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(Olympics) Confusion reigns after chaotic finish in short track speed skating

2018/02/13 23:13

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By Kim Boram and Kang Yoon-seung

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb. 13 (Yonhap) -- There was a flood of confusion in the aftermath of the women's 500-meter final in short track speed skating at PyeongChang 2018 here on Tuesday, with South Korean star Choi Min-jeong in the thick of it all.

Choi came in second place behind Arianna Fontana of Italy in a photo finish, but ended up getting penalized for impeding.

That's where the confusion started: no one seemed immediately certain just whom Choi had impeded.

South Korean short track speed skater Choi Min-jeong waves to the crowd at Gangneung Ice Arena after completing the women's 500-meter final during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Feb. 13, 2018. Choi finished second behind Arianna Fontana of Italy but was penalized for impeding Kim Boutin of Canada. (Yonhap) South Korean short track speed skater Choi Min-jeong waves to the crowd at Gangneung Ice Arena after completing the women's 500-meter final during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Feb. 13, 2018. Choi finished second behind Arianna Fontana of Italy but was penalized for impeding Kim Boutin of Canada. (Yonhap)

The skater seemed to think she had made illegal contact with Fontana near the finish. Choi said she would accept whatever decision the referee had made because there must have been a good reason to penalize her, from whatever angle the referee was viewing the race.

But a few minutes later, South Korean short track head coach Kim Sun-tae said he was officially informed that Choi had touched the knee of Canadian skater Kim Boutin when Choi tried to make a move on the inside.

Short track speed skating is inherently a physical sport, and losing medals on penalties is not a rare occurrence. These fouls tend to occur more frequently in the 500m, the shortest race in short track.

The International Skating Union (ISU) defines impeding as follows: "Impeding, blocking, charging, or pushing another skater with any part of the body. Interfere with another skater by crossing his/her course thereby causing contact."

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