Bronze Medallist Kim Min-seok of South Korea celebrates on the podium during the flower ceremony at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
BEIJING -- Speed skater Kim Min-seok brought South Korea its first medal of Beijing 2022 on Tuesday, grabbing bronze for his second consecutive Olympics.
Kim finished the men‘s 1,500m race at the National Speed Skating Oval in 1:44.24, 1.03 seconds back of the champion, Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands.
Another Dutch skater, Thomas Krol, took the silver medal in 1:43.55.
At PyeongChang 2018, Kim also captured the bronze medal to become the first Asian to reach the Olympic podium in the men‘s 1,500m.
In speed skating, athletes compete in pairs, with the fastest time winning. In Tuesday’s 1,500m race, there were 14 pairs, with Peter Michael of New Zealand skating alone to begin the competition.
Kim skated in the 11th pair next to Nuis, the world record holder with 1:40.17 and the 2018 Olympic champion. In the pair immediately ahead of them, Krol had set an Olympic record, and Nuis broke that by 0.34 second. Kim kept pace with Nuis for the most part and put up a strong time with eight skaters left.
That remaining group included the top three from the International Skating Union World Cup standings this season: Joey Mantia of the United States, Ning Zhongyan of China and Connor Howe of Canada.
Skating in the 13th pair, Mantia finished a disappointing sixth. Ning was in the next group, and he ended up in seventh place.
Howe, racing in the last pair, matched Kim‘s 700m split with 49.13 seconds but finished in fifth place, 0.62 back of the South Korean.
Kim could add another medal in the men’s team pursuit, scheduled to begin with the quarterfinals Sunday and then the final next Tuesday. Kim, Lee Seung-hoon and Chung Jae-won combined for silver in 2018, and they‘re back for another go in Beijing. (Yonhap)