Short track-Canada's man of steel Hamelin made for Olympics

Tue Feb 4, 2014 8:14am EST
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By Alissa de Carbonnel

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Canadian short track star Charles Hamelin endured 11 hours of pain for a back tattoo that embodies his mindset going into the 2014 Sochi Games. It shows his skin shredded to reveal a body made of steel, stamped with the five Olympic rings.

"It is as if I have been made for the Olympics, racing there and winning medals," he told Reuters on Tuesday at the short track training venue in Sochi.

Hamelin, who said his tattoo was inspired by a childhood love of comic-book superheroes, won an Olympic silver medal in the 5,000 meters relay in Torino.

Four years later in Vancouver he improved the 5,000 relay medal to a gold, and also won the 500m individual title.

Going into the February 7-23 Games, he has accumulated eight world titles and is ranked in the world's top three in the 500, 1,000 and 1,500m.

Hamelin, 29, was introduced to speed skating by his younger brother Francois, who took up the sport aged five when their mother pushed her three boys to find an outlet for their energy.

"I randomly picked speed skating," said Francois, who is two years younger.

Since then short track has become a family affair. A third brother, Mathieu, also skated and their father became their coach.   Continued...

Short track speed skater Charles Hamelin of Canada practises in preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson