Viva Arianna: Italy’s Fontana wins 500 meters in short track

first_imgFans chanted Choi’s name, as if willing her to win the only Olympic short-track event that has eluded the powerful South Koreans.But soon Choi was leaning over the rinkside padding listening to consoling words from her coach Tuesday night.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIt was Fontana who was celebrating, jumping up and down in her skates and shaking her fists in triumph. The Italian earned her sixth career Olympic medal, equaling Wang Meng of China for most by a short-track skater.It was her first gold. LATEST STORIES 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises “When I saw I was first, I was just yelling and started crying,” Fontana said. “I worked for four years and the last four months were really hard for me. I was really focused on getting here in the best shape ever.”That meant sacrificing, especially at the dinner table.“I was on a strict diet,” she said. “I like to eat, I’m Italian, so I like to eat a lot of carbs. I had to cut that off.”Fontana claimed a medal at her fourth different Winter Games, joining Tania Vicent of Canada as the only female short trackers to do so.The referees assessed a penalty to Choi that shook up the order of finish.“I prepared my best and I thought that even though the result does not come out well, I did a competition that I will not regret,” Choi said. “But I feel sorry for the fans of Korea.”Yara van Kerkhof of the Netherlands took silver and Kim Boutin of Canada earned bronze.Choi had a roller-coaster ride to the final after surviving a three-way photo finish for second in the quarterfinals that allowed her to advance.Elise Christie of Britain crashed on the last lap of the furious sprint final in which Boutin pushed Choi and Boutin caught Fontana’s left hand in her face as they careened at top speeds around the rink.The earlier rounds of the women’s 500 were filled with drama, too. Krueger and Celski later teamed with Thomas Hong and Aaron Tran for the 5,000 relay heats. They finished third, relegating the U.S. to the B final four years after earning silver in Sochi. That medal represented the only podium finish for the American speedskaters — long track or short track — in a stunning showing.Among the big names advancing to the 1,000 quarterfinals on Saturday were 1,500 champion Lim Hyo-jun and teammates Hwang Dae-heon and Seo Yira of South Korea, Sjinkie Knegt and Liu Shaolin Sandor of Hungary, Wu Dajing of China, Charles Hamelin of Canada and Russian Semen Elistratov.Knegt earned silver and Elistratov took bronze in the 1,500.In the men’s 5,000 relay, China, Canada, South Korea and Hungary advanced to the Feb. 22 final. Read Next TNT eyes turnaround Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH “I was chasing it and I finally got it,” she said.The outcome hung in the balance for several minutes while the referees sorted out a photo finish between Choi and Fontana.Fontana looked to her coach for confirmation.“He said, ‘I don’t know, but you did great,’” she said.The photo showed Fontana’s skate blade crossed barely in front of Choi’s.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC AFP official booed out of forum In a surprise, China failed to advance either of its skaters out of the semifinals. Fan Kexin and Qu Chunyu each got penalized.Veteran Marianne St-Gelais of Canada was ousted in the quarterfinals after being penalized for impeding.American teenager Maame Biney, an Olympic rookie at 18, finished last in her quarterfinal. She had to go up against wily veteran Fan, who along with Russian Sofia Prosvirnova, crowded out Biney as she tried to go for the lead early in the race.“I’m still in that learning process of just trying to get back really quick because I don’t usually get bumped in the start,” Biney said. “I’m usually first or second. I’m going to have to figure out how to get back in the rhythm.”The 500 was Biney’s only individual event of the games and it left her eager for more.“Just for next time, the next four years, I’m going to try and find that rhythm and keep going,” she said.In the men’s 1,000 heats, American John-Henry Krueger advanced to the quarterfinals by winning his heat and avoiding a collision that knocked down two other skaters.His teammate, J.R. Celski, wasn’t so lucky.The three-time Olympian was taken down in a three-man crash and he needed repair work on his right skate. Pavel Sitnikov, the Russian who caused the pileup, was penalized for impeding.That left Celski and two other skaters to compete in the re-start. Celski was in contention early before finishing third, one spot out of advancing to the next round on Saturday. Arianna Fontana of Italy reacts as she crosses the finish line to win the ladies’ 500 meters short track speedskating final in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Choi Min-jeong skated around waving to the South Korean fans who chanted her name. Arianna Fontana grabbed the Italian flag in celebration.This being wild and wooly short-track speedskating, the result of the women’s 500 meters waited on the judges’ decision.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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