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Favourite Lee Sang-Hwa of the Republic of Korea smashed the Olympic record en route to a superb defence of her 500m speed skating title on Tuesday afternoon, maintaining the form she has shown in a dominant year.
The Korean took gold at the Adler Arena with a combined time of 74.70 seconds from her two races, putting her comfortably ahead of Dutch rival Margot Boer (75.48), who took bronze.
Lee amassed a lead of 0.15 seconds in her first race and, going out in the final pair second time around, looked certain to extend her advantage. She did so with a record time of 37.28 seconds, ensuring that her total time also entered the Olympic history books.
It was another resounding success for the 24 year-old, who has won her seven World Cup races this season.
As she explained on crossing the finish line, a desire to defend her team colours had been at the forefront of her mind throughout the competition.
“Of course, I thought of everyone and this made me even more determined to get the gold medal for Korea,” she commented.
A remarkable year
Lee’s victory meant that she became only the third speed skater in history to win multiple gold medals in this event, joining the USA’s Bonnie Blair – who won it three times – and Canada’s Catriona Le May Doan.
The achievement caps a remarkable few months for two-time world champion Lee, who broke the 500m record no fewer than four times in 2013.
Meanwhile bronze medallist Boer extended what has been a glittering Winter Games for the Dutch in the speed skating events, taking their Sochi 2014 medal haul in the long and short track to nine.