Go to contents

Speed skating sensation Lee gears up for Sochi Olympics

Posted December. 28, 2013 05:59,   


Lee Sang-hwa, 24, nicknamed the “Empress of speed skating” in Korea, acquired gold medals at seven races in the 1st through 4th ISU World Cup in this season. She set world records three times in the events. Including the 2013-2014 season, she has already set four world records this year.

Experts consider Lee a “flawless skater.” However, the only perfect race Lee herself singled out was the second race at the second World Cup championships held at Salt Lake City in the U.S. on November 17. At the time, Lee finished first with a time of 36 seconds 36, a world record.

When this reporter met with Lee at the Taeneung International Skating Rink where an award ceremony was held to present prize money for her world records on Friday, Lee said, “It was the only race where I had a perfect race from the start to finish lines. I made small errors in other races.”

Lee said, “The most important thing to me is the start. Although I set a world record, I committed a small error from the second step in the first race. After correcting my posture, I was able to complete the race safely.” Lee’s record in 100-meter race, in which she admittedly committed error, was 10:16. It was only 0.07 second behind her record in 100-meter race in the second race that she called an immaculate race herself.

“I feel proud of being the holder of world record in female’s 500-meter competition,” Lee said. “There are worries that if I don’t participate in a competition, I will lose athletic sense, but time to suffer from such lapse has already passed. I will maintain my physical strength and athletic sense, while focusing on preparation for the Olympic games.” Lee, who received 10 million won (9,500 U.S. dollars) by setting the world record in January this year, was awarded 20 million won (19,000 dollars) for setting new world records by Kim Jae-yeol, chairman of the Korea Skating Union. “I will frugally deposit this prize money as well,” Lee said, smiling.