Short-track speedskating at the 2014 Winter Olympics has come to a close. It ended with a bang on the women’s side, as the finals for the 1,000-meter was one of the most thrilling events of the Sochi Games.
Willie Cornblatt of NBC Olympics tweeted out the winner:
Park Seung-Hi wins gold in the 1000m, Smith finishes fourth— Willie Cornblatt (@WillieCornblatt) February 21, 2014
It took three heats to narrow the field down to six skaters to bring us to an epic medal round, which was ultimately dominated by South Korea.
Seung-Hi Park ended up earning gold for the country, lighting up the ice with her speed and quickness. Her time of 1 minute, 30.761 seconds was .050 seconds faster than the next closest competitor.
That time belonged to silver medalist Kexin Fan of China, who tried her best to top the podium but fell just short.
Bronze went to South Korea’s Suk Hee Shim after her strong surge at the 1,000-meter distance. She completed the course in 1:29.356.
Let’s take a look at how each competitor fared in the medal rounds of this short-track speedskating event, plus recap the top performances and take a look at what is next for these incredible athletes.
|3||KOR||Suk Hee SHIM||1:31.027|
|5||NED||Jorien TER MORS||1:36.835|
Park was simply the fastest woman in Sochi at the 1,000-meter distance on Friday. The 2010 bronze medalist improved her standing from the Vancouver Games, blitzing through the semis and finals with the top score. She conserved energy in the initial heats, coming in fifth in the qualifier and second in the quarterfinals.
Fan came out of seemingly nowhere to come through when it counted. She snuck into the medal round with the fifth-best time of 1:32.618
Jessica Smith, America’s best hope for a medal, failed to earn a place on the podium in this event. She recovered from a mediocre start to her semifinal run to improbably advance to the medal round.
Cornblatt tweeted about the miraculous semifinal finish:
The 30-year-old, who has 12 World Cup medals under her belt—two gold, five silver and five bronze—since switching to short-track in 2008, was not selected to compete for the United States in Vancouver four years ago.
When USSpeedskating.org asked what the biggest challenge of her career was, Smith answered: “Just missing out on the 2010 Olympic team. I hadn’t been on the ice very long but it was hard to be one spot away from making it.”
Fourth place is definitely a major step up from not being selected to the Olympics, but she has to be disappointed after finishing .274 seconds away from the podium.
This event marks the end of short-track speedskating for the ladies at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Only the men’s 5000-meter relay is left, which will take place at 1:18 p.m. ET on Friday.
South Korea, China and Russia are currently tied for the lead with the most golds in the discipline, taking home two each throughout the seven medal events that have been run thus far. China and South Korea are also tied for most overall medals, with five each during the Winter Olympics.
It’ll be interesting to see how the men’s relay shakes out, which will conclude this discipline’s run in Sochi.
Many of these short-track speedskaters will soon start training and preparing for the World Cup tournament, which begins this coming September and ends in November.
Keep an eye on some of the younger participants, such as 21-year-old gold medalist Park, when the Winter Olympics kick off in South Korea in 2018.