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Feb 22, 8:24 AM EST

SKorea crashes in relay, finishes with 6 short-track medals

AP Photo
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

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SKorea crashes in relay, finishes with 6 short-track medals

Past Olympic Mascots

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea won a leading six medals in the nation's favorite Winter Olympic sport of short-track speedskating, although it was denied gold on a historic, collision-filled final night of competition.

The Koreans crashed with 23 laps to go in the men's 5,000-meter relay final on Thursday, and the same fate befell gold-medal favorites Choi Min-jeong and Shim Suk-hee in the women's 1,000 final.

Wu Dajing of China dominated the men's 500 meters, setting a world record in winning gold. South Koreans Hwang Dae-heon and Lim Hyo-jun stayed on their skates to claim silver and bronze. Lim earlier won the 1,500.

In the women's 1,000, Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands pulled off an upset, giving the country better known for its long-track skating success a fourth medal in short track.

"I really can't believe it," said Schulting, who crossed the line with her mouth wide open in amazement.

Kim Boutin of Canada took silver for her third medal of the games.

Arianna Fontana earned bronze, giving the Italian skater a complete set of hardware, having won gold in the 500 and silver in the 3,000 relay. She joined American Apolo Anton Ohno and Viktor Ahn of Russia as the most decorated short-track Olympians with eight career medals.

"I didn't think I was going to be here at these Olympics because after Sochi I thought I was going to retire," Fontana said. "I'm really happy that I didn't."

Wu won China's first gold of the Pyeongchang Games and it came in the sprint race the nation had never won at the Olympics.

Hungary had an historic night, too.

The Eastern European country secured its first Winter Olympic gold medal by winning the men's relay, taking the lead on the last lap of the 45-lap race in which 16 skaters tore around the rink. The team of brothers Liu Shaoang and Liu Shaolin Sandor, along with Viktor Knoch and Csaba Burjan, set an Olympic-record of 6 minutes, 31.971 seconds.

The Hungarians had previously earned six medals - all in figure skating and none since 1980 - at the Winter Games.

Led by Wu, China took silver. Canada earned bronze with a team that included Samuel Girard and veteran Charles Hamelin skating in his final Olympics.

The South Koreans were challenging for the lead with China when their skater crashed, taking down the nation's hopes with him and dulling the raucous atmosphere at Gangneung Ice Arena.

China and Canada traded the lead until there were four laps to go. Hungary moved up to second behind Canada with three to go and then Liu Shaolin Sandor threaded his way to the lead and a history-making victory.

The U.S. team of J.R. Celski, John-Henry Krueger, Thomas Hong and Aaron Tran won the B relay final. The Americans had earlier been eliminated in the heats of the men's 500 and women's 1,000.

Kruger's silver in the 1,500 was the only American short-track medal, equaling the showing from four years ago in Sochi.


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