Charles Hamelin

Canada nominates its first athletes for 2014 Olympic team

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Canada’s only multiple gold medalist from the 2010 Olympics was among the first athletes to be nominated to its 2014 Olympic team Thursday.

Charles Hamelin led a group of 10 short track speedskaters announced. Canada recently finished its team trials, where Hamelin won eight of eight races before withdrawing with an injury after colliding with Francois-Louis Tremblay on Aug. 18.

Hamelin was reportedly on crutches but said he expected to be skating within a week.

Hamelin won gold in the 500 meters and as part of Canada’s 5,000-meter relay at the 2010 Olympics. His 2014 teammates will be Olivier Jean, younger brother Francois Hamelin, Michael Gilday and Charle Cournoyer, should Canada qualify a full quota as expected for Sochi.

The Hamelins’ father, Yves, is Canada’s short track program director.

Both Hamelins and Jean were medalists on the 2010 Olympic team. Jean is notable because he was the man whose skate was tampered with by American Simon Cho at the 2011 World Team Championships. Cho was recently suspended through the 2014 Olympics.

Charles Hamelin is a favorite to repeat his 500-meter gold given he won the 2012-13 World Cup season title in the event, the best barometer for Olympic medal prospects.

The Canadian women’s team will include Charles Hamelin’s girlfriend, Marianne St-Gelais, and Jessica Gregg, Marie-Eve Drolet, Valerie Maltais and Jessica Hewitt. St-Gelais won two silver medals in Vancouver and is a Sochi medal threat in the 500.

The medal predictor service Infostrada tapped Canada for six medals in short track speedskating. It won five in 2010, the most decorated sport for the host nation that led the gold-medal count.

Canada will look to challenge the traditional short track powers in Sochi — South Korea and China — as well as Russia, which is led by Viktor Ahn, who won four medals at the 2006 Olympics for South Korea.

Canada is again expected to be at or near the top of the medal standings in Sochi. The U.S., Germany and Norway will be its primary competition.

The short track speedskating competition at the 2014 Olympics starts Feb. 10, three days after the opening ceremony.

U.S. short track Olympic team outlook

David Ortiz weighed down by Aly Raisman’s medals (video)

David Ortiz, Aly Raisman
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David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.

“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”

Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.

It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.

Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.

She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.

“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”

Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.

MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics

 

Claressa Shields congratulated by famous boxing actor (video)

Claressa Shields
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Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.

Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.

He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.

“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”

Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.

“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.

“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”

MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds