'Untouchable' Wu wins China's first gold at PyeongChang Olympic Games

Updated 2018-02-23 10:22:03 Xinhua

Wu Dajing of China celebrates during venue ceremony of men's 500m event of short track speed skating at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena, Gangneung, South Korea, Feb. 22, 2018. Wu Dajing claimed gold medal in a time of 0:39.584 and set new world record. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

When Wu Dajing slid past the finish line at Gangneung Ice Arena in 39.584 seconds, breaking the men's 500 meters short track world record for the second time in the day, the whole arena burst into applause and cheers.

The 23-year-old world No. 1 proved his dominance in the event by shattering the world record twice within an hour, and led the races so much that he was untouchable by his opponents.

"I didn't give my opponents or the referees any chance (to give me penalty). I just kept my speed. More importantly, I kept believing in myself," Wu said after the match.

Wu, the 2014 Sochi Olympic 500m silver medalist, has won 10 races at world championships and in the World Cup since then and has been a favorite in his speciality event in PyeongChang.

But until after Thursday's races, the prospect was somewhat clouded, following a series of penalties on the Chinese short track skaters here, some of which have caused controversies.

"We were under a lot of pressure after all the difficulties we have experienced here recently. This is the last day of short track competitions. Everybody told me not to think too much and just do my best race by race," said Wu.

Thursday's competitions were by no means easy.

In the quartersfinals, Wu led from the very start and broke the world record with 39.800 seconds.

Then came the semifinal, in which a problem with Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor's skates forced the race to restart.

"I've already finished three laps by then, and I felt exhausted. But I just kept going. It was a kind of test to my endurance," said Wu.

But the unstoppable Wu, keeping his speed, continued his lead after the second start and made it to the final A beyond any doubt.

In the final, Wu made a strong start and again kept the lead before winning the gold medal with a time of 39.584 seconds, 0.216 faster than the former mark he just set earlier in the quarterfinal.

It is the first gold medal of Chinese delegation at PyeongChang 2018 and also the first gold medal of Chinese men's short track skaters since it became an official event in the 1992 Albertville Olympics.

"If the gold can be shared, I hope to share it with all of the people [in the Chinese team]," said Wu, hand on his left chest where the Five-Starred Red Flag of China was printed.

Later in the evening, Wu and his teammates also won China a silver in the men's 5,000m relay.

"I think today is a good start. I really look forward to the 2022 Beijing Olympics, and hope we will do better," said Wu.

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