SKorea wins gold in relay; Celski moves on in 500

The Sports NetworkFebruary 18, 2014 

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - South Korea won gold in the women's 3,000- meter relay Tuesday at the Sochi Olympics thanks to a terrific final leg from Shim Suk-Hee.

Shim, who won silver in the 1,500 in Sochi, gave the Koreans the lead on the last of 27 laps. She passed Zhou Yang of China to give South Korea its fifth gold medal in the relay since the 1994 Lillehammer Games.

The Koreans finished the race in 4 minutes, 9.498 seconds. Although the Chinese crossed the finish line in second place they were knocked off the podium due to an infraction that led to an Italian skater crashing. The disqualification allowed Canada to move into silver medal position, while Italy claimed bronze.

It was a reversal of fortunes for the Koreans and Chinese in this event after a memorable race for relay gold four years ago in Vancouver. South Korea had won four straight Olympic titles in the relay heading into Vancouver and actually crossed the finish line first, but was later disqualified for impeding with the Chinese team. The infraction awarded China the gold, with Canada and the United States taking silver and bronze in that order.

Canada has won three straight silver medals in the relay.

In other short track speedskating action on Tuesday, Emily Scott and Jessica Smith of the United States both advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's 1,000 meters. Both American skaters placed second in their heats. The final three rounds of the 1,000 will be held Friday at Iceberg Skating Palace.

Joining Scott and Smith in the quarterfinals are a host of medal winners from the Sochi Games. China's Li Jianrou, Italy's Arianna Fontana and Park Seung-Hi of South Korea -- the gold, silver and bronze medalists in the 500 -- also advanced on Tuesday, as did Shim.

Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors, who won gold in the long track 1,500-meter race on Sunday, also made it to the quarterfinals.

Canada's Valerie Maltais also advanced after winning the third heat with an Olympic-record time of 1:28.771.

Eight heats in the men's 500 also were run on Tuesday. J.R. Celski of the U.S. moved on to the quarterfinals by finishing second to Canada's Oliver Jean in the seventh heat. Celski, winner of two bronze medals four years ago in Vancouver, has yet to reach the podium in Sochi.

All three medalists from the 1,000-meter race also advanced, including gold medalist Viktor Ahn of Russia. Ahn has two medals in Sochi, placing third in the 1,500 in addition to winning the 1,000.

Fellow Russian Vladimir Grigorev, silver medalist behind Ahn in the 1,000, also moved on as did Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands. Knegt picked up a bronze in the 1,000.

Canada's Charles Hamelin, gold medalist in the 1,500, failed to qualify for the quarterfinals after falling around a turn in his heat. Hamelin was in the lead when he slipped.

Medalists in the 500 will be determined after the final three rounds are held on Friday.

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