Francois Hamelin, Canadian speed skater, wins 1st World Cup gold medal
Olympic medallist has career-best 3 podium finishes this season
By Doug Harrison, CBC Sports Posted: Dec 06, 2015 2:43 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 06, 2015 2:43 PM ET
Francois Hamelin left a lot on the ice Saturday in Nagoya, Japan but 24 hours later proclaimed he was perfect.
The Canadian short-track speed skater won his first-ever gold medal in an individual World Cup event, defeating Russia's Artem Kozlov and China's Chen Guang in the men's 500-metre race on Sunday.
"It was a perfect day," Hamelin, a native of Sainte-Julie, Que., said in a statement released by Speed Skating Canada. "It's not often I can say that, but it was the case for all my races today. They were all perfect."
Hamelin, who debuted on the senior international scene in the 2007-08 season, noted he grabbed a significant edge on his competition at the start of Sunday's race.
'I've always believed I could get to this level and that I had potential. But ... there was always a blockage. Today, there wasn't any.'- Canadian speed skater Francois Hamelin on his 1st World Cup individual gold medal
"After that I just went for it [the win], gave it my all and I was never in danger throughout the race," the 28-year-old added. "I'm really happy and I will savour this."
Hamelin, who was third in Saturday's 500 and shared the podium with his brother Charles, who won the event, said Sunday's victory was a reward for his hard work.
"I've always believed I could get to this level and that I had potential," said Francois Hamelin, a 2010 Olympic medallist in Vancouver who also competed last year at the Sochi Winter Games. "But for reasons that I can't quite grasp, there was always a blockage. Today, there wasn't any, and I'm really happy and proud of myself."