Laurel’s Simon Cho, the youngest member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic short track skating team at 18, won the overall U.S. national men’s title this weekend in Kearns, Utah, despite missing most of the fall season because of a back fracture.
Cho, now 20, won four of six races he entered to secure his first overall championship, concluding with a victory Sunday in the 1,000-meter final in 1 minute, 33.850 seconds, beating Travis Jayner – who won the distance championship title – and Jordan Malone.
The performance will allow Cho, who earned a bronze medal at the Vancouver Games in the 5,000 relay, to compete for the United States at upcoming international world cup races and the March world championships in Shanghai. Cho won the world championship last year in the 500, and claimed the overall world cup title in that event.
In August, he was diagnosed with a fracture in one of his vertebrae, an injury that forced him into months of rehabilation..
“I’m happy to start off this new year with a 2012 national championship,” Cho said, according to U.S. Speedskating. “I went through a lot with my injury leading up to this championship and this weekend, so I’m happy not only to be able to qualify my spot on the world team, but to come out on top.”