With a flash of a skate, China gained its first medal of the Beijing Winter Olympics on Saturday, which was additionally the primary gold medal in a brand new Olympic occasion: the short-track speedskating mixed-gender workforce relay.
Wu Dajing struck his proper skate throughout the end line two-hundredths of a second forward of a lunging Pietro Sighel from Italy as a number of hundred Chinese language spectators cheered wildly, ignoring an edict to not cheer to scale back the chance of spreading the coronavirus.
“I really feel that I’ve waited for this Olympic gold medal for too lengthy,” Fan Kexin, a member of the Chinese language workforce whose earlier quests for a gold resulted in disappointment, advised journalists after the win.
“I don’t care about what I’ve been by way of previously — the ache, the accidents. While you’re standing on that competitors discipline, at that second, there aren’t any excuses, and also you go all out,” she mentioned. “Within the coming occasions, we gained’t quit for one second, not for one second. We’ll proceed going for it.”
The street to gold was not straightforward for the Chinese language. They initially completed in final place within the semifinals and didn’t qualify to advance. However after officers conferred and reviewed replays of the race for a number of minutes, each america, which had completed second within the semifinal, and Russia, which completed third, had been disqualified.
“We skated flawlessly,” the American skater Ryan Pivirotto mentioned with disappointment, earlier than explaining that the violation was known as on him. An official from the Worldwide Skating Union mentioned that Pivirotto had illegally crossed from the infield onto the raceway whereas making ready to tag in, blocking a Chinese language skater.
With the disqualifications, the Chinese language superior to the finals, and they didn’t waste their second probability.
Canada appeared to have completed third within the finals however was disqualified for inflicting a collision, permitting Hungary to take the bronze.
The blended workforce relay entails 4 skaters from every nation, two males and two ladies, racing 2,000 meters over 18 laps. Just one athlete from every nation is on the ice at a time, skating just a few laps earlier than bodily pushing a teammate to provoke the trade.
Even earlier than China’s victory was official, its information media was reporting that the nation had gained its first gold medal for these Video games. Pleasure rapidly unfold throughout Chinese language social media, drawing elated feedback.
“Congratulations, Staff China! You’re the most effective!” said The Global Times, a well-liked nationalist newspaper.
With the gold medal, China has already matched its haul of first-place finishes from the 2018 Winter Olympics. Quick-track speedskating has been its finest winter sport lately, accounting for 3 of the nation’s 9 medals in 2018 and 6 of its 9 medals in 2014.
“This occasion actually helped work off some anger,” mentioned Wu, the member of the victorious Chinese language workforce. “We’ve gone by way of a lot previously 4 years, after which the dream got here true on the primary day.”
All of the members of the Chinese language workforce come from Heilongjiang, the northeast province close to Russia and Korea that endures freezing winters.
Liu Yi contributed analysis.