Nao Kodaira wins 500m gold medal, ends Lee Sang-Hwa’s Olympic dominance


Nao Kodaira (JPN) continued her almsot two-year undefeated run in the 500m, winning the gold medal in PyeongChang.

Kodaira did not succumb to the pressure that has been put on her by Japanese media and fans, and became the first Japanese 500m Olympic champion.

Prior to PyeongChang, Japanese women had won just 4 Olympic speed skating medals. They’ve already won 4 at these Olympics.

Lee Seung-Hwa (KOR) has become notorious for crying after her wins, but today the two-time 500m gold medalist was emotional for a different reason. Lee finished .39 seconds behind Kodaira, earning silver.

In a true show of sportsmanship, Kodaira consoled the former Olympic champion as the reality that she would not win her third straight 500m gold medal set in.

Karolina Erbanova (CZE) finished in third place.

Brittany Bowe (USA) was in first place following her race, but for the third time these Games, was bumped off the podium late. 

Heather Bergsma (USA) was not able to improve her dissapointing Olympic performance in the 500m.

Erin Jackson (USA) made her Olympic debut and concluded her participation in PyeongChang. 

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