Kim Boutin, whose goal 'was to feel every emotion', wins Olympic short track bronze

Kim Boutin delivered again in an Olympic short track final, winning a bronze medal in the women's 500 metres as the last Canadian speed skater standing at Capital Indoor Stadium on Monday night in Beijing.

Italy's Fontana a repeat champion; Canada's Pascal Dion crashes out in quarter-finals

Winner Arianna Fontana, centre, celebrates with bronze-medal winner Canada's Kim Boutin, left, and silver medallist Netherlands' Suzanne Schulting, right, after the 'A' final of the women's 500m short track speed skating event at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on Monday. (Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images)

Kim Boutin delivered again in an Olympic short track final, winning a bronze medal in the women's 500 metres as the last Canadian speed skater standing at Capital Indoor Stadium on Monday night in Beijing.

The 27-year-old from Sherbrooke, Que., also won bronze in the event in her triple-medal Winter Games debut four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

In Monday's final, Boutin overcame a false start to stop the clock in 42.724 seconds, behind Italy's Arianna Fontana (42.488) and Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands (42.559).

"I really lived this moment. I feel I was in the race and knew where I should pass. [For my coaches] it was their goal for me to be happy on the ice, and I was," Boutin told Roseline Filion, the retired Olympic diver now employed by Radio-Canada. "I'm proud of myself."

Boutin will join her women's teammates for the 3,000 relay semifinals scheduled for Wednesday at 7:45 a.m. ET.

WATCH | Boutin earns 2nd 500m bronze in as many Olympics:

Kim Boutin claims 500m short track bronze

10 months ago
Duration 3:11
The Canadian speed skater won her fourth-career Olympic medal with a third place finish behind Italian Arianna Fontana and Dutch skater Suzanne Schulting.

Boutin originally finished fourth in the 2018 Olympic final behind South Korea's Minjeong Choi, but the latter was disqualified for interfering with Boutin, and the Canadian was awarded bronze.

It led to Boutin being harassed by online trolls, but she battled through it and was named Canada's flag-bearer for the closing ceremony.

After Boutin's false start in Monday's final, Fontana fell on the first corner to force a re-start on the way to back-to-back Olympic victories and her record-extending 10th Winter Games medal.

"It was kind of hard to stay focused," said Boutin, the world record holder. "My goal for these Games was to feel every emotion. I was really stressed, I cried. I had trouble with my blades in the semifinal, I got passed on the outside [by Fontana]. It was kind of ammunition for me [for the final]. I'm happy with the result."

Ongoing rift

Fontana, 31, took the lead from world champion Suzanne Schulting late in the final and let out a yell as she crossed the finish line. Fontana won a silver in the inaugural mixed team relay on Sunday, putting her ahead of Viktor An and Apolo Ohno for career medals with nine.

I wasn't looking for them to [congratulate] me. It's actually better if they stay away.— Olympic champion Arianna Fontana on Italian skating officials

Fontana's scream wasn't in celebration as much as it was a release of the anger she's been carrying since returning from a year's break after the 2018 Olympics. Fontana won gold four years ago, but it was made clear that her husband and former U.S. short track skater, Anthony Lobello Jr., wasn't welcome as her coach.

"I'm kind of overwhelmed with a lot of different emotions — happy, relieved," Fontana said. "I don't usually yell, but it was a way to let it out, all that anger."

Italian federation officials passed Fontana in the hallway after her victory and didn't offer congratulations.

"I wasn't looking for them to come up to me," she said. "It's actually better if they stay away."

Boutin led her quarter-final heat from start to finish and clocked 42.391 before placing second behind Fontana in the first of two semifinals in 42.664. In a photo finish, Boutin beat Elena Seregina of the Russian Olympic Committee by 21-1000ths of a second to advance to the five-skater final.

On Saturday, she was part of Canada's mixed relay team that placed sixth after being penalized for a push from behind by Florence Brunelle, who collided with Hungary's Petra Jaszapati.

Brunelle, the world No. 7 in the 500, was booted from Monday's 500 after being penalized for a lane change causing contact in the quarter-finals. The native of Trois-Rivieres, Que., appeared to kick a block into the path of teammate Alyson Charles of Montreal.

"That's sport," she told The Canadian Press, her eyes red from crying. "Through making mistakes, I'll learn. I'll arrive more ready for other competitions having lived what I'm going through."

The 18-year-old Brunelle finished ninth in the event in her senior international debut at the 2021 world championships and competed in her first World Cup events last fall.

Charles went on to place third in the 'B' final in 43.273.

Dion, Pierre-Gilles exit early

A tough Sunday of missed medal opportunities by Canadian athletes extended to Monday in the men's 1,000, with 2018 Olympic bronze medallist Pascal Dion and Jordan Pierre-Gilles being knocked out of the competition in the quarter-finals.

Dion, who ranked No. 1 in the event after reaching the podium three times in four World Cup events this season, slid out of his heat while trying to pass on the outside early in the fourth of nine laps and registered no time. Japan's Kazuki Yoshinaga was subsequently penalized for a lane change causing contact.

The 27-year-old Dion from Montreal captured a bronze at the 2018 Olympics as part of the Canadian men's relay team but is still looking for his first individual Olympic medal. 

Monday's 1,000 final was full of suspense. It was restarted in the middle of the race to remove metal debris on the ice.

Liu Shaolin Sandor of Hungary crossed the line first, but was penalized twice and earned a yellow card. That elevated Ren Ziwei of China, who crossed second, to the gold medal.

Li Wenlong of China earned silver. Liu Shaoang of Hungary, the brother of Liu Shaolin Sandor, took bronze.

Liu Shaolin Sandor appeared to bump Ren in taking the lead late in the race. Ren grabbed Liu Shaolin Sandor approaching the finish line, but the Hungarian still managed to cross first before going down.

However, the referee had the last word and assessed the penalties to Liu Shaolin Sandor.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

With files from The Associated Press

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