Sunday, December 4, 2022
HomeSportsChoi Min-Jeong: 'Queen of Korean Short Track' bounces back from tearful silver...

Choi Min-Jeong: ‘Queen of Korean Short Track’ bounces back from tearful silver to defend women’s 1500m speed skating title

Choi was pictured in tears after the Netherlands’ Suzanne Schulting secured back-to-back 1,000m titles via a dramatic photo finish, missing out on gold by just 0.052 seconds.The 23-year-old Choi responded emphatically with her 1,500m title defense on the line, setting a new Olympic record in her semifinal heat before taking gold in the final in 2:17.789.Legendary speed skater Arianna Fontana won silver, making her Italy’s most decorated Winter Olympian with 11 medals, one more than cross-country skier Stefania Belmondo.Schulting took bronze for her fourth medal of the Games — only the second Dutch skater to achieve the feat — but was denied a golden hat-trick after triumphs in the 1,000m and 3,000m relay.Both of Schulting’s Beijing triumphs left Choi to settle for silver, but at the third attempt — days after the pain of the 1,000m — the South Korean at last has a Beijing gold to add to her pair from her home games in PyeongChang four years ago. “I cried a lot””After the 1000m race, my previous performance was so disappointing I didn’t think I would get a great result,” Choi told reporters. “But I ended up with silver. So a lot of emotions went through my mind and I cried a lot. “After crying a lot, I was able to pull myself together to prepare myself for the relay and today’s race. I think that helped me get better results.” Nicknamed the ‘Queen of Korean Short Track,’ Choi arrived in the 1,000m as the world record holder for the event, having set a blistering time of 2:14.354 in Salt Lake City in 2016.Her successful defense of the title means that all three medalists in the final secured back-to-back golds in the events they won at PyeongChang 2018 — Fontana in the 500m and Schulting in the 1,000m.”It is wonderful to compete against such wonderful athletes,” Choi said.”We are growing together. This competition is really wonderful. In order to keep up with these two I will have to continue making strong efforts.”Home Games hangs in the balance for FontanaFontana echoed Choi’s sentiments, saying it was “amazing” to share the podium with two competitors that each have their own “stories and battles.”Reflecting on her new status as Italy’s all-time most decorated Winter Olympian, Fontana is already counting down the days till it no longer applies. “I don’t really like the records. Records are meant to be broken,” Fontana said.”I hope another female one day breaks my record. I feel honored for now to be the most decorated Italian athlete because there are other great female athletes that have won a lot. “It’s an honor, it’s amazing.”CNN’s Aleks Klosok contributed to this report.



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