Short-track speedskating has a reputation for delivering unexpected results.
That was the case at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi on Thursday, where fans saw crashes galore.
With 2010 gold medalist Wang Meng of China out of action with a broken ankle in the women's 500-meter event, the field opened right up when silver medalist Marianne St-Gelais of Canada and favourite Fan Kexin of China both failed to qualify for the final.
Three of the four skaters went down early in the final race, leaving China's Li Jianrou to cruise easily to the gold medal. Elise Christie of Great Britain crossed the line second but was disqualified, so the silver medal went to Arianna Fontana of Italy, while Park Seung-Hi of Korea captured the bronze.
In the other races, U.S. skaters J.R. Celski, Eddy Alvarez and Chris Creveling all qualified for the quarterfinals in the men's 1,000-meters, and the U.S. men's relay team was advanced to the final in their event despite a crash with the Korean team late in their semifinal.
Short-track events resume on Saturday with the men's 1,000-meter and women's 1,500 meter medals on the line.
Women's 500-Meter Medal Results:
Gold: Li Jianrou - China
Silver: Arianna Fontana - Italy
Bronze: Park Seung-Hi - Korea