Korean Air ISU World Cup Short Track - Salt Lake (USA) 21-23 October 2011
The world's best short track speed skaters were back in action this weekend, kicking off the 2011/12 Korean Air ISU World Cup Short Track season at the Utah Olympic Oval, in Salt Lake City, USA. A total of 23 countries participated in this first stop of the World Cup circuit.
It was no surprise that the usual contenders finished the weekend with the most medals: Korea took a total of 10 medals, while the United States, taking advantage of local support, finished the weekend with 6 medals. Canada also earned 6 medals, while China, Great Britain and Russia earned two medals each. Japan and Italy came away with one medal.
The format this season is similar to the one from last season: skaters qualify on Fridays and medals are handed out on Saturdays and Sundays. This weekend, the skaters competed in 1500m events twice along with racing once in the 500m, 1000m and Relay events. On the women's side, the 1500m distance was dominated by American skater Katherine Reutter, who took the win in both 1500m events. Reutter is also the defending World Cup champion in this distance. In the first 1500m Final, Valerie Maltais (Canada) finished second, and third place went to Eun-Byul Lee of Korea. In the second 1500m Final, Eun-Byul Lee was second, and Chinese skater Jianrou Li finished third.
On the men's side, the first 1500m Final was won by Charles Hamelin of Canada. Second and third place finishes went to Ho-Suk Lee and Jung-Su Lee of Korea. In the second 1500m Final event, Korean skaters finished first and second, with Jinkyu Noh taking the win, ahead of teammate Yoon-Gy Kwak. J.R. Celski (USA) finished third.
The ladies 500m Final was won by Canadian skater Marianne St-Gelais, who is the defending World Cup champion in this distance. Martina Valcepina (Italy) finished second, while American skater Jessica Smith took third. On the men's side, Jon Eley of Great Britain was the winner, with Charles Hamelin finishing second. Third place finish went to Russian skater Evgenii Kozulin, who earned his first ever World Cup medal.
The ladies 1000m Final was won by Japanese skater Yui Sakai, who earned her first ever World Cup medal. American skaters Lana Gehring and Alyson Dudek finished close behind in second and third place. On the men's side, the win went to Yoon-Gy Kwak of Korea ahead of his teammate Jinkyu Noh. Canadian skater Francois-Louis Tremblay finished in third place.
As is customary, the weekend's competition ended with the Relay events. The ladies 3000m Relay Final was won by China, who is the defending World Cup champion in this distance. Korea finished second, with Russia completing the podium in third. In the men's 5000m relay event, it was defending World Cup champion Canada who took the win. Second place went to Great Britain, who narrowly edged out the team from Korea.
The Korean Air ISU World Cup Short Track circuit heads to Canada for the second stop of the season in Chicoutimi from October 27-30, 2011.
For further information and a full list of results please go to: www.isu.org