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Nao Kodaira

Nao Kodaira
Speed Skating JPN

Nao Kodaira

Nao Kodaira
  • Birth date 5/26/1986
  • Birthplace Nagano
  • Residence Nagano
  • Height/Weight 5'4"/ 132 lbs
  • Olympics 2010, 2014

Biography

Speed skater Nao Kodaira won a silver medal in the team pursuit with her Japanese teammates at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but broke out as one of the world’s top sprinters in 2017. On the World Cup circuit, she won all five 500m races, including the World Cup final, in the 2016-17 season. At the 2017 World Single Distance Championships, she defeated South Korea’s Lee Sang-Hwa, two-time Olympic champion in the 500m, to win her first world gold medal. She also picked up a silver in the 1000m behind the U.S.’ Heather Bergsma, and claimed another gold at the 2017 World Sprint Championships. Near the end of 2017, Kodaira set a new world record in the 1000m.

In the years between Vancouver and PyeongChang, Kodaira competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics but left emptyhanded with a best finish of fifth in the 500m. Looking to improve her results, she tried training in the speed skating hotbed of the Netherlands. She made her first world championships podium soon after when she earned 500m bronze at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships, but struggles with the language and food compelled her to move back to Japan. Kodaira was raised in the 1998 Olympic host city of Nagano, and remembers watching some ski jumping during the Games.
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Getting to know Nao Kodaira

1

Started skating at age 3

2

Set the 1000m world record in 2017

3

First Japanese woman to win an individual title at the World Single Distance Championships

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