It's impressive enough that Yang Zhou defended her gold medal in the women's short-track 1,500-meter race Saturday morning. But when you consider that she's done so at the age of 22, well, it puts the full nature of the accomplishment in perspective.
From BuzzFeed Sports:
China's Zhou Yang repeats as Olympic champion in the 1500-meter event. What had you done by the time you were 22? pic.twitter.com/qNqkpROK7o— BuzzFeed Sports (@BuzzFeedSports) February 15, 2014
As Alex Goldberger of NBC notes, its been another strong start for the Chinese in short-track speedskating:
As Zhou Yang defends her 1500m title, China has now won both women's short track events so far. They won all four in 2010— Alex Goldberger (@alexgoldberger) February 15, 2014
Suk Hee Shim of South Korea took home the silver, while Italy's Arianna Fontana captured bronze.
Here are the full results:
|Silver||KOR||Suk Hee Shim||2:19.239|
|4||NED||Jorien ter Mors||2:19.656|
Zhou was able to overcome a false start Saturday to win her second consecutive gold. Her grip on this event very well could extend for the next four years, perhaps even eight, given her age. And another gold could very well be hers in the 3,000-meter relay, to be contested Tuesday.
China will be one of the favorites in that event, though South Korea and Canada will also have their eyes on a gold medal.
While Zhou celebrated, other skaters weren't so lucky.
The A Final was marred by a crash with seven laps to go that wiped out Jianrou Li of China, Alang Kim of South Korea and Emily Scott of the United States. While Scott recovered from the crash to finish fifth, Li was unable to finish, and Kim was disqualified.
It was a tragic result for Scott, who had to overcome so much just to reach Sochi, including the loss of her funding from $2,000 a month to $600. But she started a GoFundMe.com fundraiser and, by late January, had raised $48,735.
She expressed to Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports just how much those contributions meant to her before the Sochi Games:
The people who donated will never know how much it means to me. I wrote every one of them a personal email thanking them, but no amount of thank yous would ever be enough. They will never understand how much it did, I’ll never be able to thank them as much as I want to thank them.
Sadly, her shot at gold in the 1,500-meter race was doomed with seven laps to go, and she didn't advance past the quarterfinal in the 500-meter race.
The 24-year-old may not have medaled, but even finishing fifth is an accomplishment for a racer who very nearly never even made it to Sochi.