With the first three days of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics behind us, Team China has already clinched its first gold medal in short-track speed skating. The team won the brand-new mixed-gender 2,000-meter team relay at Capital Indoor Arena on Saturday.
Team Canada appeared to take third place but was disqualified for a collision with Hungary, leaving the bronze to Hungary with a time of 2:40.900.
“I’ve been waiting for this gold medal for a long time. I always believe in our team and my teammates,” said an elated and sobbing Fan after the race.
Meanwhile, a teary-eyed Wu told reporters, “Our short-track team is a big family. We never give up and always go all out for every opportunity to win.”
First #Gold Medal to #TeamChina!
Team China won its first gold at #Beijing2022 in #ShortTrackSkating Mixed Team Relay!
🎉 Congrats to Fan Kexin, Qu Chunyu, Ren Ziwei and Wu Dajing for the fabulous debut!
Zhang Yuting also competed in the semi-final. pic.twitter.com/KYeV3ngY8E
— Chinese Olympic Committee (@OlympicsCN) February 5, 2022
The latest win brings China’s all-time Winter Olympics medal count to 63, with a total of 14 gold medals.
Short-track speed skating has traditionally been one of China’s strongest sports at the Winter Olympics, with 33 of Team China’s 63 medals and 11 of 14 gold medals coming from short-track events.
The new mixed-gender relay consists of teams with two men and two women, each skating four-and-a-half laps for a total of 18 laps and 2,000 meters. All four members of China’s team come from Heilongjiang in the nation’s frigid Northeast.
Fan started for China, finishing her rotation in third place. China took the lead with 12 laps remaining and held first for the remainder of the contest, with Wu finishing a split second ahead of his Italian counterpart.
In the final second, Italy’s Pietro Sighel reaches out his right skate, and the gap between the two athletes is nearly imperceptible.
The narrow victory came after China nearly didn’t make it to the finals. According to The New York Times, the US and Russia, finishing in second and third place, respectively, were both disqualified.
Team USA would have advanced to the finals, but after a review of nearly five minutes, officials found American skater Ryan Pivirotto to have blocked a Chinese infield skater while attempting to tag in, and China was ultimately bumped to second place.
Cover image via Depositphotos
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