|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)|
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)