Dutch treat: Schulting defends Olympic short track gold

BEIJING (AP): Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands successfully defended her title in 1,000-meter short track speedskating Friday night.

She set the world and Olympic records of 1 minute, 26.514 seconds in the quarterfinals. She wasn’t as fast in the final, finishing in 1:28.391.

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 1,000 since Chun Lee-Kyung of South Korea did it at the 1998 Nagano Games.

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 won her semifinal and Santos won the other semifinal with a faster time than the Dutchwoman. Santos was in the mix early in the final before Fontana wiped out both of them.

Schulting’s victory four years ago at the Pyeongchong 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 in 2018.

Schulting was the silver medalist behind Fontana in the 500 in Beijing.

In the B final, American Corinne Stoddard finished third and Maame Biney was fifth. Xandra Velzeboer of the Netherlands won.