Since 2015, Choi Min Jeong (KOR) has been the undisputed queen of Short Track, winning World Championship gold medals each year, almost for fun. So after an indifferent start to the season, Saturday’s crowds at Utah’s Olympic Oval were thrilled to see the Korean skater return to winning ways with gold in the Ladies’ 1500m at the ISU Short Track World Cup in Salt Lake City. Choi’s compatriot Kim Ji Yoo, and Li Xuan (CHN), claimed silver and bronze respectively.
It's high 5s all round as Choi Min Jeong and Kim Ji Yoo pull off a Korean 1-2 in the Women's 1500m pic.twitter.com/v8CCiKzijq— ISU Speed Skating (@ISU_Speed) November 10, 2018
There were fewer surprises in the Ladies’ 500m final, as Natalia Maliszewska (POL) backed up her debut World Cup victory in Calgary with a second gold medal. Maliszewska’s explosive speed over the shorter distance was just too much in the final couple of laps for the versatile Schulting, who added a silver medal to go with Saturday’s 1000m (1) gold. Maliszewska’s victory also means she now tops the World Cup standings over 500m, with 25,120 points, ahead of Fan Kexin (CHN) with 16, 078 points.
Natalia Maliszewska (POL) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Salt Lake City (USA) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
After winning two individual bronze medals on her World Cup debut in Calgary last week, Charles claimed her first gold with a stunning finish in Sunday’s Ladies’ 1000m (2) final at the ISU World Cup Short Track in Salt Lake City, USA. Charles’ win has also catapulted her into third place in the overall World Cup standings for 1000m with 15,120 points, although Suzanne Schulting (NED) is still comfortably leading with 20,000 points.
Holland's Suzanne Schulting carries her form into Salt Lake City, and qualifies for the 1000m Final with ease... pic.twitter.com/p7reFaE1SF— ISU Speed Skating (@ISU_Speed) November 10, 2018
The Republic of Korea won the Ladies’ 3000m Relay, with Russia taking silver and Japan bronze. Rep. Korea are now joint-top with Russia in the event’s World Cup classification, each with 18,000 points.
Meanwhile in the Men’s 1500m, Sjinkie Knegt (NED) returned to form after a disappointing showing in Calgary last week. Knegt comfortably claimed gold ahead of Lee June Seo (KOR) and Steven Dubois (CAN), pumping the air in delight after crossing the line.
Sjinkie Knegt (NED)at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Salt Lake City (USA) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Another week, another blistering 500m from Wu Dajing (CHN) who grabbed the headlines by smashing his own world record to claim gold on the final day of action at the ISU World Cup Short Track in Salt Lake City. Wu was once again in a league of his own, setting a new record of 39.505s in a sensational race where three men went below the 40-second barrier. Lim Hyo Jun (KOR) and Shaoang Liu (HUN) were among the skaters left chasing Wu’s shadow. They clocked 39.670s and 39.699s respectively to claim silver and bronze, times which themselves would have been fast enough to win any of last season’s 500m World Cup races. Wu’s performance means he becomes the first skater – across all Men’s and Ladies’ categories – to reach 30,000 points in the World Cup standings. He leads the 500m rankings, more than 15,000 points ahead of Liu in second place.
Can anyone beat Wu Dajng?— ISU Speed Skating (@ISU_Speed) November 11, 2018
He led the Salt Lake City 500m Final from 1st corner to last, and set a new World Record whilst he was at it. pic.twitter.com/XcnutBuRee
With Shaoang Liu (HUN) leading the World Cup classification standings for the 1000m distance after clinching gold last weekend in Calgary, brother Shaolin was determined to do whatever it took to keep his younger sibling at the top of the tree. For the majority of the race, it looked as if the plan was working perfectly, with Shaoang leading from the front and his brother carefully shadowing him, just behind. But the other skaters didn’t want to play ball. With Ren Ziwei (CHN) and Park Ji Won (KOR) closing in, Shaolin eventually decided he had to go for individual glory. There was additional disappointment for the Liu brothers: while they initially thought they’d both made the podium, with Shaoang edging out Park Ji Won for bronze, the judges ultimately ruled that Shaoang had impeded the Korean skater in the closing meters. They awarded Shaoang a penalty, meaning Ren and Won took silver and bronze.
Shaoang Liu (HUN) and his brother, Shaolin Sandor Liu, had more silverware to smile about later in the day as Hungary claimed gold in both the 2000m Mixed Relay and the Men’s 5000m Relay.
In Sunday’s Men’s 1000m (2), Hong Kyung Hwan (KOR) took gold but one of the most heartwarming stories of the day featured 33-year-old Thibaut Fauconnet (FRA) who claimed silver. It was a remarkable performance considering Fauconnet won his first World Cup medal during the 2006/2007 season, when Hong was just eight years old.
Korea's Hong Kyung Hwan is delighted with his gold medal in the Men's 1000m Final. pic.twitter.com/8FFO89BN4i— ISU Speed Skating (@ISU_Speed) November 11, 2018
Hong’s triumph moves him up to fourth place in the overall World Cup 1000m standings, with 12,621 points, with Fauconnet now into sixth place. With just a few hundred points separating joint-leaders Ren Ziwei (CHN) and Park Ji Won (KOR) from the rest of the top five, there’s plenty to race for as the World Cup series moves on to Almaty, Kazakhstan, in December.