Alyson Dudek and Katherine Reutter Advance in Women’s 500 Meters

U.S. short track speedskaters Katherine Reutter and Alyson Dudek advanced to the quarterfinals of the women’s 500 meters after both women cruised through qualifying heats on Saturday.

Katherine Reutter won the first heat in 44.187 seconds, while Alyson Dudek qualified second in the fifth race at 44.560.

World record holder Wang Meng of China set an Olympic record in the third heat, finishing at 43.926 seconds to beat countrywoman Yang Yang’s mark of 44.118 from the 2002 Games.

Reutter and Dudek were also part of the four-skater U.S. team that qualified Saturday for the finals of the women’s 3,000-meter relay. China set an Olympic record in the semifinals. South Korea is the four-time reigning Olympic champion in the event.

American women were shut out during the 2006 Turin Olympics, walking away without a medal in speedskating. But Reutter, the 21-year-old rising star who has won two overall U.S. championships, sounds ready for a fight.

“We want teeth and nails and elbows. We want a race,” she said.

The women’s 500 meters will be decided Wednesday.