Published: Tue, February 20, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

S. Korean speed skater Lee Sang-hwa

S. Korean speed skater Lee Sang-hwa

The skater finished in 23rd place and 12th place in the longer 1,000m event at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games, respectively, but when it comes to 500m races, she was considered invincible.

Lee Sang-hwa waves at a medal ceremony in Gangneung, Gangwon Province on Sunday.

Pre-race favourite Kodaira made her way out to the ice and produced the performance so many expected.

"I was the captain of the whole delegation of Japan".

"And I was relieved a lot as I could brush off the pressure".

After the race, the two women spoke of their deep friendship and respect for each other, with Kodaira remembering Lee's kindness to her even after her loss on the home ground. She high-fived her coach after the last skater crossed the line and shook her fists in triumph.

Lee, who previously held the Olympic title and record, did win silver, coming in 0.39 behind Kodaira.

In their semi they will face New Zealand, while defending champions Netherlands will battle Norway for a spot in the gold-medal showdown.

It confirmed the victory for Kodaira.

This is the third time Bergsma has competed in the 500 in Olympic competition.

Kodaira of Japan, 31, won ahead of the South Korean star at the same venue in last year's World Championships.

Kodaira claimed the gold with a time of 36-point-94 seconds, an Olympic record.

Lee clocked 37.67 to earn silver. The Czech Republic's Karolina Erbanova did enough to take bronze. So many people have supported me, accepting me through good times and bad.

Afterward, Kodaira and Lee glided around carrying their respective flags in a show of unity contrary to the two countries' rough relationship due to historical disputes. "She's my friend", Kodaira said.

The Americans came up empty again.

"Nao said: "Next Olympics you can win and I'll take second place". Jackson, whose qualification was perhaps the most riveting story of Olympic trials: Jackson had been on ice for only a total of four months when she earned a spot as the first black woman to make the US speed skating team.

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