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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lethal Turner: A Challenger's Worst Nightmare

HAMAR, Norway -- Watch out world, here comes big, bad Cathy Turner and she's coming to your Winter Olympics.


Thursday night, America's short-track speed skating queen, just off the Ice Capades circuit, hit the big town looking for gold.


Turner knocked over a Canadian in the semifinals.


She grabbed the leg of the world-record holder from China in the final.


And she won the gold in the 500 meters, quickly finding herself ensnared in an international incident.


Silver medalist Zhang Yanmei of China protested the race and refused to shake Turner's hand. Amy Peterson of the United States won the bronze.


"The American skater was obvious ly breaking the rules," Zhang said.


No wonder they call this roller derby on ice. The only thing missing was a Kansas City Bomber.


"I'm a little scared right now," Turner said. "I didn't think I had done anything wrong. These girls elbow everyone. I was just fighting my way to the turn. Was I going to say, 'OK, you go first?'"


Turner, ex-lounge singer, ex-Ice Capades star, just may be the toughest speed skater of them all.


In the semifinals, she tangled with Canada's Isabelle Charest, the pair elbowing and spinning around a turn, crashing to the ice and sliding together toward the hard rubber mats that protect the skaters from the dasher boards.


Charest was disqualified for an illegal pass. And was outraged. Turner was allowed to re-run the semifinals and won the heat.


In the final, a 4 1/2-lap sprint around a track laid out on a hockey rink, Turner had to come from behind to win.


It was Zhang who got the quick start, bolting ahead for two laps. But with 80 meters to go, Turner made her move, zooming around a turn, grabbing hold of Zhang's right leg with her left hand, absorbing a little kick and rocketing away with the gold.


When the race ended, Zhang chased after officials, grabbing her right leg to show them the alleged offense. But they refused to budge.


A spokesman for the race committee announced, "The rules are as they are. The medals will stay as they are."


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Mongolian short track skater Batchuluun Bat-Orgil set a new national record of 48.63 seconds for the 500 meters sprint.


Unfortunately, the time was four seconds slower than the winner of his qualifying heat, and the student sports instructor was eliminated. But Bat-Orgil, 24, the only athlete to represent his country at the Lillehammer Games, did not seem to mind.


He was just glad to be here.


When the Lillehammer Games opened on Feb. 12, he was midway through a bone-shaking, heart-breaking train journey across Russia from Germany with his trainer after he was told he had not qualified for the Olympics. When he got home to Ulan Bator there was a fax from Norway, saying a spot had opened up for him with the withdrawal of some other competitors.


Mongolia's national Olympic committee spared him a return eight-day train ride, paying for his plane ticket.