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Charles Hamelin of Canada (left), Jack Whelbourne of Britain (center), and Sjinkie Knegt of Netherlands compete in a men’s 1500m short track speedskating semifinal at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb 10
Hamelin grabs gold in men’s 1,500m Mulder twins lead another Dutch sweep

SOCHI, Russia, Feb 10, (RTRS): Canada’s Charles Hamelin grabbed gold in the men’s short track 1,500 metres at the Sochi Games on Monday, while home-crowd favourite Viktor Ahn seized Russia’s first Olympic medal in the sport, winning bronze. Chinese teenager Han Tianyu, who admitted to being “a little nervous” at his first Olympics, took silver, with the three medallists finishing far ahead of the chasing pack. An ecstatic Hamelin lunged over the barriers to wrap his girlfriend and team mate Marianne St-Gelais in a hug — echoing an iconic moment of the Vancouver Games when the coupled shared a kiss following Hamelin’s 500 metres gold-medal triumph that has become a YouTube hit. The victory was Hamelin’s fourth Olympic medal and the first of a Games in which he looks competitive in another two individual distances as well as the 5,000m relay.

The Russian crowd reserved its biggest cheers for Ahn, who won four Olympic medals for South Korea at the 2006 Turin Games before switching allegiance to Russia. Ahn stayed back in the pack of flashing blades for the first few laps of the race but sneaked up to chase Han and Hamelin into the final stretch, winning his fifth Olympic medal and taking the home nation’s total to five. American J.R. Celski, who won two bronze medals in Vancouver despite almost missing the Games due to a cut leg that required 66 stitches, looked in contention for the medal mid-way through the 13 and a half laps but fell back to fourth.

In the notoriously unpredictable, high-velocity sport where crashes are frequent, world champion Sin Da-woon of South Korea failed to reach the A final after losing his balance and slamming into the barriers. Michel Mulder ‘lost’ then won the men’s 500 metres Olympic speed skating title by one hundredth of a second in a dramatic finale at the Adler Arena on Monday, with his twin brother Ronald taking bronze in another Dutch clean sweep of the medals. After clocking a combined 69.312 seconds for his two 500m races, Mulder sat on the edge of the ice and watched as compatriot Jan Smeekens crossed the line in the final heat and was placed on top of the leaderboard on the giant screen. Smeekens skated down the back straight celebrating the gold but the official timings showed the duo were level, before adjusting to reveal a 0.012 difference — in favour of Mulder.

“When he crossed the line I thought we were equal, I knew my total,” Mulder told reporters of the angst-ridden finish. “I saw ‘1’ against his name and I thought maybe they correctly pointed out who was fastest in thousands of a second and I thought I was second. “(Then) I looked at the board and saw his time was going one hundredth up. At first I didn’t believe it and wasn’t sure but then soon enough I saw my name on top of the list and knew it was a official result. Unbelievable. Great feeling.” The Dutch have won seven of the nine medals available at the Adler Arena so far and the Mulders became the first twins to medal in the same individual Winter Olympics event since Americans Phil and Steven Mahre achieved the feat in alpine skiing at the 1984 Sarajevo Games.

The gold was a record 30th for the Dutch in speed skating. They had been tied on 20 with the United States. While the 27-year-old Mulder ripped open his suit and screamed in delight at winning gold, Smeekens struggled to sum the pain of having it snatched from his grasp. “It was a kick in the gut,” said Smeekens, who said he thought he had won for about “two or three minutes”. “I was so ecstatic that I won, I can’t describe it.” Smeekens said he could not believe the margin of victory. “I have never seen it in my career and I don’t think we will see it again.” Smeekens topped the time sheets after the first run with a blistering 34.59 seconds to leave the Mulder twins and defending champion Mo Tae-bum of South Korea trailing.

In the second run, Ronald Mulder produced a best-of-the-day 34.49 seconds to jump from sixth into gold medal position with only six skaters left. Michel then bettered his twin brother’s times in the penultimate heat against a disappointing Mo, who finished fourth, before the final pairing drama. Smeekens, who finished sixth in Vancouver four years ago, said he had failed in a protest at the decision. “There was a photo finish and the judges said it was legitimate. “I have to believe them and I have to congratulate Michel and Roland as well. It’s special. I am proud of them, but the disappointment is overwhelming right now.

“It’s silver and I have to be happy with it. Maybe I will be that in a couple of hours, days, years, I don’t know. But now its really disappointing.” Roland finished 0.15 seconds behind his brother to complete the second speed skating clean sweep for the Dutch at the Sochi Games following the men’s 5,000 on Saturday. “If your twin brother becomes Olympic champion and you win bronze you have to be satisfied,” said Ronald.

