The world's best short track speed skaters were back on the ice this weekend for the fourth round of the 2011-12 Korean Air ISU World Cup Short Track circuit in Shanghai, China.
Twenty-five countries were in on the action this weekend. The team from China took advantage of skating on home ice, and earned a total of ten medals, doubling the medal count of its closest rivals, Canada (five medals) and Korea (five medals). The United States earned a total of 3 medals, while Great Britain, Italy and Japan each earned two medals. The team from the Netherlands earned one medal.
This weekend the skaters competed over the 500m distance twice, along with the usual other distances. The first Ladies 500m Final was won by Chinese skater Kexin Fan, while the second final was won by Italian Arianna Fontana. Second and third place finishers in each final were: Qiuhong Liu (CHN) and Jessica Smith (USA) in the first 500m Final, and Qiuhong Liu and Kexin Fan in the second 500m Final. Despite not finishing on the podium this weekend, Valcepina maintains her lead in the distance World Cup ranking.
On the men's side, the 500m Finals were an all-Canadian affair, with their skaters taking the win in both events. Olivier Jean took the win in the first race, with Chinese skater Qiuwen Gong finishing second. Third place finish went to Baan Breeuwsma (NED), who earned his first ever World Cup individual medal. In the second 500 Final, the win went to Charles Hamelin, who finished ahead of Jon Eley of Great Britain. Wenhao Liang of China was third. Olivier Jean's win allows him to take over the lead in the World Cup rankings for the distance.
The Ladies and Men's 1500m events were both won by Korean skaters, with a world record time being set in the men's event. Jinkyu Noh won the men's in a time of 2:09.041. Second place went to Charles Hamelin, while Yoon-Gy Kwak of Korea was third. Noh's win also allows him to maintain his lead in the World Cup distance classification. In the Ladies Final, Ha-Ri Cho (KOR) took the win, giving her the lead in the World Cup distance ranking. Katherine Reutter (USA) was second, while Han Xiao (CHN) was third.
In the Ladies 1000m Final, Reutter wins, finishing ahead of Jianrou Li of China. Japanese skater Yui Sakai was third, allowing her to take the lead in the World Cup ranking for the distance. On the men's side, Yoon-Gy Kwak took the win, allowing him to maintain his lead in the World Cup ranking for the distance. Second place finisher was Olivier Jean, and third place finisher was Jinkyu Noh.
The weekend concluded with the Relay events, with China taking the win in both the ladies' and men's events. In the Ladies 3000m Relay Final, second place finished went to the United States while Japan earned a third place finish. In the Men's 5000m relay event, Canada finished second, ahead of Great Britain. s 5000m relay event, Canada finished second, ahead of Great Britain.
The Korea Air ISU World Cup Short Track circuit takes a break for the holiday season, and resumes in Moscow, Russia, on February 2-4, 2012. In the meantime, the next international ISU sanctioned short track speed skating event is the ISU Short Track Speed Skating European Championships in Mlada Boleslav in the Czech Republic on January 27-29, 2012.