Friday, April 20, 2018

Rival speedsters in friendly reunion

Jung Da-min,; original article contains an additional photograph, "A screen shot from Kodaira's Twitter account"

Image from article, with caption: Lee Sang-hwa, right, and Nao Kodaira. The two top speed skaters attended a talk show Thursday about how Tokyo can emulate the success of the PyeongChang Games in 2020.

Two months ago, at the PyeongChang Olympics, the two speed skaters were arch rivals.

Now in Tokyo for a special event and out of uniform, they were behaving more like best friends. In PyeongChang, Lee Sang-hwa, winner of the women's 500-meter sprint gold medals for two consecutive Olympics, settled for a silver, while Nao Kodaira got the gold.

"When we are together, laughter is spontaneous," Lee said, but added a condition: "Not in a competition."

Lee remembered crying after discovering she didn't win the gold at PyeongChang. "I burst into tears when Kodaira gave me heartwarming consolation." Kodaira gave the crying Lee a hug.

After their Tokyo meeting, Kodaira shared a photo of the two on her Twitter account.

"I wanted a little more private time with her, shopping and eating delicious food together, but I had to head back to Nagano for training," her tweet reads.

Luge racer Park Jin-yong, Lee Hee-beom, president of the PyeongChang Olympics Organizing Committee, and Ambassador for Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis] Park Enna also attended the Tokyo talk show.

Attendees from the Japanese side include cross-country skier Yoshihiro Nitta, Toshiaki Endo, acting minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and Daichi Suzuki, commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency.

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