Charles Hamelin won Canada’s first overall title at a world short track speed skating championships in 20 years, bagging the biggest missing prize from his extensive collection this past weekend.
The 33-year-old and four-time Olympian won the 1000m and 1500m at worlds in Montreal en route to the overall crown tallying results from those two events, a 500m and a 3000m.
Hamelin came into the meet as the only male skater in history to win individual gold medals at multiple Olympics yet never claim an overall world title. From 2007 through 2016, Hamelin finished second in the overall three times and third another three times at the annual worlds.
“I was missing two medals [before this year]: Olympic champion in the 1000m and first in overall standings at a world championship,” Hamelin said, according to the International Skating Union. “To win it here in Montreal in front of my family and friends, I’m at a loss for words.”
Hamelin was originally going to retire after worlds but decided in the last month — after failing to finish in the top five in any individual race for the first time at an Olympics and announcing a split with fiancée and triple Olympic medalist Marianne St-Gelais — that he would continue at least through the 2018-19 season.
He won the overall at worlds with 81 points, nearly double the points of silver medalist Liu Shaolin Sándor, who was part of Hungary’s Olympic 5000m relay champion team. South Korean Hwang Dae-Heon took overall bronze with 44 points, one point behind Liu.
The last Canadian to win the world overall title was Marc Gagnon in 1998, the last of his four crowns.
On the women’s side, South Korean Choi Min-Jeong won her third world overall title in four years by claiming 500m, 1500m and 3000m wins. Olympic teammate Shim Suk-Hee was second, followed by Chinese Li Jinyu. South Korean won every female gold medal.
The U.S. went medal-less at a fourth straight worlds and didn’t advance any skaters past the semifinals. Its roster included individual Olympic medalists John-Henry Krueger and J.R. Celski and recently crowned world junior 500m champion Maame Biney.
Viktor Ahn, the six-time Olympic champion left off the list of Russians invited to PyeongChang by the International Olympic Committee, failed to advance past any individual semifinals.
Italian Arianna Fontana, the most decorated short track skater in PyeongChang with a medal of every color, competed only in the relay in Montreal due to emotional exhaustion, according to her social media.
Brit Elise Christie, the 2017 World overall champion, missed the championships altogether after suffering ankle ligament damage in a crash at the Olympics.
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