Host City: Sochi, Russia
Venue(s): Adler-Arena, Coastal Cluster, Adler
Date Started: February 11, 2014
Date Finished: February 11, 2014
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.
Where the men's 500 m had at least eight candidates for the title, the women's race essentially had just one. Reigning Olympic Champion [Lee Sang-Hwa] had dominated the event since her somewhat surprising victory in Vancouver. She had won the 2012 and 2013 world titles (2nd in 2011), and since November 2012 had lost only a single 500 m World Cup race. She had beaten the World Record four times in 2013, lowering it from 36.94 to a 36.36. Few other skaters had managed to beat 37 seconds, and [Wang Beixing]'s 36.85 was the best time not set by Lee. Wang's compatriot [Yu Jing], a former World Record holder, was missing in Sochi, suffering from a hip injury. Together with Wang, American skater [Heather Richardson], home favorite [Olga Fatkulina] and former record holder [Jenny Wolf] of Germany were highly considered for a medal.
The surprise of the first run was [Zhang Hong], another Chinese sprinter. Despite a modest 10.79 opening she recorded the fastest full lap and set the third time of the first run with 37.58. Only in pair 16 could Fatkulina beat that time (by 0.01), enthusiastically cheered on by the crowd. As expected, Lee's time in the final pair was faster, but with 37.42 the gap was not as large as it had been in earlier competitions. The other favorites were all still in contention as well, and were joined by [Margot Boer] in 5th and [Nao Kodaira] in 7th.
Boer was the first of these favorites to hit the ice in the second run, and she slightly improved on her first run mark for a 75.48 total. The time would only be beaten by two skaters in the second run, as Richardson (38.02), Zhang (37.99), Wolf (37.73) and Kodaira (37.72) all had slightly worse times. Fatkulina, however used the crowd's energy to power to 37.49. Lee's position never seemed in danger, however, and she demonstrated that by finishing in a new Olympic Record of 37.28 - giving 74.70 as her total, another Olympic Record. This made Lee the third woman to retain her Olympic 500 m title, after [Bonnie Blair] (who won it at three consecutive Olympics) and [Catriona Le May Doan].
|1||Lee Sang-Hwa||24||South Korea||KOR||Gold||74.70||OR|
|8||Heather Richardson||24||United States||USA||75.75|
|10||Karolína Erbanová||21||Czech Republic||CZE||76.86|
|11||Laurine van Riessen||26||Netherlands||NED||76.99|
|13||Brittany Bowe||25||United States||USA||77.19|
|15||Lauren Cholewinski||25||United States||USA||77.35|
|16||Lotte van Beek||22||Netherlands||NED||77.40|
|20||Lee Bo-Ra||27||South Korea||KOR||77.75|
|24||Kim Hyeon-Yeong||19||South Korea||KOR||78.23|
|26||Park Seung-Ju||23||South Korea||KOR||78.31|
|29||Sugar Todd||23||United States||USA||78.53|