Lee ousts favorites, wins gold

Updated: February 17, 2010, 8:38 PM ET
Associated Press

RICHMOND, British Columbia -- South Korea won another stunning gold at the Olympic speedskating oval Tuesday as Lee Sang-hwa knocked off two overwhelming favorites in the women's 500 meters.

German world-record holder Jenny Wolf and China's Wang Beixing came in expecting to battle for top spot on the podium, having swept all eight races during the World Cup season. But Lee held off Wolf by five-hundredths of a second, winning with a total time of 1 minute, 16.09 seconds.

Wolf had the fastest time in the second race, but it wasn't enough to erase Lee's lead from the first heat, leaving the German with a silver at 1:16.14. Wang took the bronze in 1:16.63.

Lee hugged her coach and grabbed a South Korean flag for the victory lap, an increasingly familiar celebration at the oval in suburban Richmond.

Until these games, the Asian nation had never won a Winter Olympic gold in any sport except short track. Now, the Koreans are dominating on the big oval, winning two of the first four events and taking silver in another.

Lee's victory gave South Korea a sweep of the 500s. Mo Tae-bum captured gold in the men's race a day earlier and is expected to be one of the top challengers to American world-record holder Shani Davis in Wednesday's 1,000.

The South Koreans also collected an unexpected silver in the men's 5,000 from Lee Seung-hoon.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press