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Speed skater realizes dream of carrying Olympic torch

2017/11/01 17:27

INCHEON, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean speed skating star Lee Sang-hwa realized her dream of running in an Olympic torch relay on Wednesday, carrying the flame for next year's Winter Games on home ice.

Lee, two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist in the women's 500m, ran as the 60th torchbearer for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.

The Olympic flame arrived at Incheon International Airport earlier Wednesday, having been lit and handed over to PyeongChang in Greece, and the torch relay got underway on Incheon Bridge, near the airport.

South Korean speed skater Lee Sang-hwa prepares to carry the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap) South Korean speed skater Lee Sang-hwa prepares to carry the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap)

"As an Olympic athlete, I've long dreamed of running in the torch relay," Lee said after running some 200m with the torch. "It's a huge honor, and to do it for the country makes it extra special."

   Lee is the world record holder in the 500m with a time of 36.36 seconds. She's trying to become only the second skater, after Bonnie Blair of the United States, to win three consecutive Olympic titles in the women's 500m. And Lee would be the first to pull off the trifecta eight years apart; Blair won her second and third gold medals at Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994.

"I think it's going to be fun to compete in the Olympics at home, though it will also be nerve-racking," Lee said. "Obviously, I'd love to win the gold medal at home. But first, I'd like to post good results in the upcoming World Cup season and try to improve my form over the course of the season."

  

South Korean speed skater Lee Sang-hwa runs in the torch relay for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap) South Korean speed skater Lee Sang-hwa runs in the torch relay for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Incheon Bridge in Incheon on Nov. 1, 2017. (Yonhap)

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