South Korea's Kim Min Sun won the women's 500m event ©YIS/IOC

It was a terrific opening day of speed skating for competitors at the Winter Youth Olympic Games here from the three next Olympic host nations after Rio de Janeiro. 

The first gold medal here went to South Korea’s Kim Min Sun as the 16-year-old showed real consistency on her way to the women's 500 metres title.

Pyeongchang 2018 might just be too early for her but she showed real consistency to claim gold.

Her best time of the day was 39.30sec  in the first race but she sealed the title with 39.36 time out to ward off the challenge of the two Chinese skaters, Han Mei and Li Huawei, on her way to clocking an overall 78.66.

“It was all very quick," she said.

“It was very nice, I did not expect to win."

She had been cheered on by a sizeable contingent of supporters from the land of Morning Calm who were anything but when she crossed the line.

”I just want to say thank you for cheering me," Kim added.

"Look I won gold!"

Li Yanzhe of China claimed the men's 500m honours
Li Yanzhe of China claimed the men's 500m honours ©YIS/IOC

Li Yanzhe of China could well be coming into his prime in perfect time ahead of the Beijing Games in 2022 as he reigned supreme in the men's race, held over the same 500m distance.

He was in command throughout the competition and recorded the fastest times in both races - his first time of 35.98 put him in command and he then blasted away from his nearest rival, Japan’s Kazuki Sakakibara, as he was over a second clear when the clock stopped at 35.96 for a victorious 71.95.

“I am very happy about it as it was not so easy to win this competition,” he said.

“In China we train for a long time and the competition is one short nice moment.

"I think this medal will really help me in future competitions.”

He admits to being a devotee of the computer game “League of Legends” and an Olympic gold medal six years from now on home ice would be good way to assure legendary status of his own.

The real race was for the bronze medalas South Korea's Chung Jae Woong edged out Finland’s Samuli Suomalainen to claim the last spot on the podium by four hundredths of a second, giving skaters from Asia a clean sweep of all the medals on this opening day.