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U.S. skaters struggle, but Oval sees five new world records at short track World Cup

KEARNS — On Saturday, two-time Olympic medalist Katherine Reutter said the process of coming out of retirement was akin to taking unpleasant doses of medicine each competition that would, over time, make her strong enough to achieve her goals.

On Sunday, she said her final 1500-meter race of the weekend was the hardest dose to swallow yet.

“Today’s medicine tastes worse than yesterday’s,” she said, contorting her face after finishing sixth in the 1500-meter race that was won with a sweep by the Korean team. “It tastes way worse.”

Finishing last in the race won by Suk Hee Shim (2:22.384), with her teammates Jiyoo Kim (2:22.837) earning silver, and Do Hee Noh (2:22.954) taking bronze, was hard to accept because she felt like she’d underestimated her own abilities, which led to a tactical mistake.

“I don’t think I rushed it,” she said of deciding when to make her passes during the race, “but I don’t think I made the right choice either. I wanted to go inside, and I had enough speed to go outside. The problem is when you’re with three Koreans, inside is easier than outside.” She opted for the quicker, more efficient passes, which cost her the race.

“But now … I can see clearly, I had the strength, I had the speed, and next time I’ll just go outside and avoid the situation entirely,” she said of the slip that forced her to the back of the pack.

Reutter’s performance, however flawed, was the one bright spot for the women’s team this weekend, while the men’s team’s best moment came when John-Henry Krueger won bronze on Saturday. Women’s short track coach Alex Izykowski said her success is a testament to her talent that he hopes will translate into a more successful team overall.

“What she’s doing is very impressive,” Izykowski said. “The sport has changed … and to be able to come back (after three years in retirement) and make three A finals over the first two World Cups of the season proves what an incredible athlete she is. I’m excited to see what she can accomplish in the next 13 months.”

He said it’s her leadership and her accomplishments that will help the rest of the team improve.

“Success breads success,” Izykowski said. “She brings a level to the team that we’re all going to strive to achieve. We’re pushing each other every day, and it starts with her. It’s going to translate to our whole team.”

In the women’s 500-meter race, Great Britain’s Elise Christie set a world record in the semifinals but left without a medal after falling in the finals. Canada’s Marianne St. Gelais won gold (43.059), while Korea’s Minjeong Choi earned silver (43.244) and China’s Kexin Fan finished with bronze (43.249).

In the men’s 500-meter race, Kazikstan’s Abzal Azhgaliyev earned gold (40.373), China’s Tianyu Han earned silver (40.419) and Canada’s Charles Hamelin earned bronze (46.260).

The World Cup was a remarkable display of the sport and how much faster athletes are each competition. The Utah Olympic Oval lived up to its billing as the fastest ice on Earth, as five new world records were set and 49 new national records.

One of those national records, was set by Reutter, who has only been training for six months, in the semifinals of Saturday’s 1500-meter race. She said she feels very close to a break through, although she’s unsure what it will take to push her onto the podium.

“I feel like I’m right below the threshold,” she said. “I’m not sure what’s got to click, but once it does, it will put me over the edge. I’m sad I’m not there now, but I know that moment is coming. I’ve just got to take my medicine and wait for it to get here.”


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