South Korean speedskater Lee Sang-hwa, the world record holder in women’s 500 meters, said Friday she isn’t burdened by the weight of expectations as the next Winter Olympics fast approaches.
The 23-year-old said she is instead trying to focus on her training process, rather than getting caught up with her results.
“For any Olympic athlete, winning the gold medal is the ultimate dream,” Lee said at a press conference held at the National Training Center in Seoul. “But I am not going to concern myself with results too much.”
Lee is the reigning Olympic champion in 500 meters. And in January this year in Calgary, Lee established the world record in the distance with 36.80 seconds, shaving 0.14 seconds off the previous mark.
She has won eight World Cup Speed Skating races so far this season and finished third at the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships, which combine skaters’ times in 500m and 1,000m races over two days.
With the 2014 Sochi Olympics about a year away, Lee is regarded as the heavy favorite to repeat as the gold medalist.
Lee admitted to having gone through a slump immediately after the 2010 Vancouver Games, as she struggled to deal with expectations that came with her first Olympic title. She said, however, she’s since cleared her mental blocks. “It has helped me that I stopped thinking about trying to win another gold medal and went back to the drawing board,” she said. (Yonhap News)