28/02/2024

Brendan Corey competed in the 1000m short track speed skating on day three. (Photo: Aus Olympic Team)

There was just one Australian to watch on day three of Beijing 2022, with speed skater Brendan Corey's Winter Olympics ending in heartbreak on the final turn.

It was a relatively quiet day three after a medal-filled day two for Australia’s Winter Olympians, with just one Aussie in the race.

The ever thrilling short track speed skating had clear air to feature prominently on Aussie screens on Monday night, with all the nation’s hopes pinned on Brendan Corey.

Short Track Speed Skating

Corey came into his debut Olympics in hot form, selected for the Australian team after finishing 2021 ranked 11th in the world in the 1000m.

He would go on to feature in his first ever A-final in the November World Cup in the Netherlands.

The hype was building all day for the event before Corey even took to the ice, with memories of Steven Bradbury’s famous gold 20 years ago front and centre.

Corey qualified second in Saturday’s eighth heat, behind Hungary’s Shaoang Liu.

There was early drama in the first quarterfinal, with South Korea’s Janghyuk Park stretchered off the ice with what looked to be a wrist injury. American Andrew Heo qualified fastest, with a 1:24.60.

Park was subsequently moved on through to the semis, after being taken out by his opposition.

In the second quarterfinal, World Cup winner Pascal Dion crashed out of contention after barely seconds, removing one of the event’s biggest medal threats.

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Japan’s Yoshinaga Kazuki was penalised for a late move, while South Korea’s Juneseo Lee qualified fastest.

Hearts were in the mouths of all Aussies as Corey took his position on the starting line. A false start sent the skaters straight back to it.

Starting on the inside, he held second position early ahead of Itzhak de Laat and John-Henry Krueger, despite their attempts to overtake.

With six laps to go Corey was pushed wide, falling down to fourth. But he was quick to attack again, watching the Hungarian’s back perfectly, and passing back into third.

Skating cleanly into the final lap, it was all over as he and the fellow leaders went crashing into the wall. It was only made worse with a penalty afterwards, the dagger through Australian hearts.

De Laat, known affectionately as the ‘King of the B-final’, lived up to his title and claimed the consolation prize.

The A-final was dominated by China and Hungary, with two and three skaters respectively.

In a dramatic twist, the race was paused with four laps to go after an apparent blade had become stuck in the ice, and needed to be dislodged.

And it didn’t end there, with Liu losing out on his gold due to a yellow card, with it instead being draped around Ren Ziwei‘s neck.

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