The Case of the Missing Short-Track Skating Lap

      March 26, 2010 10:45

      At the International Skating Union World Short-Track Speed Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, which ended on Monday, the skaters in the men's 3,000 m Super Final finished the race without skating one last lap, it emerged on Wednesday. The 3,000 m race requires 27 laps, but they skated only 26.

      Lee Ho-suk came from behind in the 26th lap and overtook J.R. Celski of the U.S. to finish first. Kwak Yoon-gy, who was in third place, also managed to pass Celski to finish second. Celski came in third.

      However, no one -- neither the athletes, coaches, ISU officials, referees nor the audience -- realized that the skaters had not raced the 27th lap, so the awards ceremony took place and the competition concluded. The ISU only discovered the fact later, and did not post the time records of the race on its official website.

      It turned out that the ISU referee made a mistake in counting the number of laps, and rang the bell indicating the final lap too early. The mistake will not affect the results of the race, although the times will not be recognized.

      The Korea Skating Union said on Wednesday, "The Korean national short track team analyzed its own video, and we confirmed that all seven skaters in the final skated one lap short."

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