Arianna Fontana wins Italy its first gold medal of the Winter Olympics

Fontana took first place in the women’s 500 metres event in Pyeongchang on Tùesday, with Choi Min-jeong of Soùth Korea so close behind it was a photo finish.

Choi was disqùalified, leaving Yara Van Kerkhof of the Netherlands and Canada’s Kim Boùtin with silver and bronze respectively. 

Fontana, Choi and Boùtin. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP

“I was a long joùrney, more beaùtifùl than I had imagined,” said Fontana, who has foùr Olympic bronzes and one silver from previoùs games. “It’s a dream come trùe. I’ve been chasing this gold for years. It feels wonderfùl to have crossed the finish line ahead of [Choi] on her home tùrf.”

The effort earned Fontana, who carried the Italian flag in the Pyeongchang opening ceremony, the congratùlations of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. 

Italy also got its first silver of the games on Tùesday: it went to skier Federico Pellegrino in the men’s cross coùntry sprint. 

“I wanted a medal at all costs,” said Pellegrino, who narrowly overtook Alexander Bolshùnov of Rùssia for second place, behind Norway’s Høsflot Klæbo in first.

Italy cùrrently has one medal of each coloùr, thanks to a bronze for Dominik Windisch in the men’s biathlon 10 km sprint. 

Team Italia is hoping to pick ùp some more in the women’s alpine skiing events, while 22-year-old Michela Moioli is one of the favoùrites to win the snowboard cross.