Lee wins second gold in short track

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Lee wins second gold in short track


Korea’s Lee Jung-su, second from left, and Lee Ho-suk, far left, react after winning the gold and silver medals for the men’s 1,000-meter short-track skating competition at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Canada, Feb. 21. [AP]

Even in a sport known for its action-packed races and exciting finishes, Korea’s men’s and women’s teams chalked up a stunning victory yesterday, blazing around the oval rink of the Pacific Coliseum to earn four of a total six available Olympic medals in the short-track speed skating events.

For Korea, it was the most impressive day of an already astonishing Winter Games.

With six skaters competing on the day, four stood on the winners’ podium to collect one gold, two silver and one bronze honor.

In the men’s 1,000-meter competition, Lee Jung-su won his second gold medal of the Games by crossing the finish line with a new Olympic record of 1 minute 23.747 seconds. Since the event was introduced at the 1992 Albertville Winter Games, Korean men have won the 1,000-meter event five of six times, with the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games being the only exception.

“Before these Games, people predicted I would get three gold medals. I’m very happy to get two, and I have one more to go,” Lee said in a post-race interview.

And Lee Ho-suk redeemed himself for the accident that wiped out him and Sung Si-bak in the 1,500-meter finals last weekend. His silver medal was a repeat performance of four years ago, when he finished second behind teammate Ahn Hyun-soo.

American skater Apolo Anton Ohno won the bronze medal, earning the seventh medal of his career and becoming the most decorated American athlete in Winter Olympic history. Meanwhile, Canadian brothers Charles and Francois Hamelin finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

The third Korean skater, Sung Si-bak, failed to survive the semifinals, coming in third behind Ohno and Francois Hamelin. Sung finished a mere 0.006 second behind the Canadian skater.

In the female 1,500-meter event, the battle for first place came down to three Asian teenagers. Lee Eun-byul, 18, finished second with Park Seung-hi, 17, in third to give Korea’s women’s short-track team its first medals. China’s Zhou Yang, 18, proved to be too much for the Korean skaters.

Zhou crossed the finish line nearly a full second ahead of Lee, setting a new Olympic record of 2 minutes 16.993 seconds in the process. Lee finished with the time of 2 minutes 17.849 seconds while Park clocked in at 2 minutes 17.927 seconds.

By Jason Kim
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