How to watch
Thursday, Feb. 22.
Men’s 500m quarterfinals: 5:00 a.m. ET
Men’s 500m semifinals: 5:42 a.m. ET
Men’s 500m finals: 6:13 a.m. ET
Takeaways from the heats
Hosts look to add another short track medal
All three South Korean skaters advanced to the quarterfinals, a number only matched by China. In the 1000m, Seo Yi-Ra, Hwang Dae-Heon, and Lim Hyo-Jun were all placed in the same quarterfinal heat and were forced to battle amongst themselves, but this is not the case in the 500m as they are all in seperate quarterfinals.
Despite South Korea’s overall dominance in the sport of short track, this event has been a weak spot for the host nation. A South Korean man hasn’t won 500m gold since Chae Ji-Hoon won the inaugural Olympic title in 1994. This year the South Koreans have a good chance of breaking the trend.
Big names missing
Charles Hamelin and Sjinkie Knegt were the two biggest names who failed to advance out of the heats. Knegt, the reigning world champion in the event, was eliminated after being called for a penalty.
“I wasn’t really surprised by the decision. I just made a big mistake,” Knegt said. “These kind of penalties are part of the sport. We know at the Games it’s always different and this shows exactly why this is different.”
Hamelin was also penalized in his heat. Hamelin still has one more event left in PyeongChang as he will be competing in the 5000m relay Final A with Canada.
Wu Dajing was the bright spot of the heats, breaking the 500m Olympic-record with a time of 40.264 seconds. However, having the fastest time in the heat doesn’t guarantee anything due to the unpredictability of short track.
Wu has struggled so far in PyeongChang finishing well outside the podium in the 1000m and 1500m, but should still be the favorite in the 500m. Since claiming silver in this event in Sochi, he has won a medal in the distance at each of the last four world championships, including back-to-back world titles in 2014 and 2015.
2014 Sochi Games medalists
Gold: Viktor Ahn (RUS)
Silver: Vladimir Grigoryev (RUS)
Bronze: Sjinkie Knegt (NED)
2017 World Championships medalists
Gold: Seo Yi-Ra (KOR)
Silver: Liu Shaoang (HUN)
Bronze: Charles Hamelin (CAN)