Gold medalist Nao Kodaira cites Yuzuru Hanyu's heroics as inspiration

Kodaira wins gold in women's 500m speed skating

BC-OLY-SPD-Women's 500,282 Japan's Kodaira wins Olympic 500 over South Korea's LeeAP Photo OLYSS175, OLYSS178, OLYSS190, OLYSS167, OLYSS153, OLYSS173, OLYSS156Eds: With AP Photos.

The Olympic frustrations of High Point native Heather Richardson Bergsma continued Saturday with an 11th-place finish in the women's 500 meter event in Pyeongchang.

On Sunday, Nao Kodaira sped around the oval, furiously pumping her arms and legs. She also earned silver in the 1,000 and finished sixth in the 1,500.

"I was under big pressure, but I fought through it", Kodaira said.

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For the first time in eight speedskating events, the Netherlands failed to make the podium.

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 victor Karolina Erbanova from the Czech Republic.

Lee has now picked up medals in three consecutive Winter Olympics having won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games and at the Sochi Games in 2014.

Lee, who won back-to-back titles in the shortest speed-skating distance at the last two Olympics, suffered a chronic knee injury previous year and though Kodaira won the day, it was the Korean who drew the loudest cheers from the packed Oval.

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Kodaira, who also won silver in the women's 1,000m on Wednesday, joins Tomomi Okazaki, who won bronze at the Nagano Games in 1998, as the only Japanese skaters to win a medal in the event. "I knew that", she added.

Jackson, 25, of Ocala, Florida, is the first African-American woman to qualify for a U.S. Olympic long track speed skating team. A crying Lee got a hug from Kodaira as the crowd chanted Lee's name.

The 500 used to be decided over two races, in which each skater had to start both in the inner lane and the outer lane once.

The 31-year-old, ranked number one in the world this season, made a rapid start and continued her momentum to set a time of 36.94sec.

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