South Korean speed skater Kim Min-seok, 21, is headed for a second straight medal at the Winter Olympics.
Kim took home the 1,500-meter title with a time of 1:44:567 at the ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships in Milwaukee, the U.S. on Saturday local time, beating Jess Neufeld of Canada by 1.42 seconds.
Although European speed skating powerhouses did not compete this time, it is meaningful that the 21-year-old recorded the 1:44 mark for the first time during the 2019-2020 season. The South Korean speed skater recorded the second best time this season, following Dutch speed skater Thomas Krol’s 1:43:67 he posted at the 2020 European Speed Skating Championships in the Netherlands in January.
Kim Min-seok made a name for himself as a high school student by winning a surprise gold medal at the 2017 Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan. After putting on 3 kilograms to build up strength, Kim became the first Asian speed skater to win a medal (bronze) at the Olympics in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics with the record of 1:44:930. Kim gained confidence in the 1,500-meter event, which was dominated by European skaters, and took the second place at the 2018-2019 ISU Speed Skating World Cup.
But Kim showed below-par performance during the 2019-2020 ISU Speed Skating World Cup, coming in 4th at 1:46 at the first competition. He kept failing to skate under 1:45 although he did not have injuries. In the meantime, Ning Zhongyan of China recorded his personal best of 1:43:45 and overtook Kim at 1:44:918 at the third competition.
Kim, who won an Olympic medal at a young age, is praised as a top-class skater with his game management strategy. “It is important that Kim develops speed and stamina, in other words the power to skate at a fast pace for the entire race, to win a medal at the Olympics two years later,” said Sports commentator Jegal Seong-ryeol.
Jae-Yeong Yoo email@example.com