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China wins gold medal in first Olympic short track mixed team relay

China wins gold medal in first Olympic short track mixed team relay
Posted at 5:48 AM, Feb 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-05 16:55:40-05

China captured the gold medal in the first short track mixed team relay in Winter Olympic Games history on Saturday morning. 

Italy picked up the silver medal and Hungary the bronze. 

“I’ve been waiting for this gold medal for 12 years," China's Fan Kexin said in a press conference. "I’ve waited for it for so long. I will always believe in the team."

China's win came after it nearly missed the final altogether. 

The United States finished second in the semifinal to advance, however, it was penalized following a lengthy review for blocking an infield skater. Third-place China moved on to the final instead and took advantage of the opportunity. 

The Italians gave China a fight down the stretch, falling by only 0.016 seconds. China held a sizable lead before Italy closed the gap over the final few laps. Pietro Sighel reached out his skate and nearly snatched the victory away from Wu Dajing

“It was a huge relief," Wu said afterward. "I have experienced too much in the past four years. Now we finally realized our dream on the first day."

Canada missed out on a medal after getting penalized for a push that caused a crash with Hungary in the middle of the final. The incident split the competition up with China and Italy battling for first while Canada and Hungary scrambled to get back in the race. 

History was made as Italian skater Arianna Fontana won her ninth Olympic medal, which is the most all-time for short track.  

The debut event was the first short track final of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The next set of events will take place on Monday. Visit NBCOlympics.com for a full short track schedule. 

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