After the Race Came the Real Sportsmanship

Japanese speedskater consoles South Korean rival after beating her in 500-meter race
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2018 9:14 AM CST
Japan's Nao Kodaira, right, winner of an Olympic gold medal, holds crying silver medalist Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea, left, after the women's 500-meter speedskating race at the 2018 Winter Olympics in...   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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(Newser) – To the victor goes the gold, but to the heartbroken second-place finisher in Pyeongchang's women's speedskating race went the grand gesture. Japan's Nao Kodaira clocked in at 36.94 seconds in the 500-meter race on Sunday—good enough for her first gold medal, her country's second medal of the Games, not to mention an Olympic record. But, as Yahoo Sports reports, her victory came at the expense of defending champ Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea, on her heels at 37.33 seconds and hoping for a third gold in front of a home-country crowd. After the race, Lee broke down in tears. Rather than celebrate her victory, though, Kodaira immediately hugged her rival—a gesture made even more touching given the historic tensions between their home countries.

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