Canada’s Kim Boutin set the Utah Olympic Oval ice alight on the second day of finals at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating on Sunday, becoming the first woman to break 42 seconds in the Ladies’ 500m.
Boutin’s gold medal in the Ladies’ 1500m on Saturday showed the form she was in going into the meet, and the 24-year-old produced three strong performances to take the second Ladies 500m gold of the weekend.
Kim Boutin (CAN) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (USA) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Hwang Dae Heon of the Republic of Korea was the other individual double-gold medallist of the Salt Lake city World Cup, picking up a win in the Men’s 1000m to add to his 500m gold from Saturday.
Hwang and Boutin also won relay medals, as Korea and Canada took silver and bronze in the Men’s 5000m and Ladies’ 3000m relay respectively.
Russia’s Victor An continued his successful comeback after retirement, taking silver in the Men’s 1000m and leading his team to 5000m relay gold, to repeat his tally of the previous day.
Ladies’ 500m (2)
Boutin gave her rivals an almost impossible target as she blasted to a world-record time in the quarterfinals of the Ladies’ 500m on Sunday. Her blistering time of 41.936 seconds broke the previous mark of 42.335 seconds set by Great Britain’s Elise Christie on the same ice three years ago.
The Canadian, who rekindled her love for the sport with a training camp in the Netherlands over the northern summer, shot to another fast start in the final and never really looked likely to relinquish that lead, finishing in a time that was just 0.001 of a second outside Christie’s old record.
Kim Boutin (CAN) celebrates her world record with Zang Yizeafter (CHN) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Salt Lake City 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Hard on her heels, Saturday’s 500m (1) winner, Martina Valcepina of Italy, fell early on. That left China’s Qu Chunyu to take silver, with reigning world champion Lara van Ruijven of the Netherlands finishing third.
A delighted Boutin said afterwards: “The heat was pretty fast, 42.6, but I couldn’t have imagined to be under 42 [in the quarterfinal], so it’s a pretty amazing race, I’m pretty happy.
“It’s a great start to the season and for me it’s the strongest ice to race because it’s fast and you need to be balanced. It’s an amazing start and I hope to be on this progression until the end of the season.”
Van Ruijven, who missed out on Saturday’s final, said: “Kim deserved the gold of course. [Her time] is so fast, it’s like the times the guys are skating.”
Men’s 500m (2)
With all of Saturday’s 500m (1) medallists choosing to race the 1000m on Sunday the ice was left clear for China’s Wu Dajing to pursue another medal for his extensive collection.
On the line the positions remained unchanged, and Wu picked up his 15th World Cup medal at this distance, making up for Saturday’s disappointment when he fell in the final.
Kim Dong Wook of Republic of Korea was left trailing on the first lap and finished fourth.
Wu Dajing (centre) collects his gold medal in the Men's 500m (2), flanked by Shaolin Sandor Lio (HUN, silver) and Kazakhstan's Abzal Azhgaliyev (bronze) ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Liu said: “It was a pretty fast race. I’d never skated under 40 seconds – the semifinal was my first time [39.893secs] and I could even skate faster in the final [39.732].
“My summer wasn’t too good, I didn’t train too hard, so I’m really happy with my result. I hope I can get more gold medals [this season], but I just want to get more experience.”
The Netherlands’ Suzanne Schulting is reigning world and Olympic champion at this distance and looked predictably comfortable qualifying for the first ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating final of the season. But she faced stiff competition from junior world record holder Seo Whi Min of Republic of Korea as well as China’s Han Yutong, who took bronze to Schulting’s silver in yesterday’s 1500m final.
Seo had the better start but Schulting overtook with three laps to go and steadily stretched her lead.
World champion Suzanne Schulting (NED) got her 2019/20 campaign off to a golden start in the 1000m on Sunday ©International Skating Union (ISU)
As Seo and Russia’s Sofia Prosvirnova fought for the silver-medal position the Korean changed lanes, and sent herself and her rival sprawling across the ice. That left the way open for Han and her compatriot Zhang Chutong to battle for silver and bronze, with Han prevailing.
