January 20, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games
The long track mixed speed skating relay was held for the first time in FISU World University Games history on Thursday, and it was South Korea that entered its name in the record books at the Lake Placid Olympic Oval.
Minsun Kim and Hyunjun Ahn completed the historic nine-country race in 3:10.84, ahead of Japan (3:12.03) and Spain (3:12.14).
“It was really fun and I really enjoyed it,” were Minsun’s first impressions after winning her third medal at Lake Placid 2023. “I think individual performance is important, but I would say 50/50 teamwork is equally important in the mixed relay “.
“Minsun gave us a good lead as my partner. It was great teamwork,” added Hyunjun. “I’ve already attended four events and I have another one tomorrow so I’m feeling a bit tired but I’m going to prepare myself for tomorrow.”
It was the second triumph of the day for Kim, who won gold in the women’s 500m in the morning with a time of 38.53, beating the previous standard set in 1987 by American legend Bonnie Blair.
The podium was completed by Moe Kumagai from Japan (39.41) and Chaeun Park from Korea (40.01).
“I thought I might have the track record,” said Kim. “With an outdoor rink, there are so many unexpected changes in conditions, so I wasn’t sure about breaking the record. But I broke it and I’m very happy.”
The track record was also broken in the men’s 500m, courtesy of Japan’s Wataru Morishige (35.30), who erased the previous record set by American William Gebauer at last year’s FISU World Championships.
Silver and bronze were won by Japanese Kazuya Yamada (35.84) and Pole Marek Kania (35.99).
“The 500m run is my favorite sport. I worked hard to prepare for today’s race, so I’m happy to win the gold medal,” said Morishige, the current Olympic bronze medalist in the event. “Our team is very young and as captain I’m happy to lead it and win and also have a teammate with me on the podium.”
“The next Olympics is in three years, so I have time to prepare. I will continue to work hard.”
The 2023 Lake Placid long course event will come to an end on Friday with the men’s and women’s mass start finals.
Written by Miha Trošt, FISU Young Reporter
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