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Short track speed skating is probably the most frantic of all winter sports. A mixed relay relies on rapid, millimetre-perfect teamwork, something that a group of skaters need to rehearse repeatedly on the ice to get right.
The event provided the typical hurly-burly of a 3000m short-track relay, with the lead changing regularly in both the semis and finals. Eventually mixed team B, featuring Norway’s Ane By Farstad, Kim Jiyoo of Republic of Korea, Belgium’s Stijn Desmet and Quentin Fercoq, of France, took the gold medal.
They pipped mixed team C (Hungary’s Petra Jaszapati, Julia Moore of Australia, Netherlands’ Tjerk de Boer and Japan’s Kiichi Shigehiro) to silver. Mixed team F took bronze with a line-up of Bulgaria’s Katrin Manoilova, Anita Nagay of Kazakhstan, Latvia’s Karlis Kruzbergs and Kazuki Yoshinaga of Japan.
The communication issue was more apparent among some sides than others. “I was in a team with a Chinese guy and a Japanese girl, so we talked mainly through gestures,” said Germany’s Moritz Kreuseler after one frantic scramble on the ice. “But it was a lot of fun, and it is good to be teammates with people from other countries. You make friends even if you can’t really speak.”
“Co-ordinating was difficult,” added Shin. “We’d never skated together before and only got two days of practice. But the experience was great. We will all stay in touch.”
Gold medallist Farstad, 15, had no complaints. “This has been a dream for me all my life, so I feel great,” she said. “It’s such an honour to win a gold in front of so many people from Norway.”
Written by YIS / IOC Nick Moore, with IOC Young Reporter Jerick Sablan
Nick Moore is a reporter for the Lillehammer Youth Information Service ‘YIS’. A sports and music journalist with 20 years of experience, he covered the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Based in the UK, he has written for numerous titles including FourFourTwo, The Independent, Q and The Times.