Olympic Oval hosts speedsters
Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track kicks off
When short track speedskating made it’s Olympic debut as a demonstration sport, it was at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics 25 years ago.
On the weekend of Oct. 19-21, short track speedskating returned to Calgary for the Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track #1, thus beginning the 2012-2013 skating season.
Over 200 participants representing over 29 countries were in competition.
Unlike long track speed skating, where heats consist of only two competitors, short track sees four or five skaters race distances of 500m, 1000m, or 1500m. Relay teams have four members, and race 3000m (women) or 5000m (men).
In the Samsung ISU World Cup, points are awarded to racers based on finishing position over the course of six events throughout the season.
The Canadian team tied with China with six medals each, placing second to the Korean team, who took home an impressive 10 medals. The United States and Russia each earned three medals. Great Britain, Japan, and Italy each earned one.
Meng Wang of China won the ladies 500m race over teammate Quihong Liu, who finished second, and Italian Arianna Fontana skated in for third.
The United States’ J.R. Celski won the men’s 500m, being the first to skate the 500m in under 40 seconds. Canadian Charles Hamelin placed second ahead of American John-Henry Krueger.
Korean Soyoun Lee out-skated Great Britain’s Elise Christie to win the first ladies 1000m race. In the second 1000m race, Suk Hee Shim of Korea beat Canadian Marie-Eve Drolet (second) and Min-Jung Kim of Korea (third).
In the men’s competition, Olivier Jean came second to Russia’s Vladimir Grigorev in the first 1000m final, and Russian Victor An beat Michael Gilday of Canada in the second.
Korean skaters dominated the ladies and men’s 1500m events. Finishing first for the women was Suk Hee Shim, followed by teammate Ha-Ri Cho. China’s Jianrou Li placed third.
In the men’s heat, Korea finished with another one-two placing of Jinkyu No over teammate Yoon-Gy Kwak. Charles Hamelin of Canada took the bronze.
In the ladies 3000m relay, Korea came out ahead of China, who beat Japan. In the men’s 5000m, Korea outpaced Russia, with Canada following in third.
Canada is currently fourth overall in the World Cup standings with 512 points. Korea is first with 1000 points, followed by China and Japan with 800 points and 640 points, respectively. The next stop for the Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track is on Oct. 26-28 in Montreal, Quebec.