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Chun Lee Kyung IOC / Kishimoto

Chun bags double short track gold again


Short track was making just its third appearance at the Winter Games in Nagano, but it had already created a few stars. Perhaps the most prominent was Chun Lee-Kyung of the Republic of Korea. Chun had won the 1,000m in Lillehammer in 1994 at the age of 18. She had also been part of her country’s gold-medal-winning 3,000m relay team, making her a double Olympic champion while still a teenager.

Four years on, she was older and more experienced, but had lost none of her speed. She was the world record holder over 1,000m going into the Games, though she saw her mark bettered by China's Yang Yang (A) in the quarter-finals. Then, in the semi-finals, Yang beat Chun in a head-to-head, setting up a grandstand finale.

In the final, it was Yang who held the lead as the race entered into its final stages, apparently poised to continue her momentum from the earlier round. Yet Chun was not easily beaten. As they left the final turn, the Korean charged through on the inside line, and as the pair sprinted for the line, she pushed out her right leg to break the timing beam first.

Chun Lee Kyung Getty

As if that were not disappointing enough for Yang, she was subsequently disqualified for apparently trying to block Chun with her arm, meaning that her compatriot Yang Yang (S) was promoted to silver.

Chun then went on to win another gold medal in the relay as the Republic of Korea set a new world record in beating China. And she then won a bizarre bronze medal in the 500m, despite not even making it to the final. Two of the four finalists fell after a crash, and neither finished the race so Chun, winner of the consolation final, was elevated onto the podium.

Chun Lee Kyung IOC / Kishimoto
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