Led by Olympic medalists, S. Korea earns 13 quotas in speed skating at Beijing 2022
In this USA Today Sports file photo via Reuters from Dec. 3, 2021, Kim Jun-ho of South Korea competes in the men's 500m during the International Skating Union Speed Skating World Cup at Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Reuters-Yonhap)
South Korea has secured 13 quota places in speed skating for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, with a few medalists from the previous Winter Games in 2018 earning another shot at the podium.
The International Skating Union (ISU) announced its allocation of quota places for speed skating on Thursday, based on results from four ISU World Cup competitions this season.
On the women's side, South Korea won a spot in the 500m, two places in the 1,000m, and two more in the mass start.
For men, South Korea will have two skaters each in the 500m, 1,000m, and the mass start, and one each in the 1,500m and the team pursuit.
South Korea was shut out in the long distance events, the 5,000m and the 10,000m, which have long been the domains of European skaters.
South Korea captured seven medals in speed skating on home ice at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Five medalists from that competition will be back in Beijing: the men's mass start champion Lee Seung-hoon, the men's 500m silver medalist Cha Min-kyu, the men's 1,500m bronze medalist Kim Min-seok, the men's team pursuit silver medalist Chung Jae-won, and the women's mass start silver medalist Kim Bo-reum.
Cha ranked 11th overall in the 500m in this year's World Cup season. His teammate, Kim Jun-ho, finished in eighth place, while also setting a personal best earlier this month in Calgary, Canada.
Cha will also compete in the 1,000m, alongside Kim Min-seok.
They were 10th and 17th in the World Cup rankings.
Kim Min-seok's main event will be the 1,500m, where he ended seventh overall in the World Cup. Kim won a gold in the first World Cup competition and added a bronze in the next event.
In the men's mass start, Lee Seung-hoon will go for his second straight Olympic gold and his sixth Olympic medal overall. The 33-year-old will be racing in his fourth Olympic Games.
At PyeongChang 2018, teammate Chung Jae-won acted as Lee's pacemaker to help the veteran to the top of the podium. Chung checked in at fourth in this season's World Cup rankings, one spot above Lee.
In the women's races, Kim Bo-reum will eye her second straight medal in the mass start. She will be joined by teammate Park Ji-woo. They were eighth and ninth in the World Cup rankings.
Elsewhere, Kim Min-sun will race in the 500m and 1,000m, while Kim Hyun-yung will skate in the 1,000m. (Yonhap)