Speed skater Lee Sang-hwa drew attention with her eye-catching nails when she raised her hand in joy after winning the gold medal in the women's 500 m on Tuesday at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
In fact, Lee's frank and candid style has captured the attention of her fans. In spite of her ceaseless efforts to shave hundredths of a second off of her latest lap time, Lee is not shy about displaying her style off the rink.
The athlete says she enjoys dressing up and shows this by painting her nails in flamboyant colors during her races. When she's away from the rink, she's been spotted carrying gold handbags, earrings bearing her initials and green headphones.
Her fashion style also created a buzz when she posed for a photo session for Esquire magazine late last year, just before heading off to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Photos of her dressed in a white shirt and revealing dress caught the attention of fans who had grown used to seeing her in her speed skating uniform.
"We were concerned that she might feel a lot of stress doing the photo shoot, but she told us that she had always wanted to do something like this," said, Choi Tae-hyun, the editor of the men's magazine. "Her confidence and poise is clearly visible in the photos."
Choi quoted Lee as saying: "I don't like my muscular legs, but I’m proud of them. Please don’t doctor them too much [using Photoshop]," adding that "my legs may be tough, buy my wrists are thin!"
After her photos drew tremendous responses, Lee asked fans on her way to Sochi to keep watching her at the sporting event.
Lee is expected to be wooed by major TV advertisers. Lee Ji-sook at advertising agency Innotion said, "Until now, ads tapped into Lee Sang-hwa's physical and mental strength, but her colorful feminine style has recently captured the attention of the industry."