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Italy's Arianna Fontana wins gold medal in women's 500m

Italy's Arianna Fontana wins gold medal in women's 500m
Posted at 1:44 AM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 10:46:53-05

Arianna Fontana of Italy won the first individual short track gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games: the women's 500m. She successfully defended her title after winning the gold in this discipline at the Winter Olympics in 2018. The victory gave Fontana her 10th-career Olympic medal, which is the most all-time for short track speed skating. 

"I don't know what to say about it," Fontana said in a press conference. "When I was a little kid, I just wanted to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal. Now I have two and eight more medals. It's incredible. There are no words that I can describe it."

Fontana, 31, used a beautiful inside pass to get in front of Dutch skater Suzanne Schulting with less than two laps to go. The Italian was able to hold off Schulting, who had looked unbeatable in her quarterfinal and semifinal. 

Schulting, 24, finished in second and earned the silver medal. 

"When I crossed the finish line, I was disappointed because I was doing such a great job," Schulting said. "But Arianna Fontana passed me in such an incredible way, as she has done many times. I was like 'Not again.'"

Canada's Kim Boutin came in third, grabbing the bronze medal for the second straight Winter Olympic Games. 

"I am pretty happy about it, it's incredible to be here," Boutin said in a press conference. "I had a little difficulty in the semifinal but being in the final with these amazing skaters ...  it's always exciting."

Fontana had an impressive semifinal showing, as well, passing Boutin on an outside move en route to a win. 

Schulting blew past her competition in the semifinal and was not challenged, setting up the titan finale with Fontana.

The Italian won a silver medal in the mixed team relay to start these Olympics. She won three medals at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and has multiple chances to match or surpass that going forward. Only one short track skater, Viktor Ahn, has won four medals at one Olympics in history. 

Early exits for Santos, Biney

Americans Kristen Santos and Maame Biney failed to advance past the quarterfinal. Santos was penalized for an aggressive move that caused a collision between her and Japanese skater Sumire Kikuchi

Biney fell behind and struggled to close the gap in her race. She finished in third place, besting Dutch skaters Selma Poutsma, who crashed into the padding, and Xandra Velzeboer, who received a penalty. 

The next women's short track events are the 3000m relay and 1500m heats on Wednesday. 

SEE MORE: Kristen Santos penalized after crash in women's 500m