Morishige skates to bronze in 500
20:02 JST, February 12, 2022
Wataru Morishige won the bronze medal in the men’s 500 meters in speed skating at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Saturday, giving Japan its first men’s medal in the sport since 2010 to salvage an otherwise disappointing competition for the Japanese.
Morishige clocked 34.49 seconds to finish third at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing, while compatriots Yuma Murakami and Tatsuya Shinhama finished well behind.
China’s Gao Tingyu, the bronze medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics skating in the seventh of the 15 pairs, was the surprising victor in an Olympic record 34.32, with South Korea’s Cha Min Kyu taking a second consecutive silver in 34.39.
Japan went into the competition aiming not only for its first men’s gold medal since Hiroyasu Shimizu won the 500 at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, but with hopes for multiple medals — even a possible medal sweep — as the three entries are ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the world. All three skaters have clocked under 34 seconds.
But Murakami could only manage an eighth-place finish in 34.57, while Shinhama got an atrocious start and ended up 20th in 35.12, far off his Japan record of 33.79.
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