After South Korea’s male speed skating team captured its second consecutive Olympic medal in the team pursuit discipline, the trio said the bond between teammates is the secret to their success.
“I believe South Korea has the best teamwork in the world,” Kim Min-seok, a two-time medalist in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, said after winning silver in the men’s pursuit on Wednesday. “(If we are to learn from Norway), I think it is important to improve our individual capabilities.”
South Korea countered Norway in the final and fell 1.2 seconds short of winning gold during the competition at the Gangneung Oval in the sub-host city of Gangneung, around 240 kilometers east of Seoul.
The trio of Lee Seung-hoon, Kim Min-seok and Chung Jae-won clocked in at 3:38.52 in the eight-lap race, finishing 1.2 seconds behind the Norwegian team at Gangneung Oval in Gangneung, Gangwon Province.
South Korean speed skater Chung Jae-won (left), Kim Min-seok (center) and Lee Seung-hoon pose for a photo after winning silver in the men`s team pursuit at the Gangneung Oval on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
The bronze went to the Netherlands which beat New Zealand in the B finals with a time of 3:38.40.
The title earned 29-year-old Lee his fourth Olympic medal -- one gold and three silver -- in speedskating, making him the first Asian male skater to clinch Olympic medals at three straight games since Vancouver 2010.
“I’ve come this far because my two teammates have supported me from behind,” said Chung, 16, following the race.
Noting the trio had a superb chemistry and teamwork throughout the Olympics, Kim, 18, said, “I believe South Korea has the best teamwork in the world.” He added that the South Korean players could learn from the Norwegians and improve their individual capabilities.
On Saturday, Lee and Chung will compete in the men’s mass start, which made its debut at PyeongChang.
In the women’s speedskating team pursuit on the same day, Japan beat the Netherlands for gold. The bronze went to the United States.
In the women’s big air snowboarding on Thursday, which made its Olympic debut at PyeongChang, Austrian Anna Gasser edged American two-time gold medalist Jamie Anderson in a thrilling final to grab gold. Zoi Sadowski Synnott grabbed bronze to give New Zealand its first Winter Olympic medal in 26 years.
In the men’s ski halfpipe Thursday, defending champion David Wise of the US broke through on his final run to give his country its third gold in the halfpipe at PyeongChang. Another American Alex Ferreira took silver, while Nico Porteus of New Zealand took bronze.
Wise’s medal is the US’ seventh gold at PyeongChang, five of which have come from Phoenix Snow Park. Chloe Kim and Shaun White clinched snowboard halfpipe golds last week, alongside Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson in the snowboard slopestyle.
As of Thursday 3 p.m., Norway led the overall competition with a staggering 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze, followed by Germany with 12 gold, seven silver and five bronze and Canada with 9 gold, five silver and 7 bronze. The United States is in fourth place with 7 gold, six silver and six bronze, and the Netherlands in fifth with six gold, six silver and four bronze. South Korea is in the ninth spot with four gold, three silver and two bronze.
The South Korean women’s curling team, which stirred a sensation at PyeongChang with its assertive wins in the round robin, will compete in the semifinals on Friday. The team comprising Kim Yeong-mi, Kim Kyeong-ae, Kim Eun-jung, Kim Seon-yeong and alternate Kim Cho-hi will face Japan at Gangneung Curling Centre at 8 p.m. A win guarantees at least a silver.
The other semifinalists are the Swedish and British teams.
In the much anticipated men’s hockey, two-time defending champion Canada has advanced to the semifinals, along with the team from Russia. They will be joined by the Czech Republic and Germany, who made surprising upsets over the US in a 3-2 shootout and top-seeded Sweden with a 4-3 in overtime, respectively. Canada beat Finland 1-0 on Wednesday night, but lost starting goaltender Ben Scrivens to an undisclosed upper-body injury. The Russians beat the Norwegians 6-1 the same day.
The Czech Republic will face the Russian team at 4:40 p.m. on Friday, while Canada will square off against Germany at 9:10 p.m. later in the day.
In the men’s cross-country skiing team sprint on Wednesday evening, team Norway won gold with a 15:56.26, trailed by the Russian team with a 15:57.97 and France with a 15:58.28. The women’s team sprint gold went to the US with a 15:56.47, while the silver went to Sweden with a 15:56.66 and bronze to Norway with a 15:59.44.
In the women’s bobsled, Mariama Jamanka of Germany produced four of almost flawless runs to snatch her gold. Elana Meyers Taylor of the US and Kaillie Humphries of Canada won silver and bronze, respectively.
By Joel Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org
) and news reports