Canadian couple crashes, Russia's Ahn powers on

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:33am EST
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By Pritha Sarkar

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Canadian short-track couple Charles Hamelin and Marianne St Gelais endured a miserable run in their individual events at the Sochi Olympics on Tuesday with both wiping out on a chaotic day of racing.

Three-times Olympic champion Hamelin was left thumping the ice in anger after crashing out leading his 500m heat, and St Gelais will go home without an individual medal after losing her balance and crashing out of the 1,000m.

"After the race I felt like I wanted to destroy everything ... I cried after the race," a distraught Hamelin said after losing his chance to win back-to-back Olympic golds over the distance.

"Short track can be a rude sport. It doesn't take much to make a person fall," added Hamelin, whose chances of setting up a showdown with Russian star Viktor Ahn vanished when he somehow lost his footing on the final lap of his heat despite being ahead of the chasing pack.

St Gelais also lost her footing and took out Jorien ter Mors after colliding with her rival on lap two of the 1,000m.

But the Dutchwoman, who won the 1,500m speed skating gold at the neighboring Adler Arena, was advanced into the quarters despite finishing a lap behind the winner after the referee ruled St Gelais had blocked her path.

Slamming into the barriers is an all too familiar feeling for Elise Christie, who was disqualified in two earlier races, but on Tuesday the Briton stayed clear of trouble and surged into the 1,000m quarter-finals.

"I spent a long few days feeling quite down and struggling psychologically," said Christie, adding she had been abused on social media for her Sochi failure.   Continued...

Canada's Charles Hamelin reacts after crashing out in the men's 500 metres short track heat event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk