Mo Tae-Bum

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Olympic speed skating champion to retire, eyes new sport

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Mo Tae-Bum, the 2010 Olympic 500m champion and 1000m silver medalist, will retire from speed skating and said he is thinking about taking up competitive cycling, according to Yonhap News Agency.

“It’s not going to be an easy challenge,” Mo said, according to the report. “But I’ve entered a few races before.”

Mo, 29, was a surprise medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Games, taking South Korea’s first Olympic title in a sport other than short track speed skating.

He came into those Olympics without a World Cup 500m podium, then beat countrymen and favorites Lee Kang-Seok and Lee Kyou-Hyuk at the Games. He also finished .18 behind Shani Davis in the 1000m.

Mo competed in two more Olympics in Sochi and PyeongChang with a best finish of fourth in the 2014 Olympic 500m. He also won world 500m titles in 2012 and 2013.

Speed skaters often train and compete in cycling. Eric Heiden, who won five speed skating golds at the 1980 Lake Placid Games, took part in the 1986 Tour de France (but didn’t finish). Canadian Clara Hughes earned two Olympic road cycling bronze medals in 1996, then four Olympic speed skating medals between 2002 and 2010.

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MORE: Best speed skating moments from PyeongChang Olympics

WATCH LIVE: Speed skating men’s 500m, featuring Shani Davis

Shani Davis
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Shani Davis, the two-time defending Olympic champion speedskater in the 1000m, begins his Sochi Olympics program this morning in the 500m.

You can catch it either LIVE on NBCSN or on NBCOlympics.com starting at 8 a.m. ET.

The 500m will serve as preparation for Davis ahead of his stronger events, the 1000m (Wednesday) and the 1500m (Saturday).

Team USA compatriot Tucker Fredericks has won at this distance on the World Cup circuit this season, so look for him to be the top American here.

MORE: Russia turns back figure skating clock in team event

He, Davis, and the rest of the field may have to go through South Korea’s Mo Tae-Bum, who claimed the country’s first Olympic speed skating gold in the 500m four years ago at Vancouver and has also won the last two world titles in the 500m.

CLICK HERE AT 8 A.M. ET to see who prevails.

Heather Richardson, Brittany Bowe go 1-2 at Berlin World Cup

Heather Richardson
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American Heather Richardson and her fiance both won races on the final day of the World Cup speed skating stop in Berlin on Sunday.

Richardson, the world sprint champion, won the 1000m in 1 minute, 14.51 seconds, .91 better than U.S. teammate Brittany Bowe. Russian Olga Fatkulina was third.

Berlin marked the final World Cup before the Olympics, meaning it’s time to take stock of Olympic medal contenders. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials are in three weeks in Salt Lake City.

Richardson looks like the Olympic favorite in the 1000m, having won three of four World Cups this season. Her only loss came when Bowe set a world record in Salt Lake City on Nov. 17, edging Richardson by .03.

Bowe, the former college basketball player, has finished no lower than third in the four World Cup 1000m races. The U.S. has not won a women’s speed skating Olympic medal since 2002.

Richardson and Bowe came back for the day’s final event, the team pursuit, where the U.S. finished sixth. The Netherlands won.

Richardson’s fiance, Dutchman Jorrit Bergsma, won the 5000m on Sunday with superstar countryman Sven Kramer sitting out. Bergsma skated 6:14.82, beating another Netherlands skater, Jan Blokhuijsen, by .84. South Korean Lee Seung-Hoon was third.

The Olympic champion Kramer won the first two 5000m races of the season by more than two seconds and appears to be in form going toward Sochi.

South Korean Olympic champion Mo Tae-Bum won the second men’s 500m race of the Berlin World Cup by .002 over Japan’s Joji Kato. The Netherlands’ Michel Mulder was third.

The Olympic men’s 500m appears wide open. Eight men have won World Cup races this season, including American Tucker Fredricks, who was seventh on Sunday.

Berlin World Cup

Men’s 500m — Race 2
1. Mo Tae-Bum (KOR) 34.876
2. Joji Kato (JPN) 34.878
3. Michel Mulder (NED) 34.95
7. Tucker Fredricks (USA) 35.18
11. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 35.25

Women’s 1000m
1. Heather Richardson (USA) 1:14.51
2. Brittany Bowe (USA) 1:15.42
3. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) 1:15.49

Men’s 5000m
1. Jorrit Bergsma (NED) 6:14.82
2. Jan Blokhuijsen (NED) 6:15.66
3. Lee Seung-Hoon (KOR) 6:16.12
8. Jonathan Kuck (USA) 6:20.24

Women’s Team Pursuit
1. Netherlands 2:58.19
2. Poland 3:01.18
3. South Korea 3:02.04
6. U.S. 3:03.02

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