|Speed skater Mo Tae-bum spurts in men's 500 meters during the Sochi Olympic Games on Monday. (Yonhap)|
South Korean speed skater Mo Tae-bum finished fourth in the opening race of the men's 500 meters at the Sochi Winter Games on Monday, keeping alive his chance to win a second straight Olympic gold.
Mo finished the first run of the two-race event in 34.84 seconds, 0.25 second behind the leader Jan Smeekens of the Netherlands.
The second races will start at 6:55 p.m. in Russia (11:55 p.m. in South Korea).
Mo was grouped in the 18th among 20 pairs and skated in the outer lane next to Joji Kato of Japan, who won the Olympic bronze in 2010.
Michel Mulder of the Netherlands was in second in 34.63 seconds, followed by Keiichiro Nagashima of Japan, the silver medalist from 2010, in 34.79 seconds.
Mo is trying to become only the fourth speed skater to repeat as the Olympic champ in the men's 500ｍ.
Three other South Koreans raced in the event. Lee Kyou-hyuk, competing in his sixth Winter Games, ranked 12th in 35.16 seconds.
Olympic debutant Kim Jun-ho was in 25th at 35.43 seconds, and Lee Kang-seok, the bronze medal winner from 2006, was 0.02 second slower in 26th place. (Yonhap)