SOCHI, Russia, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Park Seung-hi finally gave South Korea something to celebrate after a miserable 24 hours at the Sochi Winter Olympics when she won the women’s 1,000 metres short track competition.
Competing at the same rink where Kim Yuna was beaten in the women’s figure skating event the previous night, Park won her second gold medal of the Games with a superbly-judged race.
The 21-year-old made a lightning-fast start and although she briefly lost the lead to her 17-year-old team mate Shim Suk-hee, Park regained it with five laps to go and held on to win.
Fan Kexin of China passed Shim on the last lap to win the silver medal while Shim held on for the bronze in the four-woman final at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
“I am in really good shape, but there is no secret - I just worked really hard,” said Park.
”I am also an experienced athlete, which helped me a lot. I was slightly injured during the 500m race.
“I was hit, but I could recover fast thanks to the training and the experience and I showed good results today.”
While South Korea’s men failed to win a medal in short track at Sochi, the Asian country’s talented women’s team racked up five medals, with Park involved in three of them.
She teamed up with Shim to win gold in the 3,000m relay and also won a bronze in the 500. She lifted her career tally to five medals after collecting two bronze in Vancouver four years ago.
“For the last four years we trained really hard and today’s success is the result of our training,” Park said. “The Korean team has a very strong mental capability. I think today’s result shows it.”
Shim set the existing world record for the 1,000m in Canada in 2012 but was unable to go as fast at the lower altitude at the Black Sea Resort.
But she did finish her first Olympics with a full set of medals after her gold in the relay, silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 1,000m.
“When I won all these medals, I went through many different experiences and emotions and learned a lot,” she said.
“I made many mistakes here. I will just have to keep training harder.”
Reporting by Julian Linden, editing by Clare Lovell