Lee sets world record in 500 meters

By Doug Alden KEARNS, Utah, AP

South Korea’s Lee Kang-Seok set a world record in the 500 meters by finishing in 34.25 seconds at the world single distances speedskating championships on Friday.

Lee’s time in the second race topped Joji Kato’s record of 34.30, set at the Utah Olympic Oval in November 2005. Lee also won the 500 title on Friday with a combined time of 68.69 seconds for the two heats.

Yuya Oikawa of Japan finished second (69.02) and Tucker Fredericks of the United States was third (69.03). Fredericks tied his personal best in the opening race with a time of 34.48 and skated with Lee in the second-to-last pairing, finishing several yards behind after Lee blew past him in the final turn.

Lee said through a translator that he knew after 100 meters he could have a winning time, but not necessarily a world record.

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won the women’s 3,000 overcoming Dutch skater Renate Groenewold’s time by 0.32 seconds in the final pairing.

Skaters from the Netherlands had won both races on the opening day on Thursday and Groenewold had the Dutch poised for 3-for-3 when she skated a personal best 3:58.41.

Sablikova, the World Cup champion in the 3,000, needed a strong finish and pushed for the final 200 meters and won it with a time of 3:58.09. Sablikova glanced over at her time after the finish and spread her arms wide as she glided through the turn.

Groenewold won the last two Olympic silver medals in the 3,000. Canada’s Cindy Klassen, who won Olympic bronze in the 3,000 last year, finished third in 3:58.50.