Lee Seung-hoon earns chance to defend mass start gold in Beijing
The 2021 ISU Speed Skating World Cup finished at the Calgary Oval in Calgary, Canada on Sunday with Chung Jae-won and PyeongChang Olympics gold medalist Lee Seung-hoon earning their men's mass start berths for the upcoming 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Chung took sixth place in the men’s mass start with a time of 7:46.68 and Lee took 11th place with a time of 7:46.90. Chung added 76 World Cup points to a total of 376 points to rank fourth in the World Cup rankings, while Lee added 60 points to rank fifth with 266 points.
As men’s mass start berths are given to the top 24 athletes from the four World Cups who finish with a time of 1:57.50 or less in the men’s 1500-meter race, Chung and Lee will compete at the men’s mass start at the Beijing Olympics.
The mass start made its Olympic debut at the PyeongChang Winter Games. Unlike other speed skating events, where four to six skaters race simultaneously against the clock, mass start begins with as many as 24 skaters facing off against one another at the same time in a mad dash to complete 16 laps the fastest.
There are four intermediate sprints, including one at the end. The top three finishers in these sprints get points, as do the top three skaters at the finish line. The points are added up and the top three skaters reach the podium.
At the 2022 Beijing Olympics, 14 speed skating events will be staged from Feb. 5 to Feb. 19 with seven Olympic gold medals across the men’s and women’s events. Medal competitions include the 500-meter sprint, 1000-meter, 1500-meter, 3000-meter, 5000-meter, 10,000-meter and mass start events.
In 2018, Korea won one gold, four silver and two bronze medals, with Lee winning Korea’s sole gold medal in the men’s mass start.
Alongside Chung and Lee, Kim Min-sun finished seventh in the women’s 500-meter final with a personal best 37.205 on Saturday. Kim Jun-ho finished 10th in the men’s 500-meter final with a personal best 34.210 and Lee finished 14th in the men’s 5000-meter final with time of 6:20.336 on the same day.
Kim Min-sun also finished eighth in the second women’s 500-meter final with a personal best 37.205 on Sunday. Kim Jun-ho finished sixth in the second 500-meter final and Cha Min-kyu finished 11th. Cha finished seventh in the 1000-meter men’s final.
Now that the four World Cup events are finished, the ISU will count World Cup points to pick the top 24 athletes in each event that will be competing at the Beijing Games.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]