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updated: 10/21/2012 10:36 PM

American breaks 40-second barrier in short-track speedskating

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  • J.R. Celski of the U.S. skates for a gold medal Sunday during the men's 500-meter competition at the ISU World Cup short track speed skating event in Calgary, Alberta.

      J.R. Celski of the U.S. skates for a gold medal Sunday during the men's 500-meter competition at the ISU World Cup short track speed skating event in Calgary, Alberta.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

CALGARY, Alberta -- American J.R. Celski become the first short-track speedskater to break the 40-second barrier in the 500 meters, setting a world record of 39.973 second Sunday in a World Cup final.

"I wasn't really expecting to go that fast today because it's been a long weekend of racing," Celski said. "Ice kind of tends to break down over time, but it held its ground and I'm really excited to come out with that world record today."

South Korea's Kwak Yoon-gy and Shim Suk-hee set world records in the 1,000 semifinals. Kwak broke the men's record with a time of 1:23.007, and Shim set the women's mark in 1:26.661.

In the 1,000 finals, Russia's Victor An won the men's race in 1:24.519, and Shim won in 1:29.247.

China's Wang Meng won the women's 500 final in 43.240.

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