Japan's Nao Kodaira sets Olympic record en route to 500 meters speed skating gold

The women’s 500-meter speed skating final on Sunday was never in doubt. Nao Kodaira of Japan sprinted ahead from the start and set an Olympic record with a time of 36.94 to clinch the  gold medal.

13 PHOTOS
Speed Skater Nao Kodaira
See Gallery
Speed Skater Nao Kodaira
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 18: Nao Kodaira of Japan competes during the Ladies' 500m Individual Speed Skating Final on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 18, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 18: Nao Kodaira of Japan celebrates after winning the gold medal during the Ladies' 500m Individual Speed Skating Final on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 18, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 18: Nao Kodaira of Japan competes during the Ladies' 500m Individual Speed Skating Final on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 18, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 18: Gold medalist Nao Kodaira of Japan celebrates during the victory ceremony after the Ladies' 500m Individual Speed Skating Final on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 18, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, Pyeongchang- FEBRUARY 18 - Eventual Gold Medalist Nao Kodaira of Japan asks the crowd quite down for the next race in the ladies' 500 m at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung in Pyeongchang in South Korea. February 18, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Japan's Nao Kodaira celebrates on the podium during the women's 500m speed skating event venue ceremony during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung on February 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Gold medallist Japan's Nao Kodaira celebrates after the women's 500m speed skating event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung on February 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 18: Nao Kodaira of Japan celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Ladies' 500m Individual Speed Skating Final on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 18, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Japan's Nao Kodaira competes in the women's 500m speed skating event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung on February 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 15: Silver medalist Nao Kodaira of Japan celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Speed Skating Ladies' 1000m on day six of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 15, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14, 2018: Speed skater Nao Kodaira of Japan competes in the ladies' 1000m speed skating race during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Gangneung Oval Arena. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: Nao Kodaira of Japan competes during the Ladies' 1000m Speed Skating on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Gangneung Oval on February 14, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: Nao Kodaira of Japan celebrates winning the silver medal during the victory ceremony for the Ladies' 1000m Speed Skating on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Gangneung Oval on February 14, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Kodaira, 31, entered the tournament as the favorite having won gold at the World Championships in the 500 meters, as well as the sprint, and is already the world record holder in the 1000 meters. South Korea’s Lee Sang Hwa the 28-year-old, two-time defending Olympic champion claimed the silver, but was distraught afterwards and had to be consoled by Kodaira. In a display of good sportsmanship, the two competitors from contentious nations embraced afterwards.

Kodaira’s gold medal ended a 20-year gold medal drought for the Japanese in women’s and men’s speed skating.

https://twitter.com/GracenoteGold/status/965207340206182400

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.