Heather Richardson of the United States competes during the women’s 500 meters. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

American speedskater Heather Richardson was in fourth place after one of the two races that make up the women’s 500-meter competition. Her time of 37.73 was .31 seconds behind leader Sang Hwa Lee of South Korea, the overwhelming favorite in the event. Skaters from Russia and China were in second and third places, respectively, at the midway point.

Richardson, a 24-year-old from High Point, N.C., was the only one of the four U.S. women in the event to place in the top 10 through the first race. She is attempting to become the first U.S. speedskater to medal in this event since Bonnie Blair won the last of her three golds in 1994.

The second race takes place at 6:34 p.m. Sochi time (9:34 a.m. in Washington). The two times are added together to determine the winner.

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