France wins short-track mixed relay after top 3 teams disqualified
LAKE PLACID — France left the Winter World University Games with five gold medals, but one of those came with a bit of controversy.
Competing in the final round of the short-track speedskating mixed team relay event Friday at the 1932 Jack Shea Arena, Frace picked up its third gold medal of the games. The event started with two semifinal heats, where teams had to qualify to race in the top heat if they wanted to win gold. Each team was made up of five speedskaters: three men and two women. Each skater does three laps before tagging or transitioning to the next skater.
However, in the top heat, the French team didn’t finish in the top spot. They didn’t even finish in the top three.
The first three teams that crossed the finish line were from South Korea, the United States and China, respectively.
Naturally, all three celebrated as if they had medaled. But, as it turns out, they didn’t.
After the French finished in fourth place, their coach began to argue that the top three didn’t complete a full lap rotation before making their transition.
It turns out they didn’t complete the full rotation before making a transition because there was a problem with the lap counter, which automatically disqualified all three teams. The French team, however, ignored the lap counter and finished the rotation before making a transition.
After speedskating officials watched replay after replay, while others scoured through their sheet of rules to figure out what to do, it was determined France won gold.
But with three teams disqualified, who won silver and bronze?
In the final B heat — which was seen as more of a consolation race after not qualifying for the A heat in the semifinal — Kazakhstan won the race, which earned them a silver medal, while Japan was second in the heat, taking bronze.
In the individual short-track speedskating event, Korea’s Choi Minjeong won gold in the women’s 500m competition. She won the race after leading from start to finish. Wang Yichao, of China, won silver and Park Jiyun, of Korea, earned bronze.
In the men’s 500m, Miyata Shogo captured gold for Japan.
“This is the first medal for me so I’m very happy with it,” Shogo said in a statement. “It was a surprise. Yesterday I skated the 1,500, my strongest event, and wasn’t really confident with it. But this time I had a good feeling in my skating. I talked to my coach in Japan and he convinced me to forget about the 1,500 and try to do well in the 500.”
Korea’s Kim Taesung secured silver, while Li Kongchao, of China, was the bronze medalist.