The world's best short track speed skaters resumed their competition this weekend in Moscow, Russia for the fifth round of the 2011-12 Korean Air ISU World Cup Short Track season. 23 countries entered, with the team from Korea ending the weekend with the largest medal count: 11. China and Canada each earned six and five medals respectively, while the United States totaled four medals. The following countries earned one medal each: Great Britain, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands.
This weekend, the skaters competed over the 1500m distance twice, along with the usual other distances. The Korean skaters continued their dominance in this distance, by taking the win in all four races. The first Ladies 1500m was won by Ha-Ri Cho, who finished ahead of teammate Eun-Byul Lee and Valerie Maltais of Canada. In the second 1500m event, Lee and Cho swapped podium places, with American skater Lana Gehring finishing third. Cho's results allow her to maintain her lead in the World Cup distance classification.
In the Men's 1500m event, the first final was won by Jung-Su Lee (Korea). John-Henry Krueger (USA) was second, with Ho-Suk Lee of Korea third. World Cup distance classification leader Jinkyu Noh (Korea) won the second 1500m. His teammate Da Woon Sin finished second, while J.R. Celski (USA) finished third.
In the Ladies 1000m Final, Elise Christie of Great Britain earned her first individual World Cup medal by winning the event. Qiuhong Liu of China was second, while Yui Sakai of Japan was third. The third place finish gives Sakai the lead in the World Cup ranking for the distance. On the men's side, Yoon-Gy Kwak (KOR) took the win, giving him a commanding lead in the World Cup ranking for the distance. Second place finisher was Jinkyu Noh (KOR) and Wenhao Liang of China.
The Ladies 500m Final was won by Chinese skater Kexin Fan, while Arianna Fontana of Italy finished second. Third place finisher was Qiuhong Liu (CHN); this result was enough for Liu to take the lead in the World Cup ranking. On the men's side, the 500m Finals were once again an all-Canadian affair, with skaters from Canada earning all three spots on the podium. Olivier Jean won the event, ahead of Liam McFarlane (second) and Charles Hamelin (third). The win allows Jean to maintain his lead in the World Cup rankings for the distance.
The weekend concluded with the Relay events, where in the ladies event, China took its fourth win of the season. The United States finished second, while the Netherlands were third. In the Men's 5000m Relay event, Canada finished first, ahead of Korea. Third place finisher was the team from China. The World Cup rankings are led by China (Ladies) and Korea (Men).
The Korea Air ISU World Cup Short Track circuit resumes next weekend in Dordecht, Netherlands on February 10-12, 2012.