Kim Gil-ri (Seongnam City Hall), the “next ace” of the women’s short track team, consolidated her world No. 1 ranking by winning the first and second races of the 1500 meters at her first World Cup event back home in four years.
Kim was the first to cross the finish line in 2 minutes, 23.76 seconds in the women’s 1500m second race final at the fourth edition of the 2023-2024 International Ice Skating Union (ISU) World Cup on Sunday at the Mokdong Ice Rink in Yangcheon-gu, Seoul.
After winning the first race the day before in 2:35.785, Kim swept the women’s 1500 meters gold medals at the Games. This is the first time Kim has won more than one gold medal in an individual event at a World Cup. After winning the second race of the 1000 meters at the first World Cup, the first race of the 1500 meters at the second World Cup, and the 1500 meters at the third World Cup, Kim has now won gold in four consecutive World Cup events.
Kim was the final runner in the 3000m final alongside Shim Seok-hee (Seoul Metropolitan Government), Seo Hwi-min (Korea University), and Lee So-yeon (Sports Illustrated), and she made a tremendous run on the out-course to win the silver medal in 4:10.607.
With two more gold and one silver medal in her fourth World Cup, Kim has accumulated 865 points in the overall standings, extending her lead over second-place Christine Santos-Grizewald (USA – 805). Since last season, the ISU has awarded a special trophy, the Crystal Globe, to the top men’s and women’s overall finishers at World Cup events one through six. The fifth (Germany) and sixth (Poland) Short Track World Cup events will be held next February.
“I’m very happy to have won the individual medal for the first time,” Kim beamed. However, he was disappointed that he didn’t win gold in the relay. “If I had been in a good position at the beginning of the relay, I could have tried to overtake the Netherlands at the end,” he said. “The out-course is definitely very demanding. But I’ve been working on my fitness by increasing my workouts and running long distances.”
After winning gold in the men’s 1500m first race the day before, Park Ji-won (Seoul Metropolitan Government) of the men’s national team took silver in the 1500m second race final with a time of 2:18.698. Park, a Crystal Globe invitational winner last season, now has two gold and three silver medals this season and is just two points behind leader Steven DuBois (Canada-683) in the overall standings with 681 points.
Park likened the Short Track World Cup to soccer and vowed to look for upsets in the second half and overtime. “If the first three World Cup events are the first half of a soccer match, the fourth through sixth are the second half. We’ve just finished the last 15 minutes, and we’re going to utilize the remaining 30 minutes to move to the top of the standings,” he said, revealing his determination to win his second consecutive Crystal Globe.
In the men’s 500 final, Seo Ira (Hwaseong City Hall) took the silver medal with a time of 41.205 seconds. Starting in the second lane on the inside and trailing Denis Nikisha (Kazakhstan), Seo dug in at the start of the curve to take first place with two laps to go. She held the lead until the final bend, but was pipped to the post by Liu Xiaoyang (CHN), who pushed hard at the finish to take second place.