- POSTED: 16 Feb 2014 02:03
China's Zhou Yang defended her Olympic 1,500m short track title while Victor Ahn gave his adopted Russian homeland victory in the men's 1,000m.
SOCHI, Russia: China's Zhou Yang defended her Olympic 1,500m short track title on Saturday while Victor Ahn gave his adopted Russian homeland victory in the men's 1,000m.
The 22-year-old Zhou, who was only third in the World Cup rankings this season, came good when it mattered most, racing to victory in 2min 19.140sec.
South Korean 17-year-old Shim Suk-Hee, who was second at last year's world championships, took silver in 2:19.239 with Italy's Arianna Fontana claiming bronze in 2:19.416.
"I was nervous at the beginning, but after I finished it I felt so thrilled," said Zhou, who gave China their third gold of the Sochi Games.
"I've been through a lot during the past four years. I didn't expect I could come back to the Olympic Games. I just wanted to do my best during training and competition."
Ahn won his fourth Olympic gold medal in short track when he stormed to victory in the men's 1,000m.
The 28-year-old, who won three golds for his native South Korea at the 2006 Turin Olympics before switching nationality, won in a time of 1min 25.325sec.
Fellow Russian Vladimir Grigorev won silver in 1:25.399 while Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands finished in third place in a time of 1:25.611.
Ahn's gold followed a bronze in the 1,500m earlier in the Games.
"I'm very happy, but I'm even more happy because Russia managed to win both the gold and silver," said Ahn.
"I had no idea Russia was such a strong short track country. I want to try to win the relay and hope to enjoy the other competitions at these Games."
Ahn, who has two career bronze medals, is the first male short-tracker to win four gold medals.
He is now just two Olympic medals away from tying America's Apolo Anton Ohno for the short track record.
He will race in the men's 500m on Tuesday as well as the 5,000m relay on Friday.
Knegt, who made headlines in January for being disqualified from the European championships after making an obscene gesture towards Ahn, raised a pair of closed fists instead in elation after winning bronze.
"This is the first short track medal for the Netherlands, and I still can't believe it," he said.
Canada's Charles Hamelin, who had won the 1,500m, fell in the quarter-finals on Saturday while South Korea's 2013 world champion Sin Da-Woon was disqualified from the final.
"My right blade slipped a bit around the corner. I was about to do a pass and the ice just broke under my blades," explained Hamelin.
"I think it's the biggest disappointment of my Games. It was my distance and I wanted to win a medal at this distance. But I fell on my own and I need to focus now on the next race."