Lee Sang-hwa wins women's 500m speed skating

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South Korean speed skating ace Lee Sang-Hwa edged world record holder Jenny Wolf from Germany in the women's 500m race here on Tuesday, collecting the second speed skating gold for South Korea at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

Lee finished the two races in a total result of 76.09 seconds, outplaying the 31-year-old reigning world champion Wolf by 0.05 seconds.

"I was really nervous before the competition, because it's Olympic Games," said Lee who broke into tears immediately after realizing her victory. "But when I stood behind the starting line, I was able to calm down and to did my best performance."

Holding the world record of 37.00 seconds, Wolf came to Vancouver as the top seed and hot favourite.

However, the 21-year-old Lee touched the finish line first in their opening encounter in 38.249 while Wolf trailed by 38.307seconds. The two sprinters completed the first race in top two among the 18 competitors.

Fighting head-to-head again as the last group in the second race, Lee led the first lap but Wolf pushed herself forward with a strong dash.

"After the first run, I was sure I was faster. But after the second one, I was not sure. I needed to find out (victory) from my coach," said Lee who finished fifth at the Turin Olympic Winter Games four years ago.

In the men's 500m race on Monday, Lee's compatriot Mo Tae-Bum won the title on his 21st birthday, the nation's first ever gold at the Winter Games outside the short track.

"I was very glad for my friend to win yesterday but I also felt nervous for my own race. So I didn't sleep well last night," revealed Lee.

Wolf, who was really confident in front of media ahead of the race, said that "I was disappointed because of the first race but I knew I had it in me to make up the time in the second race."

Wolf said she didn't like the ice, "becuase it's too hard for me, but everybody has to compete on it."

Chinese hopeful Wang Beixing brought home the bronze medal as the 24-year-old became the fourth Chinese to win a speed skating medal at the Olympic Games.

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