Host South Korea wasted little time picking up its first gold medal of these PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, as short track speed skater Lim Hyo-jun won the men's 1,500-meter title.
Lim crossed the finish line in an Olympic record time of 2:10.485 at Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung, the sub-host city of all ice events, on the first day of the competition on Saturday.
This is Lim's first Olympics.
Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands took the silver medal and Semen Elistratov of Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) finished third.
"I can't believe this. It's a big competition," said the 21-year old South Korean. "I stood at the top of the podium, but I didn't make it by myself. Coaches and other teammates trained hard together. I want to thank them all."
|South Korean short track speed skater Lim Hyo-jun celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 1,500 meters at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena on Feb. 10, 2018. (Yonhap)|
This was about the only good bit of news for South Korea on this day.
The joint Korean women's hockey team had an Olympic debut to forget, losing to Switzerland 8-0 in the first Group B contest at Kwandong Hockey Centre, also in Gangneung.
Switzerland outshot Korea 52-8, with Alina Muller scoring four goals, including three in the first period alone.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in cheered on the short trackers, but left the arena before Lim clinched his gold so he could arrive at Kwandong in time for the puck drop at 9:10 p.m. Moon was accompanied by Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Kim Yong-nam, Pyongyang's nominal head of state.
The dignitaries saw the team they came to watch crumble under the weight of huge pressure, and Sarah Murray, the team's head coach, said she was relieved to get the jitters out of the way.
"I think we had a tough game. We were nervous," she said. "We definitely didn't play the systems as well as I wanted us to play, as well as we know we can play. We can't change what happened. We're just moving forward."
|Korean forward Grace Lee (R) dives for the puck against Lara Stalder of Switzerland during their Group B contest of the women's hockey tournament at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 10, 2018. (Yonhap)|
Elsewhere, South Korea's mixed doubles curling team of Jang Hye-ji and Lee Ki-jeong failed to advance to the semifinals after losing 6-4 to Switzerland.
Jang and Lee lost to the Olympic Athlete from Russia team earlier in the day, and dropped to 2-4 for the round robin stage.
In biathlon, Russian-born Anna Frolina finished 32nd in the women's sprint. The 34-year-old Frolina, who finished fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics under the Russian flag, clocked a time of 20 minutes, 37.30 seconds in the 7.5 km biathlon sprint. She was the tops among the Korean contingent, as Ko Eun-jung finished 78th and Mun Ji-hee finished 82nd.
The first gold medal of the PyeongChang Olympics came from cross-country skiing, where Charlotte Kalla won the women's skiathlon event at Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre in PyeongChang. (Yonhap)
|Swedish cross-country skier Charlotte Kalla holds up her gold medal from the women's 15-kilometer skiathlon event at the 23rd Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 10, 2018. (Yonhap)|
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