Wang on knees to legend coach after retaining 500m short track Olympic title

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Defending Olympic champion Wang Meng of China got on her knees after retaining the women's 500 meters short track speed skating title on Wednesday at the Vancouver Winter Games.

Crossing the line first in 43.048 seconds, the reigning world record holder for the event twice slightly knocked the ice with her head in the direction of the Chinese team staffs before jumping into the arms of head coach Li Yan.

"I made two kowtows," the 25-year-old Chinese girl, who was born in Qitaihe of northeastern Chinese province of Heilongjiang, also the hometown for the first Chinese Winter Olympic champion Yang Yang, told Xinhua.

"The first was to my coach Li Yan, and the second to other coaching staff, the officials and teammates including Liu Qiuhong (Chinese medal hopeful who withdrew from this Games due to thigh injury)."

"She (Li) taught me how to give it all and control the game in the women's 500m," Wang added.

Li, who guided Apolo Anton Ohno of the United States to win the men's 500m title at the Turin Winter Games four years ago, helped China extend its dominance in the women's short distance event since the Salt Lake City Games in 2002 when Yang Yang ended the Chinese gold drought at the Winter Olympics.

"Yes, we are confident that we can continue to dominate this event. Why not?" said the 41-year-old Li, silver medallist of the event at the 1992 Albertville Games.

"As a coach, my job is to help my skaters fulfill their dreams of life," she added. "When their dreams come true, so do mine."

"I am more than happy. I know Wang was extending her gratitude to me, but I am wondering whether she will ask me for pocket money for the kowtow when we get back to the Athletes Village," she joked.

With the well-deserved victory, the Chinese delegation has tied its best finish of two gold medals at previous two Winter Olympics.

Marianne St-Gelais of Canada settled for the silver with 43.707 while the bronze medal went to Italian Arianna Fontana in 43.804.


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