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Favorite Meng of China takes 500 meters; Ohno advances

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - In a sport full of surprises, Wang Meng of China is the surest thing in short track speedskating.

Wang easily won her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the women's 500 meters last night, defending the title she won four years ago at the Turin Games.

She led all the way after surviving a restart and a false start in the four-woman final at Pacific Coliseum.

Apolo Anton Ohno, considered the face of short track, easily advanced through preliminaries of the men's 1,000, and helped the United States move on to the 5,000 relay final.

Both finals are Saturday, when Ohno can add to his cache of six Olympic medals and become the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian. He already won a silver in the 1,500 last weekend.

"I just don't want to leave any room for error. I don't want to leave any microsecond of time that I feel like could make a difference toward a medal," Ohno said. "For me, I'm doing the best I can for every single day. That's how I am. I'm here to do a job. I'm here to represent the U.S. the best that I can."

American J.R. Celski, the bronze medalist in the 1,500, joined Ohno in the quarterfinals.

In the women's 500, Wang cruised home well ahead of Canada's Marianne St-Gelais, who took silver. Arianna Fontana of Italy earned the bronze.

The final was restarted after Canadian Jessica Gregg went down and her teammate St-Gelais followed in the first turn. After some ice repair, the women returned to the starting line.

Then there was a false start. But Wang stayed calm throughout the delays.

She darted to the lead on the inside lane and stayed there the entire way, making it a race for the lesser medals among the other three women.

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