Olympic Medals Table/Podium/Schedule

Medals Table
Country    Gold    Silver     Bronze     Total
Canada    3    3    1    7
Netherlands    3    2    2    7
Norway    2    1    4    7
United States    2    0    3    5
Germany    2    0    0    2
Russia    1    2    3    6
Austria    1    2    0    3
France    1    0    1    2
Poland    1    0    0    1
Slovakia    1    0    0    1
Switzerland    1    0    0    1
Czech Republic    0    2    1    3
Sweden    0    2    0    2
Italy    0    1    1    2
China    0    1    0    1
Finland    0    1    0    1
Slovenia    0    1    0    1
Great Britain    0    0    1    1
Ukraine    0    0    1    1
Podiums
Sochi Winter Olympics podiums on Monday.
Men
Short Track Speed Skating
1500m
Gold: Charles Hamelin (CAN)
Silver: Han Tianyu (CHN)
Bronze: Victor Ahn (RUS)
Biathlon
12.5km pursuit
Gold: Martin Fourcade (FRA)
Silver: Ondrej Moravec (CZE)
Bronze: Jean Guillaume Beatrix (FRA)
Speed Skating
500m
Gold: Michel Mulder (NED)
Silver: Johannes Smeekens (NED)
Bronze: Ronald Mulder (NED)
Freestyle Skiing
Moguls:
Gold: Alex Bilodeau (CAN)
Silver: MikaÎl Kingsbury (CAN)
Bronze: Alexandr Smyshlyaev (RUS
Women
Alpine Skiing
Super-combined
Gold: Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER)
Silver: Nicole Hosp (AUT)
Bronze: Julia Mancuso (USA)
Sochi Schedule
Tuesday (Eight Gold Medals)
08:00-11:00 — Curling W — 1st rd: SUI-DEN, SWE-CAN, RUS-USA, KOR-JPN (Ice Cube)
09:00-10:25 — Freestyle — Slopestyle W — Qualification (Extrem Park — Rosa Khutor)
12:00-13:05 — Freestyle — Slopestyle W — FINAL (Extreme Park — Rosa Khutor)
13:00-13:50 — Nordic Skiing — Sprint (freestyle) M+W — Qualification (Laura)
13:00-15:30 — Ice Hockey W — Preliminary round: GER-SWE (Shaiba Arena)
13:00-16:00 — Curling M 1st rd: CAN-SWE, USA-CHN, GBR-GER, NOR-RUS (Ice Cube)
13:00-16:05 — Snowboard — Half-pipe M — Qualification (Extreme Park — Rosa Khutor)
15:00-16:50 — Nordic Skiing — Sprint (freestyle) M+W — FINAL M + FINAL W (Site de Laura)
15:45-19:00 — Speed skating — 500 m W — (Adler Arena)
17:30-20:45 — Luge W — Rounds 3 and 4 — FINAL (Sanki sliding centre)
18:00-19:00 — Snowboard — Half-pipe M — 2nd rd (Extreme Park — Rosa Khutor)
18:00-19:20 — Biathlon — Pursuit W (10 km) — (Laura)
18:00-21:25 — Figure skating — Pairs — Short Programme (Iceberg)
18:00-20:30 — Ice Hockey W — Preliminary rd: RUS-JPN (Shaiba Arena)
18:00-21:00 — Curling W — 1st rds: GBR-USA, KOR-SUI, DEN-JPN, CHN-RUS (Ice Cube)
20:30-21:35 — Snowboard — Half-pipe M — FINAL (Extreme Park — Rosa Khutor)
*20:30-22:05 — Ski jumping W — Normal hill — FINAL (RusSki Gorki ski jump park)
Wednesday (Six Gold Medals)
08:00-11:00 — Curling M — 1st rd: DEN-USA, NOR-GER, CHN-SUI (Ice Cube)
10:00-12:10 — Alpine skiing — Downhill W — (Alpine site — Rosa Khutor)
11:00-13:30 — Ice Hockey W — Preliminary round: SUI-FIN (Shaiba Arena)
12:30-13:20 — Nordic combined — ski jump normal hill (RusSki Gorki)
13:00-16:00 — Curling W — 1st rd: JPN-RUS, USA-CHN, KOR-SWE, CAN-GBR (Ice Cube)
13:00-16:05 — Snowboard — Half-pipe W — Qualification (Extreme Park — Rosa Khutor)
15:30-16:15 — Nordic combined — 10 km cross country — (RusSki Gorki)
15:30-18:00 — Ice hockey W — Preliminary round: CAN-USA (Shaiba Arena)
17:00-18:40 — Speed skating — 1000m M — (Adler Arena)
17:15-19:35 — Luge — Pairs — FINAL (Sanki)
18:00-19:00 — Snowboard — Half-pipe W — 2nd rd (Extreme Park — Rosa Khutor)
18:00-21:00 — Curling M — 1st rd: GER-CHN, SUI-GBR, RUS-CAN, DEN-SWE (Ice Cube)
18:45-21:00 — Figure skating — Pairs — Free programme — (Iceberg)
20:00-22:30 — Ice hockey M — Preliminary rd: CZE-SWE (Bolshoi Ice Palace)
20:00-22:30 — Ice hockey M — Preliminary rd: LAT-SUI (Shaiba Arena)
20:30-21:35 — Snowboard — Half-pipe W — FINAL (Extreme Park — Rosa Khutor)
 

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