GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA – Wu Dajing clocked a world record on Thursday en route to winning short-track speedskating men’s 500 meters for China’s first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Wu, the 2014 Sochi Olympic 500 silver medalist, flew past the line at Gangneung Ice Arena in 39.584 seconds. South Korea’s Hwang Dae-heon and Lim Hyo-jun earned silver and bronze, respectively.
In the quarterfinals, China’s Ren Ziwei, who finished sixth, set an Olympic record 40.032 only to be later upstaged by his compatriot.
In the B final, Japan’s Ryosuke Sakazume had a disappointing last run and finished eighth overall. He advanced to the semifinals after two skaters crashed in his four-man quarterfinal.
Keita Watanabe failed to advance past his quarterfinal.
South Korean-born defending champion Viktor Ahn, who now competes for the Olympic Athletes from Russia, was banned from the games due to fallout from the Sochi doping scandal.
Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands won the women’s 1,000 ahead of silver medalist Kim Botin of Canada, a bronze medalist in both the 500 and 1,500. Italy’s 500-meter gold medalist Arianna Fontana was third, after South Korean fans watched their favorites crash out.
World-record holder Shim Suk-hee crashed into compatriot Choi Min-jeong when both attempted to pass the leading trio on a corner in the final lap and was disqualified. Choi finished fourth.
Hitomi Saito finished fourth in her quarterfinal.
Also Thursday, Hungary claimed its first gold medal at a Winter Olympics by pulling off a stunning victory in the men’s 5,000 relay after a fall cost South Korea a place on the podium.
Hungary had never won a short-track medal at the Winter Games and its first was sealed in an Olympic record time of 6 minutes 31.971 seconds. China finished 0.064 seconds behind for silver and Canada took bronze.
Brothers Sandor Liu Shaolin and Shaoang Liu raced alongside Viktor Knoch and Csaba Burjan to make history for Hungary in the final short-track event here.
They celebrated wildly at the end, high-fiving and hugging their technical staff beside the track before skating around the rink holding their country’s flag.
The race got off to a cagey start with all four teams in contention until disaster struck for the Koreans midway through when one of their skaters went sprawling.
By the time he had found his feet, South Korea was a half a lap behind, and though it pushed hard to catch up, the effort it expended told in the end and it finished nearly three-quarters of a lap behind everyone else.
The Hungarians bided their time, skating within themselves and letting China and Canada set the pace in the 45-lap race before putting on a late surge that secured the gold medal.