Krueger's silver ends U.S. speedskating medal drought

Samuel Girard triumphs in men's 1000-meter short-track speedskating competition; Choi Min-jeong wins women's 1500

Toronto Star via Getty Images Charles Hamelin, left, celebrates with Samuel Girard after the Olympic rookie won the 1,000-metre event in short-track speedskating. Liu was penalized for impeding, but it didn't affect the order of finish because he ended up last. The 21-year-old from Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., comfortably beat American John-Henry Krueger, the duo out in front of a huge crash in the penultimate lap that wiped out the rest of the field.

John-Henry Krueger of the US, took silver while Seo Yira of South Korea collected bronze. In speedskating, a lot can happen in a short amount of time.

On an interesting note Girard nearly did not advance to the A Final. Seo got up and kept going, but he was too far behind to catch the leaders. It arrived in what she called "the last critical section", about 6 seconds from the end of a race that took the victor 1 minute, 21.11 seconds to complete, just 0.01 seconds ahead of silver medalist Anna Veith of Austria, the 2014 champion. That's what the referees saw on the replay. "It is what it is".

After finding out the results, Girard hugged his coach Derrick Campbell before returning to the centre of the ice with a big smile. "Now I'm the young kid from Pittsburgh who came back from adversity and who ended up being the top in the world".

"It's an emotion that you can't really describe", Girard said. "We train together, all the team was behind me on this medal". "I wanted to protect my place because I knew there was a chance at passing me on the inside".

Krueger had a similar approach, quipping that "great minds think alike".

"There were so many thoughts rushing through my head", Krueger said. "We both stayed up front and it paid off for both of us".

One of the wipeouts took down medal contender Marianne St-Gelais of Canada in the 1,500 semifinals.

Li Jinyu of China took silver and Kim Boutin of Canada earned bronze to go with her same colored medal in the 500.

Girard becomes the first Canadian man to win the gold medal in the men's 1000 metre short track speed skating event at the Olympic Winter Games.

Girard easily reached the podium. One guy passed me and I went right back right away.

Girard had plenty of reason to be.

"I bumped into the American and that is it", Knegt said.

"Having a medal at maybe his last Olympics and my first one, a gold medal at my first Olympics, that's the best thing you can expect".

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