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Page last updated at 04:11 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Tae-Bum Mo wins Olympic 500m speed skating title

Tae-bum Mo wins 500m speed skating gold

Tae-Bum Mo became South Korea's first Olympic gold medal winner in the men's 500m speed skating after sealing victory at the Richmond Oval.

Japan's Keiichiro Nagashima won the silver medal and compatriot Joji Kato took the bronze in Vancouver.

Mo's time for his two races was 69.82 seconds, 0.16 secs ahead of Nagashima, with Kato recording a time of 70.01.

The highest placed Canadian was Jamie Gregg, with favourite and world record holder Jeremy Wotherspoon ninth.

For Mo it was the perfect way to celebrate his 21st birthday as South Korea earned their second gold medal and third in total at the 2010 Games.

Mika Poutala had the lead after the first round, but a couple of stumbles in the second heat cost him a chance of becoming the first Finnish male to capture speed skating gold since 1928.

Mo stood in second place after the opening heat when he served notice with a run of 34.92.

And racing against sentimental home-crowd favourite Wotherspoon, Mo powered his way to a time of 34.906 to claim victory.

"I raced a lot better than expected in the first race. So it gave me courage to do better in the second race," said Mo.

"I kept practising over and over again and I think that was very important and I really wanted to do well. It's my best birthday present and it's my present to Koreans.

South Korean world champion Lee Kang-Seok, third in the event at the 2006 Turin Games, missed out on a medal, finishing in fourth, with his rival Lee Kyou-Hyuk well off the pace in 15th.

Asia's only previous Olympic long-track speed skating gold medal was won by Japan's Hiroyasu Shimizu in 1998 on home ice at Nagano, although at least one Asian skater has reached the 500m Olympic men's podium since 1984.

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see also
Winter Olympics day four photos
15 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Live - Winter Olympics day four
15 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Sablikova wins speed skating gold
14 Feb 10 |  Speed skating
Kramer takes gold in Games record
13 Feb 10 |  Speed skating

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