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Japan's Kodaira breaks Olympic record to win women's 500m speed skating

By
Xinhua
Nao Kodaira of Japan powers her way to winning the gold medal and setting a new Olympic record of women's 500m speed skating with a time of 36.94 seconds during the finals of the women's 500m speed skating Sunday at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung, South Korea. Photo by Andrew Wong/UPI
Nao Kodaira of Japan powers her way to winning the gold medal and setting a new Olympic record of women's 500m speed skating with a time of 36.94 seconds during the finals of the women's 500m speed skating Sunday at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung, South Korea. Photo by Andrew Wong/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Nao Kodaira of Japan broke the Olympic record on Sunday on her way to winning the women's 500 meter speed skating event at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Having claimed victory in each of her last 15 World Cup appearances in the women's 500m from 2016 to 2018, the reigning world champion Kodaira recorded a winning time of 36.94 seconds, shattering the old Olympic record of 37.28 seconds set by South Korean Lee Sang-Hwa at the Sochi Games four years ago.

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Kodaira, also the silver medalist in Wednesday's 1,000m race, became the second Japanese speed skater to win an Olympic gold behind Hiroyasu Shimizu, who reaped the title of the men's 500m in 1998 in Nagano.

Two-time defending Olympic champion and world record holder Lee settled for the silver with a time of 37.33 seconds, 0.01 seconds ahead of bronze medal winner Karolina Erbanova from Czech Republic.

Chinese Yu Jing finished ninth at 37.81 seconds.

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