The short track speed skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics was filled with firsts and historical marks starting with the premiere gold medal race.
China won the inaugural mixed team relay event while Italy finished second. That result landed 31-year-old Italian Arianna Fontana her ninth career medal, and thus she became the all-time leader for short track. She was previously tied with Apolo Ohno of the United States and Viktor Ahn, who competed for South Korea and then Russia.
Fontana earned three medals at the 2022 Winter Olympics, including the 500m gold for the second straight Games.
“There were a lot of good women here making it hard to be on the podiums,” Fontana said. “I don’t really like the records. Records are meant to be broken. I hope another female one day breaks my record.”
A look at the various history makers from the Olympic short track:
Suzanne Schulting and the Netherlands
Suzanne Schulting, the 24-year-old from the Netherlands, earned four medals in five events at her second Games. No other female short track skater had ever taken home four medals from a single Olympics, while Ahn is the only male to have done so in 2006.
With the mixed team relay added — the only event she left emptyhanded — capturing five medals is now possible and perhaps a mark for her to reach in 2026.
“We fought so hard to show the world, and especially the people in the Netherlands, that we are also able to get gold medals in short track,” Schulting said.
The Netherlands has historically dominated in long track speed skating, owning the most Olympic medals of any country. Short track success has been a more recent phenomenon, and Schulting is at the forefront of that movement.
She also set the world record in the women’s 1000m during her other run to gold.
Canada won its fourth men’s 5000m relay in seven Olympics on the final day of short track competition. The win gave Charles Hamelin his sixth career Olympic medal, the most by a male Canadian winter Olympian of all time.
He is tied with long track speed skater Cindy Klassen, who collected six from 2002-2010.
Hamelin is also the oldest short track gold medalist at 37 years old.
“I don’t feel like I’m 37 years old, I feel like I’m still doing what I love the most,” Hamelin said. “I want to prove to everyone in the world that if you are believing in yourself and you have dreams that you can accomplish it.”
He said that the World Championships in March will likely be his final competition.
Hungary earned its first ever short track medal in the men’s 5000m relay in 2018. Liu Shaoang was 19 years and a member of that squad. He returned for his second Olympics in 2022 and became the first Hungarian to win an individual gold medal.
He first earned bronze in the men’s 1000m after his brother, Liu Shaolin, received a yellow card which negated his victory. Shaoang said afterward that he thought his brother’s win should have stood.
Liu later won the men’s 500m sprint gold medal with no penalties to spoil the triumph. Shaolin was ecstatic for his brother on the side.
“I hope this medal will bring the Hungarian people together, bring some pride to my country,” Liu said.
Olympic records in six of eight disciplines — excluding the mixed team relay — were set during the Games, while Schulting marked the only world record.
The Dutch skater also set the Olympic record in the 500m event during heats and helped the Netherlands set it in the 3000m relay final.
Liu skated the fastest Olympic time in the men’s 500m quarterfinal en route to his victory, and South Korean Hwang Dae-Heon marked the Olympic record in the men’s 1000m during heats. He did not win the event but later took gold in the 1500m.
“The level has grown a lot compared to four years ago,” Fontana said. “It’s never an easy race. It is always exciting. You never know what is going to happen, even if you are the best.”
Find replays of each short track event here.