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Team USA Skates In Men's 500m And Women's 1000m Qualifiers At 2018 Winter Games

By Chris Cole | Feb. 20, 2018, 9:14 a.m. (ET)

Team USA speed skating wrapped up its individual events on the short track circuit at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 with the women’s 1000m and men’s 500m on Tuesday night at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Jessica Kooreman (Melvindale, Mich.) finished third in her 1000m qualifying heat, missing out on the quarterfinals, with a time of 1:31.657.

Afterward, she said the race might have been the last of her Olympic career.

“I’ve been skating 32 years competitively, haven’t taken a season off between inline and ice, and have been on the international circuit since I was 12. So, it’s time for a rest,” Kooreman said. “… Never say never, but I doubt you’ll see me in four years.”

Entering the last turn in the third spot, Kooreman, 34, had to make a move to have a shot at advancing, but couldn’t get around Canada’s Valerie Maltais.

“I gave everything I had today,” said Kooreman, who skated her quickest lap in 9.23 seconds. “With that being said, it just didn’t happen.”

Lana Gehring (Glenview, Ill.) failed to advance out of her qualifying heat in the women’s 1000m due to a penalty.

Gehring skated in the back for most of her race and was penalized for contact with Japan’s Sumire Kikuchi.

“It was my mistake,” Gehring said. “It was not a good move or anything like that, so it is what it is.”

“I was definitely hoping this event would be a lot better performance but it didn’t turn out like that,” Gehring said.

John-Henry Krueger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) failed to advance to the men’s 500m quarterfinals after finishing last in his qualifying heat with a time of 41.008.

Starting in the outside position, Krueger was relegated to the back without an opportunity to improve his position most of the race.

“During the race, there’s no one else to blame but me,” Krueger said. “I wasn’t attacking the corners. I was very passive.”

Krueger won a silver medal in the men’s 1000m on Saturday.

Aaron Tran (Federal Way, Wash.) was not able to advance out of his 500m heat due to a penalty.

Tran managed to maintain his feet in the middle of a collision, but couldn’t keep up with the top two skaters before being penalized after the race for his part in the incident.

“That’s short track,” Tran said. “There’s just so much that can go right or go wrong, it’s just so unpredictable. That’s why I love short track though.”

Thomas Hong (Laurel, Md.) finished his heat in third with a time of 43.096. The People’s Republic of Korea’s Kwang Bom Jong went down in front of Hong early on, giving the top two skaters a sizable advantage for most of the race.

“It’s really difficult to come back from a situation like that,” Hong said.

The first-time Olympian and Korean native’s best lap was 8.510.

“Competing here in Korea has been very special to me,” Hong said. “I just really enjoy the environment. It’s an environment that I’m very familiar with given that my family is Korean. I think that helped me stay in a good mindset throughout the Games and it’s been a good experience.”

For results, post-race interviews and other media information, visit the US Speedskating Media Page.

Short track concludes on Thursday, February 22 with the men’s 5000m relay. Live coverage of the race will be streamed on nbcolympics.com beginning at 8:47 p.m. KT (6:47 a.m. ET).

Quotes from Jessica Kooreman

  • “I gave everything I had today. With that being said, it just didn’t happen.”
  • “I wasn’t sure how the race was going to go actually from the beginning so I was wanting to wait and kind of see how it played out and I kind of knew that [Valerie Maltais] was going to the lead a little bit early so I was kind of prepared for that and I just wanted to sit in, feel it out and make a move when I needed to.”
  • “I’ve been skating 32 years competitively, haven’t taken a season off between inline and ice and been on the international circuit since I was 12. So it’s time for a rest.”
  • “Never say never, but I doubt you’ll see me in four years. I’ll be 38 years old and hopefully with some kids.”

Quotes from Lana Gehring

  • “It was my mistake. It was not a good move or anything like that, so it is what it is.”
  • “I was definitely hoping this event would be a lot better performance but it didn’t turn out like that.”

Quotes from John-Henry Krueger

  • “During the race, there’s no one else to blame but me. I wasn’t attacking the corners. I was very passive. What some coaches would say was I was being a tourist in that race. Instead of actually participating that race, I was just sitting there and watching it. The results of that definitely show.”
  • “After the silver medal, I was a little worried. I thought, “What is my mental state going to be after this? Am I going to be complacent and just try to kick my legs up and relax?” But it was actually quite the opposite. I felt so much more motivated.”
  • “I’m looking for perfection now.”

Quotes from Aaron Tran

  • “That’s short track. There’s just so much that can go right or go wrong, it’s just so unpredictable. That’s why I love short track though.”
  • “It didn’t really work out for me this time around but that’s the sport.”
  • “For the 500m, (the start position) is really important. … It makes a big difference.”

Quotes from Thomas Hong

  • “My approach was to just start off really hard and hopefully if I can pick someone off that first straightaway, I was planning to do so. The North Korean skater (Kwang Bom Jong) and the Japanese skater (Keita Watanabe) collided in that corner and it really slowed me down. I wasn’t expecting that but I tried to fight through it.”
  • “It’s really difficult to come back from a situation like that.”
  • “The atmosphere here is great. Korean people really love their short track so they get loud, they cheer really hard. It’s nice to feed off that energy, I just wish I could have brought better results.”
  • “Competing here in Korea has been very special to me. I just really enjoy the environment. It’s an environment that I’m very familiar with given that my family is Korean. I think that helped me stay in a good mindset throughout the Games and it’s been a good experience.”