Cha Min-kyu surprises with silver in 500 meters

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Cha Min-kyu surprises with silver in 500 meters


Speed skater Cha Min-kyu celebrates after finishing his 500-meter race at Gangneung Oval in Gangwon on Monday. [YONHAP]

Despite tying the Olympic record, Korean speed skater Cha Min-kyu took home silver in the men’s 500-meter race, as his time of 34.42 seconds was just 0.01 of a second shy of gold, at Gangneung Oval in Gangwon on Monday.

Racing in the 14th pair along with Gilmore Junio of Canada, Cha had a later start, reaching the 100-meter point in 9.63 seconds. Then, Cha sped up, completing the next 400 meters in only 24.79 seconds to tie the Olympic record set by Casey FitzRandolph of the United States at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Despite a beyond impressive Olympic debut, Cha’s lead didn’t last long, as Norway’s Havard Lorentzen in the 16th pair beat Cha’s time, and set a new Olympic record, by 0.01 second. Lorentzen was the top-ranked skater in men’s 500 meters this season.

Cha’s silver is an impressive feat, as he entered the race ranked 17th in the world. This season, Cha’s best finish was second during the ISU World Cup in Calgary, Alberta. This is Korea’s first medal in 500 meters since Mo Tae-bum at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

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