Le Pays De France - Gold-winning short track star says federation 'didn't support' her

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Gold-winning short track star says federation 'didn't support' her
Gold-winning short track star says federation 'didn't support' her

Gold-winning short track star says federation 'didn't support' her

Short track speed skating great Arianna Fontana said Monday the Italian Ice Sports Federation hadn't supported her and that some people "didn't want her" in Beijing, after she won gold in the 500m -- her 10th Olympic medal.

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Fontana, 31, overtook Dutch favourite Suzanne Schulting and held on to finish in 42.488 -- pumping her fists and screeching when she realised she had won.

"When I crossed the line -– all that yelling –- I don't usually yell, it was just a way to let it out, all that anger," she said.

"We had people that didn't want me here. My federation wasn't really supportive with me having my husband as a coach," she explained.

Fontana told journalists the problems had started after she won her first 500m gold at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

"Today we proved that he's an amazing coach," she said. "It was my best choice, my best decision to have him on my side."

The couple left Italy for Hungary, only returning late last year to train with the Italian team.

"I saw a couple of (Federation officials) in the hallway -– they didn't even come up and say congratulations," Fontana said.

Asked if she would try for a third gold, she said things had to change.

"If things are not going to change, I'm not going through this again," she said.

- Pushes and penalties -

There was drama on the rink in the later race at the Capital Indoor Stadium, a frenetic men's 1,000m.

The final consisted of three Chinese skaters, and Hungarian brothers Shaolin Sandor Liu and Shaoang Liu, who have a Chinese father.

A couple of laps in, the referee called for a safety reset because of metal parts on the track.

At the restart, Shaolin Sandor Liu pulled into the lead, before finishing neck-and-neck with China's Ren Ziwei.

Ren appeared to grab Liu across the chest as they crossed the finish line, and the result went to review as officials checked other penalties.

Liu put his hands in prayer as he gazed up at the screen waiting for the result.

But in the end it was he who was disqualified, earning a yellow card for two earlier penalties in the race.

Ren Ziwei took gold, his compatriot Li Wenlong took silver, and the younger Liu, Shaoang, ended up with bronze.

Shaolin Sandor left the rink almost immediately and did not speak to media.

His brother said the race had been an "emotional rollercoaster".

"After, when we both went inside to the changing room, we were just sitting and holding our heads. But I told him, you have to forget this... We still have racing days...We have to fight for the gold," Shaoang said.

Asked about the decision, he said: "I think everyone was just super excited and the race was super crazy. There was a lot of pushes, a lot of passes."

"It was really intense. There were collisions," said Ren. "It was a tough race."