Korea fail to reach final of inaugural short track mixed team relay
Korea crashed out of the quarterfinals of the inaugural short track speed skating mixed team relay on Saturday.
The mixed team relay is a new addition to Olympic short track speed skating. It is a 2,000-meter race, with four skaters, two male and two female, skating a total of 18 laps, each athlete racing twice. Choi Min-jeong, Lee Yu-bin, Park Jang-hyuk and Hwang Dae-heon represented Korea at the event.
Missing out on the podium on Saturday is a big disappointment for Korea, as they entered the competition as one of the strongest contenders after setting the world record last October at the mixed team 2000-meter relay at the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup on the same ice in Beijing.
Korea was placed in the first group of the quarterfinals alongside China, Italy and Poland.
Choi starting out the race in third position then briefly fell back to last in the second lap. Korea found their way back into third position and were close behind second-place Italy as the race neared its end when, with just three laps remaining, Park tripped on a turn and fell out of the pack.
Hwang quickly finished Korea’s last three laps, but the damage was already done and Korea finished with a time of 2:48.308, 10 seconds behind Italy to take third, failing to advance to the semifinals. A fall also disrupted Poland's race earlier in the event, seemingly on the same turn where Park fell.
China took the first-ever mixed team short track relay gold medal in the finals later on Saturday, with Italy taking silver and Hungary taking bronze.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]