Russians nab gold, silver in 1,000 meter short track
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Viktor Ahn threw his arms up in the air as he crossed the finish line first. Just behind him Vladimir Grigorev was celebrating, too. The Russians claimed Olympic gold and silver in the men’s 1,000-meter short track Saturday, igniting a raucous crowd.
Ahn and Grigorev raced to celebrate with their coaches on the sideline as the mostly Russian crowd tooted horns and waved red, white and blue flags. Ahn earned his sixth career Olympic medal, and second of the Sochi Games.
Ahn then skated to center ice, got down on all fours and kissed the ice on the letter C in the logo of Sochi 2014. He got up and hugged Grigorev before embracing Sin Da-woon of South Korea, who was disqualified.
Ahn delivered his adopted country’s first Olympic short track medal with a bronze in the 1,500. Born in Seoul, he previously competed for South Korea as Ahn Hyun-soo, winning three golds and a bronze at his first two Olympics in 2002 and 2006. A career-threatening knee injury in 2008 forced him to miss the Vancouver Games. Ahn became a Russian citizen in 2011, saying South Korea didn’t provide him the support he needed.
Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands took the bronze, a rare short track medal for the Dutch, who are better known as the world’s dominant long track speedskating team. Knegt got into the final after Lee Han-bin of South Korea was disqualified for impeding the Dutch skater in the semifinals.
The Russian men led most of the way in the 1,000. There were no crashes in the six-man final.
In the women’s 1,500 final, Zhou Yang of China won the gold in a successful defense of the Olympic title she won four years ago.
Shim Suk-lee of South Korea took the silver. Arianna Fontana of Italy earned the bronze, to go with the silver she won in the 500.
Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands, who is competing in short and long track, finished fourth.
Emily Scott of Springfield, Mo., was fifth after advancing to the final when South Korea’s Cho Ha-ri was disqualified. The referees ruled Cho shoved Scott as she tried an outside pass in the turn.
Jessica Smith of Melvindale, Mich., was eliminated in the semifinals, and Alyson Dudek of Hales Corners, Wis., didn’t make it out of the heats.
In the 1,000 semifinals, Lee was skating second with Knegt on his hip, when Lee nearly went down. The South Korean’s momentum carried him and Knegt wide on the track and they fell well behind Grigorev and Sin. After a review, the judges disqualified Lee.
Americans J.R. Celski and Eddy Alvarez were eliminated in separate crashes.
Celski clipped a lane marker in a turn and went down while racing second in the last of four quarterfinals.
Alvarez was taken out by 1,500 champion Charles Hamelin of Canada. Alvarez got up and finished skating despite a cut on his lip from being elbowed by Hamelin.
"I was just kind of building up some speed a little bit, hanging on his outer hip, and he just went down," Alvarez said. "I was in a bad place at the wrong time. It’s part of the sport."
Hamelin said the ice broke under his blades, sending him crashing into the pads.
"It’s always bad when you fall and you take someone with you. You always feel bad," he said. "I really wanted to have a good one in the 1,000. It’s the distance I like the most racing. Really disappointing."