Choi Min-jeong takes silver in women's 1,000 meters
Choi Min-jeong won Korea's first silver medal at the 2022 Beijing Games, finishing second in the women's 1,000-meter short track final on Friday.
Choi crossed the finish line with a time of 1:28.443, 0.052 seconds behind gold medalist Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands.
In the final, Choi raced alongside Schulting, Kristin Santos of the United States, Arianna Fontana of Italy and Hanne Desmet of Belgium.
Choi started out the race in fourth place and, after being briefly pushed back to fifth, spent most of the race waiting for an opportunity to get past the other skaters. Choi is known for her last-minute comebacks, and once again, that was what she was able to pull off. Pushing into the outer lane, Choi was able to force her way through the pack over the last two laps to finish a split second behind the leader.
Desmet finished third, 0.48 seconds behind Choi, winning Belgium’s first-ever Olympic short track medal. Fontana was penalized for a collision with Santos that took both athletes out of the race.
Choi is the world No. 3 in the women’s 1,000-meter and one of the top short track skaters in the world. Despite missing out on the gold medal, Choi put on an impressive performance to take silver with a historic comeback.
This silver medal also comes as something of a consolation prize for Choi, as this is her first medal in the women’s 1,000 meters. At the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, Choi finished fourth after falling while turning on the final corner of the final after colliding with countrywoman Shim Suk-hee, who was disqualified for the crash.
“I don’t know why I am tearing up so much right now,” Choi said after the podium ceremony. “I think it’s because I had such a hard time preparing for the Olympics.
“But I still have two more races left, and I want to put on an even better race in the 1,500 meters and the team relay.”
En route to the finals, Choi finished second in the quarterfinal, then third in the semifinal. Countrywoman Lee Yu-bin had also reached the semifinal but took third place. With the two best athletes in each semifinal and the fastest third-placed athlete qualifying for the finals, Choi’s semifinal time of 1:26.850 put her ahead of Lee’s time of 1:28.170.
Lee competed in the final B race, finishing second with a time of 1:29.739. Lee started out the race in third place, but with three laps left to go she took second and kept that position until the very end.
A new world record was set in the quarterfinal race on Friday with gold medalist Schulting finishing with a record of 1:26.514, beating Shim’s record of 1:26.661 that had stood since October, 2012.
Short track events continue Sunday with the men’s 500-meter and women’s 3000-meter medal events.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]