Mo proves his mettle with silver

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Mo proves his mettle with silver

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Mo Tae-bum flashes a victory sign during a flower ceremony following a silver medal-winning performance in the 1,000-meter event at the Richmond Olympic Oval yesterday. [YONHAP]

The young athlete competing in his first Winter Games proved his gold medal in the 500-meter event was no fluke yesterday, even as a five-time Olympian faded into the night having again failed to win his first medal.

Mo Tae-bum won the silver in the 1,000-meter event at the Richmond Olympic Oval, bringing his Vancouver medal total to two. Mo is now the first Korean speed skater to medal twice at the Olympics.

“My record has improved since last year. It wasn’t a perfect race but I’m satisfied with the results,” Mo said after the event. “Since Shani Davis is dominant in this event, I didn’t have high expectations coming into the race. But in all honesty, I did hope Shani would make a minor mistake or finish a little slower than his usual time.”

Mo finished with a time of 69.12 seconds, 0.18 second behind the American world-record holder, Davis. American Chad Hedrick won the bronze medal.

Mo started off well, passing the 200-meter mark in 16.39 seconds, and showed off solid cornering skills to finish with the best time of the day before Davis took to the rink. However, Davis, whose time in the first 600 meters trailed Mo’s, finished strong, besting Mo’s time by less than two-tenths of a second.

For Davis, who became the first black male athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Games by placing first in the 1,000-meter event four years ago, the win meant back-to-back golds in the event.

Veteran Lee Kyou-hyuk completed his fifth and perhaps his final Olympics with a disappointing ninth overall finish, failing to earn the medal that has eluded him since the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games.

While is Lee has skated his last in these Games, Mo will compete in two more events: the 1,500-meter race and the team pursuit event. Stating he will have to get plenty of rest prior to his next event on Sunday, Mo is preparing for the race by trying to relax and not place too much pressure on himself.

“To be honest, I’ve been having trouble sleeping since I won the gold medal. The winning race keeps playing in my mind,” said Mo.

“I will approach the event with the mind-set that I’m preparing for the team pursuit event. It would be great if I can win a bronze medal in the 1,500-meter event to close off the Olympics with a gold, a silver and a bronze.

“If that happens, I think I would get on my knees and cry.”

With the attention of the entire nation focused on Mo and Lee Sang-hwa, who won the gold in the women’s 500-meter event, the good friends and juniors at the Korea National Sport University have been romantically linked by some. Mo shot down the rumors.

“Definitely not. Sang-hwa is too good for me. She doesn’t like to hear that type of talk,” Mo demurred.

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By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article


모태범(21)이 2010 밴쿠버 동계올림픽에서 은메달을 추가했다.

모태범은 17일(한국시간) 오전 캐나다 리치먼드 올림픽 오벌에서 열린 2010 밴쿠버 동계올림픽 스피드스케이팅 남자부 1000m에서 1분9초13의 기록으로 통과해 샤니 데이비스(1분8초94)에 이은 은메달을 차지했다.

지난 15일 모태범의 500m 금메달이 우연이 아니라는 증거였다. 지난해 하얼빈 동계유니버시아드 대회에서 1000m 및 1500m에서 금메달을 따냈던 저력은 1000m에서 여지없이 드러났다.

폭발적인 스타트로 200m를 16초39에 끊은 모태범은 침착한 스케이팅으로 한 바퀴를 41초76으로 돌면서 기대를 모았다. 결국 모태범은 41초76의 기록으로 골인하면서 1위로 올라섰다.

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