SOCHI, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Li Yan, head coach of the Chinese short track speedskating team, told Xinhua that it's not just lucky here on Thursday when Li Jianrou avoided crash to win the women's 500m gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
"Li has worked so hard on the 500m sprint after our favorite in the event Wang Meng fell injured less than a month away from the Olympics," said Li Yan. "And also, she's followed smoothly our strategy of not trying to take over the lead until the last two laps."
After twice world champion Fan Kexin and former world silver medalist Liu Qiuhong failed their semifinals, Li, a long-course specialist especially at the 1,500m, headed in the final as a sole Chinese survivor and won the possibly "easiest" race of her life with a time of 45.263 seconds.
Li was staying at back of the field on just the second corner when the race fell to pieces in front of her -- an aggressive passing move on the inside by Britain's Elise Christie first took out Italian Arianna Fontana and then Park Seung-Hi from South Korea.
Christie crossed the line second but was handed a penalty after referees viewed the video afterwards. Fontana won the silver at six seconds to the winner, while Park took the bronze.
"I've always believed in myself," said Li Jianrou. "I skated just like I do in my daily training."
"There were too many surprises," added Li Yan. "But that's sports. That's short track. What we can do is just to try our best."
"Anything can happen and many were out of our control," echoed Liu Qiuhong. "That's competition."
Li extended China's winning streak in the event to four times in a row. Yang Yang A, now a member of the International Olympic Committee, firstly won it in Salt Lake 2002 to end the country's title drought at Winter Olympics, before Wang Meng, who missed the Sochi 2014 after sustaining an ankle fracture last month during training, swept the highest podium at the next three Olympics.