After advancing into the “A” Final of the women’s short track 1500m final, Emily Scott of the U.S. was collected in a three-person incident with eight laps to go in the race, which was won by Zhou Yang of China.
Scott had taken a brief lead early, but was running in the pack when another skater lost control and fell, taking Scott and a third skater into the boards.
The Springfield, Missouri native was credited with a fifth place finish.
The race continued on, and it was Yang that emerged with the win over Korea’s Shim Suk-Hee and Italy’s Arianna Fontana to defend her Olympic title from four years ago in Vancouver.
In the undercard “B” Final, Scott’s U.S. compatriot, Jessica Smith, finished second after using the outside line to her advantage to take the lead in mid-race.
Canada’s Valerie Maltais, however, took the lead from Smith with three laps to go and quickly left Smith and the rest of the field behind.
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SHORT TRACK – WOMEN’S 1500M FINAL
1. Yang Zhou (CHN), 2:19.140
2. Shim Suk-Hee (KOR), 2:19.239
3. Arianna Fontana (ITA), 2:19.416
5. Emily Scott (USA), 2:39.436
7. Jessica Smith (USA – 2nd in B Final)
Emily Scott, making her Olympic debut in Sochi, is the lone American to advance into Thursday’s quarterfinals in the women’s short track 500m.
Today, Scott finished second in her preliminary heat race to Korea’s Seung-Hi Park, earning a berth to the next round.
MORE: NBCOlympics.com Slideshow – Women’s short track 500m prelims
As for the other two Americans, Alyson Dudek – a bronze medalist in the relay at Vancouver in 2010 – drew a penalty in her heat, while Jessica Smith failed to advance after falling.
The aforementioned quarterfinals will begin Thursday at 5 a.m. ET, followed by the semifinals at 6:10 a.m. ET and then, the final at 7:05 a.m. ET.
Emily Scott will be one of more than 200 athletes competing for the U.S. in Sochi and one of eight short track speed skaters.
But the story of how she got there is as unique as any on the Olympic Team.
Scott, 24, qualified for her first Olympics at the U.S. Short Track Trials on Jan. 4.
That came about six months after she filed for food stamps and about 15 years after her mother, Carol, went to jail for the first time.
NBC Sports’ Joe Posnanski details Scott’s journey in this profile.
“A girl that age doesn’t understand everything. But Emily understood enough. Her mother was a methamphetamine addict and trafficker. She was unstable, out of control, unable to deal with life. Emily’s time with her had been bewildering and sometimes frightening and always unsteady. “Everyone chooses a path,” Emily says gently. “Unfortunately that was her path.”
In light of the recent Jamaican Bobsled Team headlines, it’s important to remember many Olympians face financial struggles.
A year ago, Emily Scott lost almost all of her funding. There were numerous problems at U.S. Speedkating — speedskater Simon Cho admitted to tampering with a competitor’s skate, speedkating coach Jae Su Chun was forced to resign after alleged physical and verbal abuse, financially the group was a shambles — and Scott’s funding was cut from almost $2,000 a month to $600. Her apartment in Salt Lake City costs $500 a month. Even with her job at a surgical supply factory, she could not make ends meet.
“Scared?” she asks. “Yes. Of course I was scared. I was in panic mode. I felt like everything I had worked so hard for so many years was crashing down.”
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