South Korea's Lee takes lead in women's 500 meters

PAUL NEWBERRY AP National Writer Published:

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- South Korea's Lee Sang-hwa seized the lead after the opening heat of the women's Olympic 500-meter speedskating Tuesday.

Lee dominated the World Cup circuit this season, winning every event she entered, and might be the biggest favorite at Adler Arena. She lived up to the hype, getting off to a brilliant start, leading American Brittany Bowe at the crossover despite coming from the outer lane and crossed the line in 37.42 seconds.

Russia's Olga Fatkulina was next at 37.57, followed by the biggest surprise of the first round -- China's Zhang Hong, who turned in a time of 37.58. Heather Richardson of the United States was fourth at 37.73.

After a resurfacing break, the skaters will return for the deciding second round. The winner is determined by a cumulative time.