South Korean athlete Kim Min-seok brought the country its first medal of Beijing 2022 in speed skating on Tuesday, grabbing bronze for his second consecutive Olympics.
Kim finished the men’s 1,500m race in 1:44.24, 1.03 seconds back of the champion, Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands at the National Speed Skating Oval.
Dutch skater Thomas Krol finished in 1:43.55 taking the silver medal.
Kim at PyeongChang 2018 also captured the bronze medal to become the first Asian to reach the Olympic podium in the men’s 1,500m.
Athletes compete in pairs, with the fastest time winning in speed skating. And during Tuesday’s 1,500m race, there were 14 pairs, with Peter Michael of New Zealand skating alone to begin the competition.
Kim skated in the 11th pair next to Nuis, who has been the world record holder with 1:40.17 and also the 2018 Olympic champion. Krol in the pair immediately ahead of them, had set an Olympic record, and Nuis broke that by 0.34 second. Kim for the most part kept pace with Nuis and put up a strong time with eight skaters left.
The remaining group included the top three from the International Skating Union World Cup standings this season: Joey Mantia of the United States, Ning Zhongyan of China and Connor Howe of Canada.
Mantia skating in the 13th pair finished a disappointing sixth. Ning who was in the next group, and he ended up in seventh place.
Racing in the last pair, Howe, matched Kim’s 700m split with 49.13 seconds but finished in fifth place, 0.62 back of the South Korean.
It is expected that Kim could add another medal in the men’s team pursuit, scheduled to begin with the quarterfinals Sunday and then the final next Tuesday.