Winter Olympics Day Nine – Kodaira wins 500m gold medal

Nao Kodaira

Nao Kodaira continued her almost two-year undefeated run, winning the gold medal in PyeongChang in the 500 meters speed skating event.

Japan’s Kodaira captured the gold medal in the women’s 500 meters in Olympic record time at Gangneung Oval on Sunday night.

The 31-year-old native of Chino won in a time of 36.94 seconds, ending the dominance of South Korea’s Lee Seung-Hwa.

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

Despite being overjoyed by her triumph, Kodaira was quick to console Lee, who has won this event twice before.

Speaking afterwards, Lee said she wasn’t disappointed to have not won the gold but rather was grateful she was able to compete in front of her home crowd at the Olympics.

“I don’t care about silver or bronze or gold, because I already have two gold medals for the Olympic Games, but it’s here in Korea so it was really exciting to hear many Koreans cheering for us,” Lee said following the race.