SOCHI, Russia — Denton native Jordan Malone’s hopes of winning gold at the Winter Olympics remained intact following Thursday’s semifinals in the 5,000-meter short track speedskating relay.
After a crash involving South Korea’s Lee Ho-suk and American Eddy Alvarez, the referees advanced the U.S. team of Malone, Alvarez, J.R. Celski and Chris Creveling into next Friday’s A final. The South Koreans were relegated to the B final.
The U.S. finished fourth overall with a time of 6:50.292.
Lee was leading on the outside late in the race with his left hand down on the ice when it clipped Alvarez’s right skate. That sent Alvarez and Lee sliding into the pads.
“He slipped on his right and sat real deeply on his left, sticking his left arm out,” Alvarez said. “It just so happened as I was crossing through, we collided — my hand and his skate. It didn’t allow me to come through.
“I was going for the pass. I was coming with more speed. I’m glad the refs caught that.”
Sin Da-woon of South Korea wasn’t blaming the Americans.
“We moved into them,” he said. “It wasn’t the Americans’ fault. There was a mix-up in the signs. If we were clear with the signals, then we could have avoided this. It’s a pity we couldn’t advance.”
The U.S. waited anxiously while the referees sorted out the chaos.
“The moments between the fall and the call, there’s a lot of doubt,” Celski said. “Just disbelief that we didn’t make it to the final. But our coach looked fairly confident.”
Viktor Ahn led his adopted Russia into the final, which will feature five teams because of the Americans getting in. The Netherlands, Kazakhstan and China also made the final.
Malone will be on the track Tuesday for the heat races in the 500 meters. Should he advance out of the heat races, the quaterfinals, semifinals and final are set for next Friday.