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[PyeongChang 2018] Converted speed skater Park Seung-hi finishes 16th in women's 1,000m

Park Seung-hi, a former short track speed skating star, on Wednesday performed at her first and last Olympics as a speed skater, finishing 16th at the women's 1,000 meter race.

   At her third Olympics, Park clocked 1:16.11 in the 1,000m race at Gangneung Oval, located in the sub-host city of Gangneung. The figure hovers below her personal best of 1:14.64 and season best of 1:14.64.

   Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors captured gold with an Olympic record of 1:13.56, followed by Japan's Nao Kodaira with 1:13.82 and Miho Takagi with 1:13.98.

   Her teammate, Kim Hyun-yung, who also joined the 1,000m race, finished the race with a time of 1:16.366 in 18th place. Park and Kim's International Skating Union's rankings stand at 16th and 22nd, respectively.

Park Seung-hi waves to the crowd after finishing her race. Yonhap
Park Seung-hi waves to the crowd after finishing her race. Yonhap

   "I think I did really well for the first 600m, but I seem to have lost strength at the latter part," Park said.

   Still only 25, Park was a well-established short track speed skater, collecting two golds and a bronze at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, just before she decided to switch her discipline. She won two bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

   Having won medals in all women's short track speed skating events, Park originally intended to retire from the ice, but soon changed her mind and decided to challenge the speed skating to test her limits.

   The skater's performance on Wednesday was thus still meaningful as she had to start from scratch over the last four years.

    "If I raced as a short track speed skater, I would have delivered a more satisfactory result. Although I was out of medal contention after my transition, I am thankful that the public nevertheless encouraged me," Park told Yonhap News Agency after her race.

   She is not the only converter at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Lee Seung-hoon and Kim Bo-reum are also examples of short track skaters who switched to speed skating, although they normally focus on long-distance events, while Park took on shorter events.

   "I was really nervous as I had to prepare for the speed skating races in a short time. I felt more burden as a short track skater, but I was more nervous today," Park said.

   It marked the final race for Park at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

   "This is my last Olympics. There's no change about that, as I already postponed my retirement for four years. I did everything I wanted," Park said. The skater will remain in Gangneung for time being as she is still a potential substitute for the team pursuit.

   Kim will continue her journey in the Winter Games in the 500m race.

   "I was satisfied about the start, but my performance for the last 400m was not good enough," Kim said after the race. "I will perform well in the 500m race."

Korea Herald daum