Born: February 25, 1989 - Seoul (KOR)
Lee Sang-hwa started her career at a very young age. The South Korean skated her first World Cup race when she was just fifteen. Two years later, in 2006, she won her first World Cup on the 500 meters. Many victories would follow. Up to now Lee has won a total of 24 World Cup races.
At the 2006 Olympics Lee became 19th at the 1000 meters. The 500 meters event consisted of two races. Lee finished sixth in the first race. She did much better in the second run, ending in third place. However, this result wasn’t good enough to get Lee on the podium in the overall standings.
Throughout the following years Lee continued to improve on the sprint distances. By 2008 the skater had become a well-known face at the medal ceremonies. Her results at the World Championships got better and better as well. In 2009 Lee won the bronze medal on the 500 meters at the World Single Distance Championships.
In 2010 Lee became World Champion Sprint in Obihiro. This victory, just a month before the Olympics, did not only show that she was all set up for the 500 meters, but that her 1000 meters were very strong as well. The expectations for the Olympics were high. Unfortunately the 1k in Vancouver wasn’t a success for the South Korean. Lee ended up on the 23th place. Nevertheless it didn’t matter, because her 500 meters more than made up for it. Lee skated the fastest time in the first run, just six hundredths ahead of Jenny Wolf. Wolf did win the second run, but Lee maintained her lead in the overall standings and became Olympic Champion.
2013 started off great for Lee. In January she skated a world record on the 500 meters with a time of 36.80. In November Lee bettered her own record, taking of six hundredths. A week later she was faster again, skating a time of 36.57. One day later Lee shattered that world record once again with the time of 36.36.
Rianne Mense, December 7, 2013