New world record as China’s Wu grabs short track gold

The mainland snatch their first gold medal at the Pyeongchang Games after two silvers in the sprint race

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 8:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 11:57pm

China’s Wu Dajing set a new world record as he won the men’s 500m short-track speed skating at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Thursday.

It was the first gold medal for China at the Pyeongchang Games and also the first gold medal for China in men’s short track at the Olympics.

The 23-year-old silver medallist from Sochi 2014 and world number one set the fastest-ever time in his quarter-final (39.8), beating the previous record set by American John Celski in 2012. He bettered that with a time of 39.584 seconds in the final.

The 23-year-old Chinese skater clenched his fists above his head in celebration as he took a victory lap around the rink at Gangneung Ice Arena.

South Korea’s Hwang Dae-heon finished second, with his compatriot Lim Hyo-jun taking bronze, having earlier won the 1,500 metres.

“Today, I didn’t give my competitors a chance and I kept my speed from the start,” said Wu, who won silver behind Russian Viktor Ahn four years ago in Sochi. “More importantly I think I believed in myself.”

He is the first Chinese man to win an Olympic short track gold medal and has dominated the distance since Sochi, winning 10 men’s 500m races at world championships and in the World Cup.

Canada’s Samuel Girard, the 1,000-metre gold medallist, finished fourth.

Wu failed to make the final in either the 1,000m or 1,500m after picking up penalties in qualifying, but ended his Olympic campaign with silver with his teammates in the men’s 5,000m relay final, which was held after the 500m.

“There definitely was pressure,” Wu added. “The Chinese team didn’t really perform to our potential and we came in today really determined.

“I‘m very emotional and happy to have won China’s first gold here.”

Additional reporting by Reuters