Russia’s Olga Fatkulina delivered a crowd-pleasing silver, Margot Boer extended the Dutch success with a bronze, but defending champion Sang-Hwa Lee beat everyone. We mean everyone. Her second heat was an Olympic record 37.28 — impressive considering the old record was in the altitude of Salt Lake City — and her total time of 74.70 was also an Olympic record.
Event: Women’s 500 meters
Medalists: Sang-Hwa Lee (South Korea), Olga Fatkulina (Russia), Margot Boer (Netherlands)
SportsMyriad projections: Sang-Hwa Lee (South Korea), Olga Fatkulina (Russia), Heather Richardson (USA)
How U.S. fared: Richardson was in range of the podium after finishing fourth in the first run at 37.73 seconds. But she was 0.29 seconds slower in the second run while other skaters improved, sliding to eighth. She’s better in the 1,000.
Brittany Bowe, also better in the 1,000, was fell back in 17th after the first run but improved a bit to 13th in the second. Lauren Cholewinski was 15th. Sugar Todd was 29th.
What happened: Richardson was in the 14th pair of the second heat but dropped off the pace set by Margot Boer one pair earlier. She knew at the finish she wasn’t going to medal.
The 15th pair of China’s Hong Zhang and Germany’s Jenny Wolf moved into the podium places, but that would be temporary.
Olga Fatkulina brought up the crowd noise with the 16th pair. And she delivered. Her time of 37.49 bested her first-run time of 37.57. Lee had gone 37.42 in the first run and would need another strong run to beat the home favorite.
Strong? Yeah, pretty much.