U.S. speedskaters finish Sochi Olympics with no medals


A rough Sochi Olympics for the U.S. speedskaters has, perhaps mercifully, ended.

Today’s prelims for the men’s and women’s team pursuit represented the last chance for the beleaguered Americans to position themselves to break their duck at Adler Arena. But the quarterfinals were not kind to them on either side.

Shani Davis, Brian Hansen and Jonathan Kuck (pictured) were defeated in their heat by the Canadian trio of Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky, and Denny Morrison by just over 3.5 seconds.

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Soon after, the U.S. ladies – Heather Richardson, Brittany Bowe and Jilleanne Rookard – suffered the same fate at the hands of the Dutch team of Jorien ter Mors, Lotte van Beek and Ireen Wust. The “Oranje” won the duel by 3.6 seconds in an Olympic record time of 2:58.61.

And with that, the U.S. long-track speedskaters have come away with no medals at all in Sochi.

Their best finish in an individual event was seventh, which was replicated three times – twice by Heather Richardson in the ladies 1000m and 1500m, and once by Brian Hansen in the men’s 1500m.

Sochi was a struggle both on and off the track for the Americans.

Combining the subpar performances, the controversy over their new-for-the-Games racing suits (which were eventually switched out for older ones), and the criticism of the U.S. Speedskating organization from within the team, it seems nothing went right for them.

After the men’s race, Davis talked about his struggles in these Games.

The team pursuit finals in both men’s and women’s disciplines will take place tomorrow.

In the men’s “A” final, the Netherlands and Korea will face each other after advancing out of this morning’s semifinals, in which the Dutch dispatched Poland and the Koreans knocked off Canada.

The ladies will also have their semifinals tomorrow as well. Russia, Poland, Japan and the Dutch will be involved in that round.

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun

Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei

World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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