In the slippery world of short track, China kept its grip solidly on the Olympic gold medal.
Li Jianrou extended her country’s dominance in the women’s 500 meters Thursday, winning its fourth consecutive title after she was the only skater who didn’t fall in the wild final.
Three-time defending champion Wang Meng of China missed the Olympics after breaking her ankle last month. Li had little experience in the wild and woolly sprint, where getting off to a quick start is important. But she kept her cool while everyone else was falling around her.
‘‘I feel very lucky,’’ Li said through a translator.
She and one of her coaches cried tears of joy after China joined South Korea as the only countries to win the same short-track event four Olympics in a row. The Koreans won the 3,000 relay in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006.
Li’s victory made up for the surprising fall of teammate Fan Kexin in the semifinals.
Arianna Fontana of Italy took the silver and Park Seung-Hi of South Korea earned the bronze.
Women’s 10k classical —If a foot fracture couldn’t stop Justyna Kowalczyk, a bit of sunshine certainly wasn’t about to.
Kowalczyk ignored the pain in her injured foot and the warm weather beating down on the women’s cross-country skiers to win Olympic gold in the 10-kilometer classical-style race.
As her rivals tired in the heat, Kowalczyk showed exactly why this is her signature event, powering forward relentlessly toward the finish line to finish in 28 minutes, 17.8 seconds. Silver medalist Charlotte Kalla of Sweden was 18.4 seconds back, while Therese Johaug of Norway took bronze, 28.3 seconds behind.
Men — Sweden capped a successful day for three gold-medal favorites by beating Norway, 5-4, ending its Nordic rival’s unbeaten start.
Canada and Britain also won in the afternoon session at the Ice Cube Curling Center to keep the pressure on tournament leader China (4-0), which had a bye.
Women — Canada moved to the brink of the semifinals by beating Denmark and Switzerland to remain undefeated after five games of round-robin play.
Sweden also won both of its games to stay one victory behind the Canadians; the two-time defending champions beat Switzerland, 9-8, in the morning session and then stole a point in the final end to defeat Denmark, 7-6.
The US stayed alive by picking up an 8-6 win over Japan in the evening session. Erika Brown’s rink is 1-4 and still could qualify by winning its final four games.
Men’s 20k individual — Martin Fourcade won his second gold medal of these Olympics, overcoming one penalty minute.
The Frenchman, who also won the 12.5k pursuit Monday, finished in 49 minutes, 31.7 seconds after missing one target in his second shooting.
Erik Lesser of Germany shot cleanly throughout and came 12.2 seconds behind to take silver. for his first individual medal at a major championship Yevgeny Garanichev of Russia earned bronze. , finishing 34.5 off the lead after faulting once in his final shooting
Women — Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold is feeling no pressure, not even as an Olympic rookie leading midway through the women’s skeleton competition.
And American Noelle Pikus-Pace knows that will make Yarnold even tougher to catch.
Yarnold and Pikus-Pace held the top spots after Thursday’s opening two runs at the Sanki Sliding Center, a predictable result since they combined to win every World Cup race this season. Yarnold’s time was 1 minute, 56.89 seconds, 0.44 seconds ahead of Pikus-Pace.