Hamelin provides photo-finish win in TorinoAmerican Krueger takes home silver in 1,500 meters
A month has passed since the last stop in the 2013-14 World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series, allowing the world's best to fine-tune their craft for the two upcoming World Cup events. For these skaters, the Palaghiaccio Tazzoli in Torino, Italy, serves as the first of two 2014 Olympic Winter Games qualifying competitions.
The ladies 1,500-meter was won by Suk-Hee Shim of Korea, which allowed her to move into first place of the World Cup distance classification. This win was not easily obtained, as Shim competed against seven skaters at the start and other distance specialists throughout the race. The second-place finisher was Seung-Hi Park (Korea), who moved up from fourth place on the last lap. Yang Zhou (China) finished in third, narrowly edging out Italian skater Arianna Fontana.
The men's 1,500-meter final also saw a Korean skater take the win, with Han-Bin Lee taking the top spot. While Lee controlled the second half of the race, there were several position changes behind him. In the end, John-Henry Krueger (United States) finished in second, while third place was decided with a photo-finish review. Dutch skater Sjinkie Knegt took the final podium spot, ahead of François Hamelin of Canada. Charles Hamelin (Canada) maintained his lead in the World Cup standings with a fifth-place finish.
The ladies 500-meter event witnessed a showdown between two Chinese skaters and the two local favorites, Fontana and Martina Valcepina (Italy). Meng Wang (China) led the race from start to finish, earning the victory ahead of Fontana. The World Cup leader for this distance, Kexin Fan (China), maintained her advantage with a third-place finish in the final.
On the men's side, the 500m final saw two Canadian skaters and two Russian skaters at the start line. Despite controlling the race from the start, Charles Hamelin's win needed to be confirmed through a photo-finish review. It was determined that he finished less than a blade's length ahead of Victor An of Russia, with Olivier Jean (Canada) grabbing the bronze. Hamelin has continued to build on his strong season after taking over the lead in the World Cup standing from Vladimir Grigorev (Russia), who finished fourth.