Short Track

Tony Care - Saturday Feb. 15, 2014 05:39 ET

Canadian women can't get past 1,500m short track semis

China's Zhou Yang defends Olympic title

Valerie Maltais fails to qualify in short track
Canada’s Valerie Maltais failed to qualify for the women’s 1,500-metre short track final on Saturday in Sochi. (Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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No Canadian women made it to the Olympic women’s short track 1,500-metre final.

The last two Canadian skaters remaining, Valerie Maltais and Marie-Eve Drolet, were eliminated from the semifinals on Saturday at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi.

China's Zhou Yang later successfully defended her Olympic gold medal in the final.

But it was a disappointing day for Canada. 

Montreal’s Drolet, 32, finished third in the opening semifinal group with a time of two minutes, 19.516 seconds. Only the top two skaters advanced.

Maltais, a native of La Baie, Que., and Canada’s best hope for a medal in this distance, couldn’t get around defending Olympic champion Zhou Yang of China and Korea’s Suk Hee Shim. She ended up third in her semi in 2:19.516.

In the earlier 1,500m heats, Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Felicien, Que., failed to qualify for the semifinals after placing fourth in her heat with a time of 2:27.071.

The Saint-Felicien, Que., native was also coming off a disappointing 500m performance on Thursday when she was unable to advance to the 500m final.

Terrific final

The final featured some terrific racing. Zhou and Korea's Shim Suk Hee battled throughout the race. It appeared the younger Shim would win the event but Zhou made a beautiful move to the inside with two laps remaining. 

Zhou held on from there, winning with a time of  2:19.140. Shim took the silver in 2:19.239, while Italian Arianna Fontanna won her second medal in Sochi, earning bronze in 2:19.416.

"I was nervous at the beginning, but after I finished it I felt so thrilled," Zhou told reporters.

"I've been through a lot during the past four years. I didn't expect I could come back to the Olympic Games."

Korean Kim Alang was disqualified for taking out Li Jianrou, who won the gold medal in the 500m on Thursday.

(With files from Reuters)

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