Prodigious Jin skates into triple-gold history
One gold medal is a great achievement for any athlete. To win two or three in a career is astonishing. To win three in a single Games is remarkable, something that very few have achieved. In Turin, Jin Seon-yu of South Korea joined that club when she won the third gold of the Games in the women's 1000m.
Jin was only 17 years old, but she was already clearly a magnificent talent and she got her first taste of the Olympic Games in the 500m, a race she had not been expected to win. Sure enough she finished 10th, but now knew what to expect.
Next up was the 1500m, in which she was the reigning world champion. Jin's closest challenger was considered to be her team-mate Choi Eun-kyung, who had been world champion in the two seasons before Jin.
Both skaters won their semi-finals to ease their way into the final. The race went as expected, with the two South Koreans out front and pulling clear of the field. But it was Jin who proved the stronger, holding on to win her first gold medal.
A second gold came in the 3000m relay, but only after a tough battle. China took the early lead with Canada second and the South Koreans in third. But just before the halfway stage, the Koreans upped the tempo and took over the lead. With six laps left in the race, China took over at the front, and the crowd wondered whether the Koreans had the time or strength to respond.
They did, and it was Jin who led them. With three laps left in the final, she took to the front and stayed there, holding off the Chinese and then a late surge from Canada's Kalyna Roberge to seal the win.
Her third event was the 1000m. Jin was hardly unfancied, for she was the world record holder, but she was also up against the defending championYang Yang (A), from China, and another Chinese skater, Wang Meng. It was Wang who led from the start until, with two laps to go, Jin attacked and took the lead. Showing the strength that had now become her trademark, she held on to secure her third gold medal of the Games.
In fact, she became the first South Korean ever to achieve a trio of golds. Jin's third gold medal was won just 30 minutes before Ahn Hyun-soo matched the achievement as part of the men’s team.