Gao Tingyu secured China’s first ever Olympic gold medal in long track speed skating on Saturday, winning the men’s 500m competition.
The 24-year-old shot off the line and flew through the finish to set the Olympic record at 34.32 in the seventh pairing. Gao then sat and watched eight more pairs compete, and one-by-one he came closer to capturing the gold.
He won the bronze medal in 2018, becoming the first male Chinese long track skater to win an Olympic medal.
Cha Min-Kyu of South Korea earned the silver medal for the second straight Olympics. He was 0.07 seconds off Gao’s mark.
Japan’s Wataru Morishige came in third for the bronze medal. He is just 21 years old and made his World Cup debut this season.
Reigning world champion Laurent Dubreuil of Canada missed the podium by 0.03 seconds.
Jordan Stolz, the 17-year-old from Wisconsin, skated a 34.85 in the fifth pairing, the first sub 35-second time of the competition. He won the 500m and 1000m races at U.S. Trials in January.
He finished 13th in his Olympic debut.
American Austin Kleba also skated in his first Olympic race on Saturday. The 22-year-old recorded a time of 35.40, which landed him in 27th. Kleba won his pairing, the first of the event, and then went sliding into the side padding.
The contest was initially delayed for ice maintenance and started approximately 15 minutes late.
Women’s team pursuit
The women’s team pursuit quarterfinals kicked off the night’s competition at the Ice Ribbon.
Eight teams skated with four advancing. The quarterfinal was a time trial, and the next two rounds will involve head-to-head races.
Japan, Netherlands, Canada and the ROC each advanced.
The Japanese team won the gold medal in 2018 with a time of 2:53.89.
Canada finished with the second-best time. Isabelle Weidemann skated two days after earning a silver medal in the women’s 5000m.
The ROC bested China by 2.92 seconds for the final spot in the semifinals.
The United States won the bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics but did not qualify for 2022.
Speed skating returns on Sunday for the men’s team pursuit quarterfinals and women’s 500m competition.
Erin Jackson and Brittany Bowe will race for the U.S. in the 500m while the American team of Joey Mantia, Casey Dawson, Emery Lehman and Ethan Cepuran will look to reach the semifinals in the team pursuit.
Coverage begins at 8 a.m. ET Sunday morning. See a full speed skating schedule here.