Lee Sang-hwa sets Olympic records to win second straight 500m gold

Lee blazes around the track to set a pair of records and win gold. (Getty Images)
Lee blazes around the track to set a pair of records and win gold. (Getty Images)

Lee Sang-hwa continued her domination of women's 500 meter speed skate, crushing the competition to win her second straight gold medal and set a couple of Olympic records in the process.

The South Korean who won the event in Vancouver only got better in the four years since. Her first skate of two in the competition yielded a time of 37.42, giving her a lead of 0.15 seconds going into the second skate.

That's when Lee turned it up another level and blistered the track with an Olympic Record time of 37.28 in her second skate. Her total time of 74.70 was also an Olympic Record and gave her a decisive win, 0.36 seconds faster than Russia's Olga Fatkulina in combined time. The bronze medal went to the Netherlands' Margot Boer, adding to the Dutch's haul in speed skating.

Lee's performance in setting an Olympic record was remarkable, especially given the fact that her time came at sea level in Sochi (the previous record was set in Salt Lake City) and on a track that has been slower for most skaters in these Olympics so far. But Lee is not most skaters as she has shown this season.

Lee entered a clear favorite as she is already the world record holder and is perfect this season. Coming into the Games she had won every other 500 meter competition she had been in this season, a perfect seven for seven. Make it eight for eight.

American Heather Richardson came in with a chance at becoming the first female medalist in speed skating since 2002 but her combined time of 75.75 put her in eighth place.

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