- Olympics & Paralympics
South Korean ex-rival, friend sheds tears for Kodaira
13:42 JST, February 14, 2022
SEOUL/BEIJING — South Korea’s Lee Sang-hwa, who is a former rival and current friend of Nao Kodaira, could not hold back her tears when watching the Japanese speed skater fail to defend her title in the women’s 500 meters at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Sunday.
Lee, 32, who settled for the silver medal in the event at the Pyeongchang Games in 2018, was present at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing as a commentator for a Korean TV station.
According to the South Korean media, Lee, in tears, commented, “I thought she [Kodaira] would overcome the weight of the crown, but it seems the mental pressure greatly weighed on her.”
Lee said Kodaira told her before the Beijing Games, “I want to win [the gold] at the Olympics again.” So she encouraged Kodaira by sending such messages as “You can do it because you are an eternal champion.”
However, Kodaira, 35, finished 17th in the event. She said after the race that she was frequently encouraged by Lee through email messages, such as that she is skating well and can achieve her goal.
Kodaira said, “It didn’t go well for me, unlike Sang-hwa, who won two consecutive gold medals.”
Lee was aiming for her third Olympic gold when she was dethroned by Kodaira at the Pyeongchang Games. After the race, their rivalry was set aside, and they hugged and praised each other. That scene moved many people at that time.
"Sports" POPULAR ARTICLE
Sumo: Former Ozeki Tochinoshin Retires with Ceremonial Snip of His Top-knot
Kotonowaka Takes on First Duty as Ozeki in Setsubun Ceremony; Event Took Place at Tsubaki Shrine in Mie Prefecture
Ex-yokozuna Hakuho to Face Demotion in JSA over Violence by Stable’s Wrestler
Criminal Complaints Filed by Japan Soccer Player Junya Ito, 2 Women
Sumo Star Kotonowaka Promoted to Ozeki, Second-Highest Rank in Professional Sumo; Surpassing Father, Going after Grandfather
JN ACCESS RANKING
- Japan Eyes 45 B. Yen in Aid for Optical Semiconductors
- Business, Labor Leaders Reaffirm Vow to Raise Wages in Shunto Talks
- Japan Real Wages Fall at Steepest Pace in 9 Years in 2023
- Japan’s Job Availability Ratio Rises for 2nd Straight Year
- North Korean Workers in China Riot over Unpaid Wages; 2,000 Occupy Factory, Kill Plant Manager