Wang Meng likely to miss Olympics with broken ankle
China's short track speed skating star suffers injury during practice
China’s short track speed skating star Wang Meng suffered an ankle fracture at the team’s national training centre in Shanghai on Thursday, according to a Chinese official.
Wang, who reportedly collided with a teammate during a turn, is expected to have ankle surgery to repair tibia and fibula fractures.
Wang, a four-time Olympic champion, will now likely miss the Sochi Games in February, a big blow to China’s team.
"If she receives this kind of surgery, Wang will have to be sidelined for at least six to eight weeks," Liu Yasen, a Chinese weightlifting team doctor, told the Xinhua news service.
The Sochi Olympics begin on Feb. 7 with the women's 500m set for three days later.
Wang won Olympic gold in the 500m at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Games. She also claimed Olympic titles in the 1,000m and the 3,000m relay team at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Wang's injury means the run to Olympic gold, specifically the 500m, will now be a wide open competition. Canada's Marianne St-Gelais, of Saint-Félicien, Que., won Olympic silver medals in both the 500m and as part of the 3,000m relay team. She's expected to once again be a major medal threat in both events.
"That was huge news this morning with our community. It’s sad," said Yves Hamelin, Canaga's short track program director. "She’s the best athletes in the world in that distance [500m]. It’s sad for that athlete.
"For us we were preparing for being highly competitive against the best in the world. So it could be seen the level would be a little lower because Wang Meng is not there. The positive aspect is the door is open for other athletes to compete and win that race."