Stars such as Canada’s double Olympic champion Charles Hamelin, China’s four-time Olympic gold medallist Wang Meng and Korea’s Youth Olympic champion Suk Hee Shim took to the ice in front of thousands of fans at Sochi’s Iceberg Skating Palace, which will host the short track speed skating and figure skating events during next year’s Winter Games.
Hamelin, who won Olympic titles in the 500m and 5,000m relay in Vancouver in 2010, won both the 1,000m and 500m in Sochi and is already hoping the results prove to be a good omen for the 2014 Winter Games, which begin on 7 February next year.
“I hope this is going to be a good sign for me in one year,” said the 28-year-old.
2010 World Junior Champion Jin-Kyu Noh won the 1,500m race in Sochi and is guaranteed to win the overall World Cup title in the distance. He we will be a contender for next year’s Olympic Games.
Team Russia won their first gold medal in the series in the Men’s 5,000m Relay, however the reigning Olympic Champions Team Canada lead the World Cup classification.
In the Ladies field Wang took victory in the first women’s 500m – her fifth gold medal of the series – to secure the overall World Cup title in the distance, while the youngest skater, sixteen year old Shim, continued her dominance in the women’s 1,500m, claiming her fifth victory of the season to clinch the overall title with two events to go.
"Being the youngest one is difficult but there are some good moments because my older teammates support me."
Christie Elise (GBR) finished second in the 1,000m in Sochi, however she leads the World Cup classification in the distance and is a strong contender for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
2010 Olympic Gold medalists, Team China, won the Ladies 3,000m Relay in Sochi and it will be no easy task to knock them off that top spot next year.