Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Venue(s): Richmond Olympic Oval, Richmond
Date Started: February 16, 2010
Date Finished: February 16, 2010
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.
The women's 500 m competition was widely expected to be a duel between Germany's Jenny Wolf and China's Wang Beixing. Wolf had been the strongest 500 m skater since the 2006 Games, claiming the World Championship and the World Cup in the next three seasons. Wolf was also the fastest skater, with a world record of 37.00 seconds and seven of the ten fastest times recorded. Two of the other top-10 times had been set by Wang, three times runner-up to Wolf at the World Championships, but Wang had beaten Wolf at the 2009 World Sprint Championships, and twice during the ongoing World Cup season. Shortly before the Games, a third contender appeared. Already considered the "best of the rest" for some time, South Korean Lee Sang-Hwa finally managed to beat Wolf in one of the 500 ms at the World Sprint Championships, where she also took the overall title.
One of the other medal contenders, Annette Gerritsen of the Netherland was already out of contention in the first run, as she crashed out of the race in the first curve. At that point, Wang had taken the lead with a somewhat disappointing 34.487. Wolf was expected to beat this, which she did with 38.307. But in that race, Lee passed Wolf in the final straight to create a gap of about 0.05 seconds.
This left the competition wide open for the second run. It soon turned out that ice conditions had much improved. Wang considerably bettered her own first run time, and even bettered Lee's mark with her 38.144, ensuring a bronze medal. The final pair between Lee and Wolf was an exciting one. Wolf recorded one of her stunning opening times (10.14), making up for the difference from the first race. But as in the first run, Lee drew closer. While she was unable to overtake her German rival, Lee was only 0.012 behind at the line, enough to claim South Korea's second ever Olympic speed skating title - just one day after the first one (won by Mo Tae-Beom).
|1||Lee Sang-Hwa||20||South Korea||KOR||Gold||76.099|
|6||Heather Richardson||20||United States||USA||77.175|
|9||Ko Hyon-Suk||24||North Korea||PRK||77.470|
|17||Elli Ochowicz||26||United States||USA||78.050|
|19||Laurine van Riessen||22||Netherlands||NED||78.147|
|21||Jennifer Rodriguez||33||United States||USA||78.463|
|23||Karolína Erbanová||17||Czech Republic||CZE||78.686|
|26||Lee Bo-Ra||23||South Korea||KOR||78.802|
|30||Lauren Cholewinski||21||United States||USA||79.101|
|31||An Ji-Min||17||South Korea||KOR||79.144|
|32||Oh Min-Ji||24||South Korea||KOR||79.584|