Korea Earns Bronze in Speed Skating Short Track

D-Bo, Feb. 14, 2014, 1:26 p.m.

South Korea has earned their second medal of the Sochi Olympics 2014!  Speed skater Park Seung Hi fell twice, but it was enough to win the bronze in the women’s 500 meter short track.  Park took a lead to start the race, but lost her balance and fell when Britain’s Elise Christie wiped out Arianna Fontana of Italy while fighting for position behind her. She got back up and finished the race last. But Christie was disqualified for initiating the contact, which gave Park the bronze medal. China’s Jianrou Li finished first.

This is the second time Park has suffered a mishap with an Olympic medal on the line. At the 2010 Games in Vancouver, she was part of the South Korean women’s team that finished first in the 3,000 meters relay, only to be disqualified after the race for due to what was ruled an illegal contact against a Chinese skater.

“This bronze medal is very valuable to me,” Park told the Dong-A Ilbo. “I cried after the relay four years ago, but I’m happy today. I didn’t think I would win a medal in 500 meters. I’m proud that I showed our younger skaters that Korea has a chance in short distance races.”

Although South Korea has collected more medals in short track than any other nation, it has never won a gold medal in the 500 meter distance at the Winter Olympics. Park’s bronze is South Korea’s first medal in women’s 500 meters since Chun Lee-kyung won bronze at the 1998 Nagano Games.

Park injured her knee as she fell during the race and will to be out of the women’s 1,500 meters race, which is traditionally South Korea’s strongest event.

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