Cheek wins gold in Speed Skating
13 February 2006
Joey Cheek became the second American in three days to win gold at the Oval Lingotto with his victory in the men’s 500 metres on Monday 13 February (Day 3).
Cheek won with a combined time of 69.76 seconds for the two 500 metre races, defeating Dmitry Dorofeyev of Russia, who finished on 70.41 seconds.
Korea’s Kang Seok Lee narrowly missed out on the silver by 0.02 seconds.
Cheek’s dominance over the two races was evident in the fact that he was the only skater to go under the elusive 35 second barrier, doing so twice.
Japanese pre-race favourite Joji Kato failed to impress as he placed sixth more than a second behind the 26-year-old American. Kato’s team-mate and Nagano 1998 gold medallist Hiroyasu Shimizu was also off the pace, finishing 18th.
Japan’s best result was achieved by Olympic debutant Yuya Oikawa who posted a combined score of 70.56 in a very credible 4th.
A day inundated with false starts and falls saw both Beorn Nijehuis of the Netherlands and his race partner Sun Chun Kwon of Korea, the first to falter in the first round of races.
Nijehuis caught the ice with his left blade tip going into the straightaway exit turn and Kwon clipped his own skates in the next turn and slid into the barriers. Both athletes, in true Olympic spirit, finished their race and crossed the line to place 35th and 37th respectively.