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'Little Lee' signals superstar qualities with speed skating gold

13 Feb 2016
Lillehammer 2016, YOG, Speed Skating, 500m, Olympic News

To be compared to Lee Sang-Hwa in Korea is high praise indeed. The speed skating legend has done it all in her sport: two Olympic gold medals, three world championship wins, and the current 500m world record. At the Olympic Hall Viking Ship in Hamar on Saturday, spectators saw the international arrival of the young athlete they are already calling “Little Lee Sang-Hwa” back in Seoul.

Eighteen-year-old Kim Min Sun stormed to the gold medal in the ladies’ speed skating 500m, with a cumulative time of 78.66 seconds. It was easy to see why she is being likened to her famous compatriot.

'Little Lee' signals superstar qualities with speed skating gold Al Tielemans YIS / IOC

“Lee is an amazing role model for me and all Korean skaters,” said Kim. “I am now racing in senior as well as junior races, so I can apply what I have learned from her. She is a similar kind of build to me, so the hard part for me now will be trying to compete in the senior races. I’m very happy to win today.”

China’s Han Mei won the ladies’ silver medal (in 79.44) and her teammate Li Huawei took the bronze (79.75).

The men’s gold went to Li Yanzhe of China, with a cumulative time of 71.95. Japan’s Kazuki Sakakibara took silver (73.97) while Korea’s Chung Jae Woong got bronze (74.13).

'Little Lee' signals superstar qualities with speed skating gold Al Tielemans YIS / IOC

“I was very nervous on the ice, but I calmed myself down and it feels very nice to win,” said Li. “My overall aim is to compete at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, so I will try my hardest to get there.”

Written by YIS / IOC NICK MOORE with Kim Joo-Hyun

Nick Moore is a reporter for the Lillehammer Youth Information Service ‘YIS’. A sports and music journalist with 20 years of experience, he covered the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Based in the UK, he has written for numerous titles including FourFourTwo, The Independent, Q and The Times.

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