Speed skater Lee Seung-hoon finishes 12th in men's 5,000 meters

By 신용배
  • Published : Feb 8, 2014 - 23:32
  • Updated : Feb 9, 2014 - 11:25

South Korea's Lee Seung-hoon competes in the Men's Speed Skating 5000m at the Adler Arena during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday. (Yonhap)
South Korean speed skater Lee Seung-hoon  finished a disappointing 12th in the men's 5,000 meters at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday.

At Adler Arena Skating Center, Lee finished the race in 6:25.61, coming up well short of winning his second straight Olympic medal in the event. At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Lee won the silver medal for South Korea's first medal there.

Lee will try to defend his Olympic title in the 10,000m on Feb.18. He's also slated to compete in the team pursuit event on Feb. 21.

After Saturday's race, Lee simply told reporters, "I am sorry," as he left the arena.

Sven Kramer of the Netherlands captured his second straight gold medal with an Olympic record time of 6:10.76. He led the Dutch sweep of the podium, with compatriots Jan Blokhuijsen taking the silver in 6:15.71 and Jorrit Bergsma grabbing the bronze in 6:16.66.
Another South Korean, Kim Cheol-min, finished 24th among 26 skaters in 6:37.28.

Lee was in the 13th and the last pairing alongside Patrick Beckert of Germany. In the 5,000m, the South Korean is generally known for maintaining consistent speed in the early portion of the race before kicking into another gear over the final two to three laps in the 12 1/2-lap event.

On Saturday, he covered the 200m-600m stretch in 29.66 seconds. Top skaters keep their 400m laps under 30 seconds almost from start to finish, but Lee was unable to display his signature consistency on this night.

Lee skated his fourth lap in 30.02 seconds. He kept the lap times under 30 seconds over the next two stretches, but he went from 2,600m to 3,000m in 30.04 seconds. His 400m laps gradually worsened over the final 2,000m, and he covered his final 400m in 32.63 seconds.

Lee's struggles were part of South Korea's rocky start to this year's Winter Olympics on Saturday.

Lee Chae-won finished 54th among 61 cross-country skiers in the women's 7.5㎞ classic +7.5㎞ free event. In the women's freestyle skiing moguls, Seo Jee-won and Seo Jung-hwa missed the final after finishing in 13th and 14th places in the second qualification round. Only the top 10 skiers qualified for the medal round. (Yonhap)