Speed Skater Lee Sang-hwa Sets Sights on Olympics

Lee Sang-hwa Lee Sang-hwa

Speed skater Lee Sang-hwa said she is not prepared to rest on her laurels after setting a new world record at the women's 500 m earlier this month and intends to achieve greater success at the next Winter Olympics.

"I'm proud to have set the new world record. I won't be complacent with what I've achieved so far, and I will try hard to continue to carry this momentum to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next year," she told reporters at Incheon International Airport upon returning to Korea on Wednesday.

For the last two weeks, Lee has posted solid performances at international competitions. During an ISU World Cup event at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Canada, on Jan. 21 she smashed the world record in the 500 m with the time of 36.80 seconds. A week later in Salt Lake City, she set new Korean records for two straight days in the women's 1,000-m race at the ISU World Sprint Championships.

"The expectations were high, so I felt the pressure and was very nervous. But I was able to produce good results because I decided not to worry about all that. It seems that my hard work over the summer is now paying off," said Lee.

She is hoping to defend her title in the 500 m at the 2013 World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Sochi from March 21.

"After finishing the World Cup Final in the Netherlands [in mid-March], I would love to successfully defend my world title," she said.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 31, 2013 10:18 KST