Embrace the chaos: Wild short-track nights are a crowd pleaser

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea _ Less than five seconds into the first women’s 500-meter quarterfinal, one skater slammed into the wall and another was about to be disqualified.

In the very next race, a wipeout right before the finish meant Canada’s Kim Boutin slid to a second-place finish on her backside.

One race was so close that a winner wasn’t immediately listed and a photo finish was called. Turns out the Netherlands’ Yara van Kerkhof beat Great Britian’s Elise Christie by .002 of a second.

NBCOlympics.com: Arianna Fontana wins 500m gold

Welcome to the world of short-track speedskating, where the action’s fast, the music’s loud and 11-year-old American fan Sean Patrick O’Connor got exactly what he wanted.

The O’Connor family – including Pat, Joan, Justin, Sean Patrick and six-year-old Evan Anthony – wanted to see a handful of sports this February when they came to the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Besides hockey, the short track was high on their list.

It’s easy to see why. The demolition derby of the Winter Olympics is a crowd pleaser and immensely popular in South Korea. Gangneung Ice Arena was almost completely filled on Tuesday night and almost every single race – 17 in all – was an absolute nail-biter.

Read the rest of the story here, and catch up on the rest of the action around PyeongChang