Hwang Dae-heon of South Korea celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 1,500m short track speed skating race at the Beijing Winter Olympics at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on Feb. 9, 2022. (Yonhap)
South Korean short track speed skater Hwang Dae-heon captured gold in the men's 1,500m at Beijing 2022 on Wednesday, bouncing back from a recent officiating controversy for the country's first gold in the Chinese capital.
Hwang edged out Steven Dubois of Canada for his first Olympic gold at Capital Indoor Stadium. Semen Elistratov of the Russian Olympic Committee took bronze.
Hwang came in 2:09.219, with Dubois checking in at 2:09.254 and Elistratov at 2:09.267.
This is the second career Olympic medal for Hwang, who won silver in the 500m at PyeongChang 2018.
Two other South Korean skaters in the final, Lee June-seo and Park Jang-hyuk, finished fifth and seventh. There were a record 10 skaters competing for medals.
South Korea entered Wednesday, the fifth day of competition, with one bronze medal. The most successful country in Olympic short track history had been shut out in Beijing after two days' worth of races, held back by abrupt falls and what many South Korean officials and fans feel had been biased officiating.
Hwang ended that drought and left no room for any video review with a clean race.
Hwang opened the 13 1/2-lap race well back in the pack. Then he climbed to fourth place on the fifth lap. And then with nine laps remaining, Hwang zipped past three skaters to take first place. He did not relinquish that position until the end.
Apparently confident he had clinched the gold cleanly, Hwang celebrated his gold by waving the national flag, Taegeukgi, on the ice well before the results became official.
South Korea now has 25 gold medals and 49 medals overall since short track made its Olympic debut in 1992.
The men's 1,500m was added in 2002. South Korea has produced four of the six champions so far. (Yonhap)