Schulting revealed afterwards that a small clash of blades at the start meant she had to adjust her skating to compensate.
“At the beginning I was looking for a different point of pressure on the blade, and it was hard to relax,” she said. “That’s why I was really happy that I made it to the end. Every win counts.”
Five skaters lined up in the Men’s 1000m final after Victor An was advanced from the semifinal following a crash.
All have plenty of pedigree and in a tactical race three skaters exchanged the lead – but only one could take the gold medal, and it was Korea’s Hwang Dae Heon who siezed the initiative on lap six and kept it to the finish.
Republic of Korea's Hwang Dae Heon surges to victory in the Men's 1000m ©International Skating Union (ISU)
At the back of the pack, An let the other skaters use up their energy and then, with a trademark burst of speed, came up the inside around the final corner to pass Elistratov and Korea’s Park Ji Won and secure silver. Park’s sprint for the line gave him bronze ahead of Saturday’s 1500m gold medallist Elistratov.
An said he was pleased with the success of his comeback meet, which has given him two individual silver medals as well as two relay golds.
“I’m so happy,” he said. “I’m back, twice. It’s very exciting.”
Despite his positive meet, the six-time Olympic gold medallist would not be drawn on his plans for the Beijing 2022 Games. “I’m just trying this season and we’ll see,” he said.
Ladies’ 3000m relay
China set the fastest qualifying time for the Ladies’ 3000m relay in Saturday’s semifinals, but Republic of Korea and Canada’s qualifying times were only a second adrift and the stage was set for an exciting battle.
And so it played out. China had another good start in the final but all four teams were jostling for position for much of the race.
Ladies' Relay at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (USA) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
With two laps left Canada moved into bronze-medal position as China stretched out their lead. Korea, the reigning world and Olympic champions, pushed hard but were unable to catch the Chinese while Canada hung on for bronze.
“We’re very proud, we’re a young team,” Blais said. “We all have a bit of experience and it’s nice to skate again together.”
Men’s 5000m relay
Canada and the Netherlands had displayed impressive speed in the semifinals of the Men’s 5000m relay but it is never wise to rule out Korea or Russia in Short Track Speed Skating.
As with the Ladies’ relay, all four teams remained in close contention for much of the race. Korea and Canada held a slight early advantage before Russia overhauled Canada and then Korea.
The Netherlands were getting left behind as the pace ramped up while Canada was still, just, in the battle for silver. But there was no doubt about the winners as Russia backed up their 2000m Mixed Gender relay gold from Saturday with victory in the Men’s 5000m.
Men's Relay Team Russia, Team Korea and Team Canada at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (USA) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
The Canadians finished third, with Republic of Korea snaffling silver, and Canada’s Charles Hamelin said: “It was a new team with a few new members, so we had to deal with that. But we managed to do a good race.”
Where to watch and follow the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating 2019/20
Viewers will be able to watch via their national broadcaster/channel. For countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. You will find the full list in the Where to watch news here.
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For further information on ISU Short Track Speed Skating visit : https://www.isu.org/short-track.
ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Series events 2019/20
The World Cup series consists of nine distances 500, 1000 and 1500 meters for Ladies and Men, Ladies 3000 meters Team Relay, Men 5000 meters Team Relay and a Mixed Gender Relay over 2000 meters.
The competitions have a single distance character and are held in separate sessions over three days. Day 1 is dedicated to all Qualifying Rounds. Days 2 and 3 the last Qualifying Rounds (if necessary) take place, followed by the World Cup sessions.
For the Mixed Gender Relay Teams (2 Ladies & 2 Men), the Ladies 3000 meters Relay races and Men 5000 meters Relay races a maximum of four Skaters shall compete and must belong to the same ISU Member.