short track speed skating in Canada. In many ways, he's the connection between the glory days of Nathalie Lambert, Sylvie Daigle, and Marc Gagnon and the current generation."

WATCH | Canadian teammates pay tribute to 'iconic' Hamelin:

Hamelin saluted by his teammates before receiving gold medals

3 days agoDuration 3:01Canada's 5,000m short track relay team saluted six-time Olympic medalist Charles Hamelin as they stepped/jumped onto the podium.More Olympics coverage

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