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1ST LEAD Italy's Fontana takes gold to end Chinese short track dominance By Barry Whelan, dpa

Europe, Europa
13.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Pyeongchang, South Korea (dpa) - Italy‘s Arianna Fontana won an elusive gold medal in the women‘s 500 metres short-track speed skating on Tuesday at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang - ending Chinese dominance of the event in the process.

With four Olympic bronze medals and one silver already to her name, Fontana finally took the top prize in a time of 42.569 seconds - and was overcome with emotion after being confirmed in top spot.

"I‘m speechless, really," the 27-year-old said. "I crossed the line and I thought I was first and I looked at my coach and he (said), ‘I don‘t know, but you did great.‘"

Fontana attributed her success to personal sacrifices made in the run-up to the Games.

"I was on a strict diet. I like to eat, I‘m Italian, so I like to eat a lot of carbs. I had to cut that off."

Her discipline has been rewarded with a host of records. Fontana is the first European athlete to win the event at the Winter Olympics and she joins China‘s Wang Meng on a record six Olympic medals of any colour for women in short track.

She also joins Canada‘s Tania Vicent as the only athlete to have claimed short-track medals at four Winter Olympics, while Fontana‘s win ended a run of Chinese gold medals in the event that stretched back to Salt Lake City in 2002.

The Netherlands‘ Yara van Kerkhof took silver, with Canada‘s Kim Boutin claiming bronze.

Britain‘s Elise Christie again failed to become her country‘s first female medallist in short track, finishing fourth after falling in the final.

It was another cruel Olympic blow for the 27-year-old, who received three disqualifications at Sochi 2014 and missed out on a medal at Vancouver 2010.

"It‘s obviously really hard to explain. I‘ve worked so hard for that moment out there and I got knocked over. It‘s so out of my control and that almost feels worse," she said.

"At least I can go home and think, I didn‘t make any mistakes, but it still sucks. I‘ve ended up with fourth place and that‘s pretty hard to deal with right now."

 

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