Francois Hamelin last saw his skates on a plane and the Canadian Olympic speedskater is anxious to get them back.
Hamelin, a gold medallist in the short-track relay at the 2010 Winter Games, left behind a black and grey Oakley-brand carry-on in the overhead compartment of Air Canada flight ACO88 from Shanghai to Toronto on Monday.
In the bag were his bladeless, custom-made skate boots, moulded perfectly to his feet after wearing them for five seasons.
“I’m kind of freaking out and I don’t understand why they can’t seem to find it,” Hamelin, 28, said Tuesday.
Hamelin slept on the flight, waking up as it landed. He only grabbed one of his two bags as he left the plane. Security guards wouldn’t let him return to the aircraft once he realized his mistake.
“I asked if they could get it for me but they just didn’t care,” he said. “They didn’t understand how important they are to me. I was really mad.”
He’s since called Pearson Airport and Air Canada but neither has provided him with any news about his bag.
He’s had some luck reaching the airline on Twitter after posting a photo of the bag. The airline replied to the post, saying its baggage team is working to reunite him with his luggage as soon as possible.
Hamelin doesn’t understand why the bag is so difficult to locate. He said he was at the very back of the plane, so it is unlikely another passenger took the carry-on. He believes it is still at the airport.
The skate boots are hand-made in the United States and will take time to replace. It’s not like losing a wallet, Hamelin said.
“I can make a new pair but they never will be the same.”
It’s been an eventful week for the speed skater.
He was returning from an eventful visit to Asia that included his first win in an individual race in the 500 metres in Nagoya, Japan, and a terrible crash that left him with two cracked teeth and a concussion in the 1,500 metres on Saturday in Shanghai.
He said he is feeling much better after the crash, although he is going through concussion protocol. He will also need work on the two back teeth on his upper left side.
Hamelin, 28, is the younger brother of Olympic triple gold medallist Charles Hamelin.
– With files from the Canadian Press