Vancouver / Canada

World record holder Yang Zhou (CHN) won the ladies’ 1500m race in an Olympic record time of 2:16.993. She managed to take the lead of the pack of 8 skaters and leave Korean skaters Eun-Byul Lee who won silver and Seung-Hi Park who got bronze well behind her. This was the third gold medal here, which means a new record for China at a single Olympic Winter Games. It is the third consecutive Olympics that two Koreans have been on the podium in the Ladies’ 1500m. None of the medalists was older than 18.

Meng Wang, the winner of the 500m, was disqualified in the semi finals, where a fall of four skaters gave Erika Huszar (HUN) and Evgenia Radanova (BUL) the top places in the race and brought them in the finals, where they placed 6th and 7th, ahead of Tania Vicent (CAN). Two of the skaters who fell, Katherine Reutter (USA) and Ha-Ri Cho (KOR) were advanced to the final, as a result of which there were not 6 but 8 skaters in the A-final. As a result, there was a lot of struggling to get into good positions. Park and Zhou were alternating as leaders and also Park came close. The three developed so much speed that the remainder of the field could not follow, and with three and a half lap to go, Zhou went off with maximum speed and even the Koreans couldn’t keep up with her, but finished a second behind her. ‘Best of the rest’ was Katherine Reutter (USA), in fourth place.

Arianna Fontana (ITA), who won bronze in the 500, won the B-finals, that started unusually slow. She lost in her semis to the later gold and bronze medalist but overtook Linlin Sun on the penultimate corner of the B-finals.

Seung-Hi Park (17): “All three of us Koreans could have won. In the beginning of the race, we were going well. But things went bad in the middle of the race. I am thankful that we got Silver and Bronze, but it should have been a gold medal.”

Eun-Byul Lee (18): “I am disappointed. We had three Koreans in the Final. We could have won Gold. The Olympics is unpredictable. With all the pushing and hitting during the race, we did not come out so well.”

Yang Zhou (18 years old): “I did not expect to enter the A-final alone. When I had to face that eventuality, I encouraged myself. I just kept saying: ‘I can do it, I can do it.’ When I took the lead my mid was blank. I just skated with all my might. I did not want to let anyone overtake me.”

“This is a dream come true! This gold medal will change things. It will give me more confidence. It will give my mum a better lifestyle.”