Although François Hamelin’s alarm is supposed to ring at 8:30, he rarely wakes up after 7. After putting on his wool socks – the athlete likes to be comfortable – François prepares coffee, a drug he fully assumes to be addicted to. Until 8:30, he watches the news and visits his favorite web sites; his morning routine allows him to respond to emails and organize his schedule.
François eats the same breakfast everyday: peanut butter and banana toasts submerged with yogurt. The picture may seem strange, but the athlete guarantees that it is delicious, so much, he makes sure to pack bread and peanut butter into his luggage when he travels to competitions.
Just a few houses away, it’s Charles’ turn to open his eyes for the first time of the day. For this big sleeper, 12 hour sleep nights are not uncommon and the alarm clock is an essential device without which he could miss out morning practice. When he jumps out of bed, Charles looks at the results of his hockey pool, a true religion for him, he then takes 15 minutes to navigate on the internet. Coffee, cereals, yogurt and fruits are always part of his morning habits.
It’s time to go to the arena and the car is not needed, since it’s just 5 minutes away. As they are almost neighbors, the brothers regularly meet on the way. Arrived at work, the Hamelin have their ritual. First, they both sharpen their blades – each skater has its own gear and has the responsibility to achieve this essential chore every day. – Then, they get on the stationary bike for a 10 minutes warm up, after which they will stretch; Charles particularly likes this part because he gets to observe Marianne while she’s on the ice. – In short track speed skating, women and men’s team have different training schedules – Meanwhile, François finishes his preparation with some technical movements. Finally, it is 10:20 am, the women have completed their work on ice and it is now the men’s turn.
The nature of training varies from week to week depending on the goal each one wants to reach. Last Monday, a personalized training cycle has begun. The plan differs from one skater to another, depending on the races each one will compete in at the Olympic Games. This morning: 4 x 13 laps. In each sequences, the athletes must give everything they have, the goal is to reach the maximum effort, on four occasions. A relaxing morning ? Not so much ! But better get used to it because the upcoming weeks will be extremely demanding, and for Charles and François, taking time off for the Holiday Season is not an option. A day off on December 25th and another one on January 1st – that is all they will have. They are entering a crucial stage of preparation and it is an essential way to the faithful moment in Russia. And even if not celebrating the holidays seems cruel, the brothers are convinced that this hard work will pay off at the Olympics.
After leaving the ice, the skaters get back on the stationary bikes to recover from the efforts they made during training. They will remain there fifteen minutes and will enjoy a granola bar at the same time.
Charles and François return to their respective homes as they have three hours of free time until their next training. When Charles arrives home, Marianne is waiting for him so they can eat lunch together. Soup and sandwiches are on the menu today. In the afternoon, while his girlfriend is napping, Charles relaxes by playing Play station because despite his age, the champion is still a child at heart! For François, these three precious hours will allow him to run errands or attend appointments. Depending on his level of fatigue, he takes time to relax of even take a nap.
Rest is over, the brothers are walking towards the arena again to achieve their second training session. Charles bites into an energy bar along the way to avoid running out of power in the afternoon. The training will be very similar to what was done in the morning but this time, the laps will be fractioned in order to increase the execution speed. So, the skaters will be doing four times: 6 laps, 1 minute rest, 4 laps, 1 minute rest and finally 3 laps. That’s not all, once the series are completed, the Hamelin will trade their skates for running shoes and will head to the gym for an hour of weight training, nothing less.
Back at home, the two brothers are both in the same state, they only think about one thing: EAT! After a busy day of physical efforts, it is quite easy to understand. For both of them, the menu consists of red meat and vegetables, lots of vegetables! They usually alternate the type of protein they eat every day: fish, pork, chicken and seafood are therefore also part of the diet of these two Olympians. When cooking dinner, François has his ritual, he watches “V channel” which allows him to relax. He tries to prepare the dinner before his girlfriend gets home from work and ensures that the meal is ready when she arrives. – Enough to make all the girls jealous! – At Charles and Marianne’s place, dinner takes place at 7 pm but here, they share the task of preparing the meal. After her appearance on a cooking TV show a few weeks ago, there is no doubt that Marianne is a whiz in the kitchen.
At both of the Hamelin places, the rest of the evening is usually spent reading, watching TV, or doing any other relaxing activity. Finally, at 10 pm, silence takes over and everybody falls asleep. Tomorrow, they’ll start all over again towards one same goal !