Maame Biney

Krueger Wins 1st US Speedskating Medal at Pyeongchang

In the women's 1500m, all three Americans were eliminated in their heats

John-Henry Krueger won the first speedskating medal of any kind for the United States at the 2018 Winter Games, getting silver in the 1000m.

He jumped out to an early lead and traded it with Canadian Samuel Girard, who went on to win gold. They both avoided a crash that took out the final three competitors, leaving their medals uncontested. Korean Seo Yira took bronze.

Krueger's medal is also U.S. speedskating's first since the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. He was the first American to reach a short-track final at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Krueger had managed to advance out of his stacked 1000m quarterfinal heat despite finishing behind 1500m silver and bronze medalists, Sjinkie Knegt (NED) and Semen Elistratov (OAR), and Ryosuke Sakazume, the judges ruling that Knegt — Krueger's training partner — had pushed him during the race.

In the semifinal, he jumped to the front of the pack and held off the other four skaters who bunched behind him in the last lap.

In another intriguing men's 1,000m quarterfinal, three young South Korean medal contenders, Seo, Hwang Dae-Heon and Lim Hyo-Jun, faced off, with only two able to advance.

Entering Pyeongchang, Lim was the least decorated of the three young skaters, but that changed with him winning the 1500m. He and Seo progressed in a very close race, with Hwang falling and committing a penalty just shy of the finish line.

The other Americans in action Saturday, three women in the 1500m, didn't fare as well as Krueger. 

Maame Biney and Lana Gehring were both wild cards going into the event after exploding at U.S. trials. While Biney received a lot of attention at trials, Gehring silently won both the 1000m and 1500m. 

But both skaters were eliminated in their heats Saturday, finishing several seconds behind the pace. Biney and Gehring had also missed the semifinals inthe 500m.

Jessica Kooreman, of Melvindale, Michigan, was the final member of the three-women team to skate in Pyeongchang, but was penalized in her 1500m heat and didn't progress to the semifinals, either.

Hometown hero Choi Min-jeong took gold in the race, the two-time overall world champion zooming away from the field in the final lap.

It was a moment of redemption for Choi, who was coming off of heartbreak in the 500m final where she finished in second place and then was penalized, surrendering her medal.

China's Li Jinyu and Canada's Kim Boutin took silver and gold, respectively.

NBC Olympics contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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