Speed Skating - Lee edging closer to 500m world record

Lee Sang-Hwa raced to within five hundredths of a second of the 500m world record as she maintained her unbeaten start to the speed skating World Cup season over the distance in Calgary.

Speed Skating - Lee edging closer to 500m world record

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Lee Sang-hwa

The 23-year-old has been untouchable over 500m, the distance in which she won Olympic gold at Vancouver 2010, this season and took the opportunity to demonstrate just how much in Canada.

South Korean Lee clocked the fastest time out of all seven of her World Cup wins, ducking just under the 37-second barrier in 36.99, just 0.05 shy Chinese skater Yu Jing's world record.

Yu set the mark in Calgary this time last year but, with a second 500m race to come on Sunday, Lee, who has a 264-point lead at the top of the World Cup standings for the distance, could well break it.

American Heather Richardson was only 0.13 shy of Lee for second in Calgary while Yu herself was third a further 0.16 back with Jenny Wolf, who is second overall, placing eighth.

Richardson wasn't to be denied a victory in the 1000m shortly afterwards though and she was a clear winner for her third victory in the distance this season while Lee was down in 12th.

The 23-year-old won by over half a second to move back to the top of the overall World Cup standings for the distance while Christine Nesbitt was second and fellow American Brittany Bowe third.

Richardson leads Karolina Erbanova, who was 10th, by 47 points while Olympic 1000m champion Nesbitt moved up to third courtesy of her second-place finish 92 points behind overall.

Meanwhile in the men's 500m, Jan Smeekens claimed his second win of the season by 0.04 with Pekka Koskela and Jamie Gregg clocking the same time behind the Dutch skater.

Koskela was given second and Gregg third with Smeekens leading the overall World Cup standings by 84 points ahead of Japan's Joji Kato, who had to make do with fourth in Calgary.

In the 1000m double Olympic champion Shani Davis claimed a second win for America on the night, clocking 1:07.49minutes to beat off the charge of Dutch skaters Kjeld Nuis and Michel Mulder by 0.15 and 0.38 respectively.

Nuis leads the World Cup standings with a total of 390 points with another Dutchman Hein Otterspeer, who was sixth, second with 355 and then Davis in third 15 further back.

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