Short Track World Cup shines with golden success in Gangneung
Another test event ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the KB ISU Short Track World Cup 2016-2017 was successfully held at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
Korea has never missed its top post in the short track events, one of the winter Olympic sport categories. This time, Korea won gold in the 500-meter race and 3,000-meter relay thanks to Choi Mon-jeong, while Shim Suk-hee obtained two gold medals in the 1,500-meter race and 3,000-meter relay. One silver and one bronze medal were also added to Korea's winnings.
This was the first international competition ever held at the Gangneung Ice Arena, the venue for short track events of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018.
World-leading short track champions participated in the competition to adjust themselves to the stadium and the ice quality.
The three-day competition, which drew approximately 29,500 people in total, proved that not a single country dominates in both men's and women's matches. Regarding men's events, in particular, Korea, China, Canada, Russia and the Netherlands engaged in neck-and-neck competition while China held a slightly higher strategic dominance. In the women's matches, Elise Christie of the U.K. topped in the 1,000-meter race, showing that Korea is not without its challengers.
Labeled as a "test event," this competition drew the attention of many, focusing not only on the overall result of the athletes, but also on the management and the facilities. .
IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg said that, "The game management of The Short Track World Cup showed perfection in all ways, including the games management, participation of the audience and the stadium facilities." She also added that the IOC has already evaluated that PyeongChang is ready to host the Winter Olympics.
Participating athletes all said that they were surprised by the shouts of the audience which filled the stadium even though it was a world cup event, not an Olympic event. They also commented on the ice quality as being firm and smooth enough which helped them to display their capabilities to the fullest extent.
Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said in the opening ceremony of the world cup that, "I can already feel the passion for the Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena where short track and figure skating events will be held during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018."
"I hope this competition can become a wonderful festival that heralds a powerful prelude of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics," he added.