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South Korean wins 500 meters; Davis out

RICHMOND, British Columbia - Mo Tae-bum showed that South Korea is pretty good at the big oval, too.

Representing a country that is best known for its success in short track, Mo captured a surprising gold medal at the long track in men's 500-meter speedskating last night, shaking off a delay of more than an hour caused by mechanical problems with the ice-resurfacing machines.

Mo put up the second-best time of the opening race, then blazed around the track in 34.90 seconds to snatch the gold with a total time of 1 minute, 9.82 seconds. Japan took the next two spots, Keiichiro Nagashima claiming silver (1:09.98) and Joji Kato the bronze (1:10.01).

Mo became the first South Korean to win gold at the Winter Games in a sport other than short track, and he wasn't even considered the top contender from his country.

Lee Kang-seok came in ranked first in the world, just ahead of countryman Lee Kyou-hyuk. But Lee Kang-seok was edged for a medal, finishing fourth in (1:10.041); Lee Kyou-hyuk was far back in 15th.

Mika Poutala had the lead after the first round, but a couple of stumbles in the second heat cost him a shot at becoming the first Finnish male to win speedskating gold since 1928.

There was some question about whether this event would even finish on time.

After the first 10 pairs skated the opening race, there was a long delay while officials tried to repair the ice-resurfacing machines. Officials discussed whether to postpone the rest of the competition to a later date, but one of the machines was fixed in time to finish.

Through three events, the Americans are still looking for their first medal at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Tucker Fredricks was the best hope in the 500, but he stumbled in the first race coming off the first turn, lost momentum making sure he didn't fall and was out of it before he even got to the second heat. He finished 12th overall.

Shani Davis didn't even hang around for the second race. He ranked 18th (35.45) after the opening round and dropped out to focus on tomorrow's 1,000, in which he's the defending Olympic champion and world-record holder.

New York Sports