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The favourite for the inaugural women's 500m short track gold was Canada's Sylvie Daigle, who had previously competed twice as a speed skater at the Games before going on to win three world championship titles in short track.
At the Olympic test event in Albertville, she had underlined her credentials by breaking the 500m world record. However, at the Games proper she came up against another former speed skater, the USA’s Cathy Turner. She had won the US short track title more than a decade earlier while still a teenager. But when she missed out on selection for the 1980 Winter Olympic team, she decided to leave sport and pursue a career in music. Performing under the stage name of Nikki Newland she enjoyed a considerable degree of success as a singer and songwriter.
However, despite the fact she hadn’t gone near the ice for years, she never quite relinquished her love of skating.
In fact, it was almost a decade later, in 1988, that Turner finally succumbed and returned to the rink. The announcement that short-track skating would be included on the programme at the 1992 Winter Games made her decision all the easier, and she set about earning a place on the US team.
Despite the initial scepticism that greeted her return to competition after such a long absence, she qualified impressively for the Olympic team that travelled to Albertville.
As expected, her best event was the 500m sprint. It developed into a head-to-head contest between Turner and China's Li Yan. The Chinese athlete led heading towards the line, with Turner lunging at the last moment, and neither skater sure who had won. There followed an agonising wait until Turner was confirmed as the gold medallist, by a margin of just 0.04 seconds.