Elise Christie (GBR) ©Getty images
The Short Track Speed Skating competition continues on February 13 in the Gangneung Ice Arena with the Men’s 1000m heats and the Men’s 5000m Relay semifinals. But tonight, the excitement will be concentrated on the Ladies’ 500m races. The fastest Short Track Skaters will have to go through the quarter finals and semifinals in order to make it to the Final, when a new Olympic Champion will be crowned.
The Ice Arena was packed during the Men’s 1500m competition and a full house is also expected this evening. The two-time overall World Champion, Minjeong Choi (KOR) will try to please the home crowd. She is first in the World Rankings and second in the 500m World Cup Rankings and is a strong contender for gold. She has had a strong season so far and fueled by the cheering of the home spectators she broke the Olympic Record during the 500m qualifying heats last Saturday.
Fontana and Christie seeking their golden moment
The seven-time Overall European Champion, Arianna Fontana (ITA), has won many medals during her impressive career including 2014 Olympic silver and 2010 Olympic bronze. She is now on a quest to obtain the only Olympic medal she does not have in her collection, gold.
Elise Christie (GBR) is looking to redeem herself following the three disqualifications she received in Sochi 2014 “Winning a gold medal would be a thank-you to everyone," the 500m world record holder and 2017 three time World Champion said. "That's what's kept me going for four years. Everyone stood by me for that bad time in my life, and I would love to take a gold medal back home for them." Although she suffered a thigh injury at the beginning of the season she has fully recovered "It's a relief as well after this season going to rubbish and having so many injuries and not skating fast. I'm back in form again, so it's great." Talking of her qualification heat of last Saturday Christie said "I felt I had more than that to give and that's exciting and I normally also get faster through rounds. I'm excited to see what I can do Tuesday (semi-finals and final).”
Veteran St-Gelais and young talented Boutin see big
Marianne St-Gelais (CAN), 2010 Olympic silver medallist in the 500m and two-time overall World silver medalist has had a strong season ranking first in the 500m World Cup. She won the 500m at the Audi ISU World Cup event in Dordrecht (NED) last October and knows she is a threat to other contenders. 24-year-old Canadian Kim Boutin also won a 500m World Cup race in Shanghai (CHN) last November and is part of the strong Canadian squad and will be looking to get a position on the podium.
Five-time World Champion and an Olympic medallist in the 1000m, Kexin Fan (CHN) is a very experienced skater with a point to prove. Other skaters to look out for include Martina Valcepina (ITA) who beat her compatriot Fontana in the 500m event at the 2018 ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships, and new comer Maame Biney (USA) is not to be overlooked "My game face on the ice is totally different from right now. It's not this. It's like, 'Don't be in my way because I'm probably going to kill you'."
Marianne St Gelais (CAN) ©Getty Images