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