Two legends of their sport, one on the ice and the other on the track, met in the paddock of the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit on Saturday afternoon. Ex-short track speed skater Charles Hamelin and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Posted at 4:11 p.m
At the Beijing Olympics last February, Hamelin wore a helmet that pays tribute to the pilot, one of his great idols. Hamilton posted a photo of Hamelin on his social media congratulating him on his gold medal. The skater met his idol on Saturday afternoon before qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.
The man, nicknamed Locomotive de Sainte-Julie, still had his eyes beaming as he told us about his one-on-one with the seven-time Formula 1 world champion.
“It was really amazing,” he said. I did not know [que ça arriverait], it was a surprise for me. I had already prepared myself in case I ran into him; I had my helmet, which I had made in his honor. We arrived in front of the Mercedes tent and I said to myself: maybe it will be like this. […] [Un moment donné], he walked in and it was a shock. »
I was close to tears. I was just very happy. I was speechless, I had trouble speaking.
As he had hoped, Hamelin handed his helmet over to Hamilton after signing it at the driver’s request. Then they talked about education, career, french bulldogs… “We talked about a lot of things as if he were a friend I haven’t seen in a long time! ‘ he started.
Charles Hamelin has been a long-time Formula 1 fan. Finally, there’s a pretty obvious parallel to speed skating.
“For a short track guy there are a lot of things to learn from Formula 1,” he said. That’s what I did. I pretty much watched every race except when I was on a plane. »
“I really paid attention to how they follow each other, how they behave when they want to pass or block,” he explained. It’s really interesting to see how they’re doing at the speed they’re going. After that, it’s up to me to recreate it in the race, on the ice, with my skates. I sometimes filmed overtaking maneuvers with my father and my coaches and said: We can try that again or find something like that for the future. »
Hameln said goodbye to speed skating a few months ago after 19 years on the national team and six Olympic medals, including four gold medals. But the 38-year-old ex-athlete has not yet had time to take a deep breath. He is currently working on his biography, which will be published in October. And he’s getting married next week. Then the honeymoon in South Africa is coming up.
“I thought I would have more time to myself now that I don’t have to skate or train, but no! I have no more! ‘ he started laughing.
“It’s really fun. It doesn’t stop! The time we have, we try to spend with Violette at home with the family. »