First gold for Italy thanks to a monumental Arianna Fontana. The Olympic legend triumphs in the 500 metres
- Published: 13 February 2018
The Olympic rings have more than left their mark on her heart. They are the distinctive and ineffaceable token of her wonderful and successful story. Italian short track queen, Arianna Fontana won gold in the 500 metres at Gangneung Ice Arena, giving Italy its second medal at PyeongChang2018 and climbing onto the Olympic podium for the fourth consecutive time. From Turin 2006 (mixed bronze) and Vancouver (bronze), to Sochi (two bronze and one silver) and now South Korea, she is up there with the Olympic greats. This time, the most prized medal was placed around her neck, the one she was yet to win: Italy returned to the highest step of the podium after a dormant 8 years (the last win being Vancouver 2010 with Giuliano Razzoli in the slalom).
Flagbearer, the youngest ever Italian winter medalwinner, the first Ice Sports Olympian, the icon of a movement revolving around her talent, this charming champion with her special smile cuts no corners on the track. Tonight, first she dominated the quarter finals, winning her heat; then she was the protagonist in a wild semi-final where she bested her personal record (42"635 against her time of 42"829 in Salt Lake City in November 2016), losing out only to Korean Choi, capable of reaching the Olympic record (42"422). Then came the final, full of adrenaline and heightened emotions. The stuff of pure, monumental champions. Fearless, Arianna led from the word go, again improving her PB (42"569). It is a tale to be told: right behind her were Dutch van Kerkhof and Canadian Boutin, home athlete Choi having been disqualified. An Italian party, the first in Korea. It wears the face of the flagbearer: Arianna, a star - green, white and red - turned legend.