Exciting mass start event to conclude the Olympics in speed skating ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


24 février 2018

Exciting mass start event to conclude the Olympics in speed skating

Mass start races concluded the speed skating events of the Olympics today at the Gangneung oval in front of a roaring crowd.

By Jackob Savard
Photos: Thomas di Nardo (https://www.thomasdinardo.com) & Schaats Foto’s

It was the first time that the spectacular mass start event was raced at the Olympic games.

Ladies’ semifinals
Francesca Lollobrigida from Italy was dominant in the first semifinal gathering some sprint laps’ points and crossing the finish line in first position. The inline speed skating specialist came to Pyeongchang as one of the favorite to win the mass start. Canada’s Keri Morrison did a perfect race and finished in third place to qualify for the final alongside Dan Guo, Irene Schouten, Nana Takagi and Kim Bo-reum who also finished in the top 8.

There was a bit more action in the second ladies semifinal as Ivanie Blondin fell and took out Ayano Sato and Annouk van der Weijden. Sato and Blondin, who are respectively fourth and sixth in the World cup classification, would not take part in the finale. Van der Weijden managed to come back to the pack and finished second despite the fall. A medal on the distance would help her sweetened her heartbreaking fourth place on 5000m.

Men’s semifinals
Linus Heidegger from Austria was the first to pass the finish line in the first semifinal after a little breakaway with Andrea Giovannini from Italy and Shane Williamson from Japan. The three qualified for the main event. Other favorites including Lee Seung-Hoon, Alexis Contin, Koen Verweij and Olivier Jean also qualified for the final as they concluded the race in the top 8.

Peter Michael raced with confidence in the second semi and was the first to finish the 16 laps race. Almost every skater got sprint points in this race and it was a matter of who got the most. Sven Kramer who was racing in his first mass start of the season did a solid race and collected 6 points to earn his ticket for the A final. Inline speed skating specialists Bart Swings, Livio Wenger and Joey Mantia also managed  to qualify.

Ladies' final
Saskia Alusalu started her race like she did in Calgary earlier this season by trying to escape the pack with a breakaway. The pack came back on her with 3 laps to go to prepare for the sprint. Nana Takagi from Japan won the sprint finishing ahead of crowd favorite’s Kim Bo-reum and Irene Schouten from the Netherlands. Alusalu got fourth place with the 15 points she won in the intermediate sprints. Lollobrigida who’s leading the mass start World cup classification finished in 7th.

Men’s final
A lot of skaters tried to escape from the pack in the final but it was finally the sprint that decided the podium. Nobody was able to beat Korean star Lee Seung-hoon in the last stretch. His 16 years old teammate Jaewon Chung as a little bit to do with this victory as he leaded the chase group for a long time to help Lee come back on the breakaway and fight in the sprint. Bart Swings from Belgium and Koen Verweij from the Netherlands finished in second and third. Livio Wenger who was in the breakaway for the majority of the race finished fourth with 11 points. The 2017 World championships medalists on the distance Joey Mantia, Alexis Contin et Olivier Jean had a difficult race and finished 9th, 10th and 14th.

That’s it for speed skating at the Olympic games! The next long track event will be the Sprint world championships that will be held in Changchun, China on 3th and 4th March.

Visit our special coverage page to find all our articles related to Pyeongchang 2018 by clicking HERE

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