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Schulting defends Olympic short track gold

Suzanne Schulting, of the Netherlands, has successfully defended her title in 1,000 metres short track speedskating event, setting world and Olympic records.

The Dutchwoman clocked one minute 26.514 seconds in the quarter-finals to set the new marks, but wasn’t as fast in Friday’s final, finishing in 1:28.391.

“I skated a world record and I was really excited,” she said. “And I said, ‘Oh (damn), I still have to do the semis and then we have the finals!’ I became really confident out there.”

Schulting let out a scream and raised her right fist after crossing the finish line at Capital Indoor Stadium.

She’s the second woman to defend an Olympic title in the 1,000m title after Chun Lee-Kyung, of South Korea, achieved the feat at the 1998 Nagano Games.

“I really wanted it,” said Schulting, who leapt onto the award podium. “I am so happy I got it.”

Choi Minjeong of South Korea took silver, crying on the side of the rink after the race.

She finished fourth in 2018, the only time her country had missed the podium since the event’s debut in 1994.

Hanne Desmet of Belgium earned bronze, her country’s first short track medal at the Olympics.

Arianna Fontana of Italy was penalized for a lane change that caused contact with American Kristen Santos. Both skaters went down and slid on their sides into the padding.

Fontana was chasing an 11th career medal, having already won two medals in Beijing. She’s the most decorated skater in Olympic short track.

Schulting’s victory four years ago at the Pyeongchang Games was the first short track gold medal for the Netherlands, a country best known for its dominant long track speedskaters. She was the first non-Asian winner of the event.

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