Sablikova repeats in 5,000m, Dutch grab 2 more medals
Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Czech Martina Sablikova successfully defended her gold medal in the women's 5,000 meters on Wednesday, while the Netherlands grabbed two more speed skating medals to give it 21 total at the Sochi Olympics.
Sablikova won the fifth Olympic medal of her career and second straight in this event. She won both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter races four years ago in Vancouver along with a bronze in the 1,500m, and claimed a silver in these Olympics in the 3,000m.
The 26-year-old was golden again on Wednesday, finishing the event with a time of 6 minutes and 51.54 seconds.
Ireen Wust and Carien Kleibeuker took silver and bronze, respectively, as the Dutch continued their dominating presence on the medal stand. The Netherlands has won a total of 21 speed skating medals in men's and women's events here in Sochi, including six golds.
The women have claimed two golds, three silvers and four bronzes after Wust and Kleibeuker's latest performance at Adler Arena.
The only other medal the Dutch have won here in Sochi was a short track bronze by Sjinkie Knegt in the men's 1,000 meters.
Wust, skating in the same pair with Sablikova, finished 2.74 seconds off the gold-medal winning pace with a time of 6:54.28, while Kleibeuker had a time of 6:55.66.
Kleibeuker finished just .11 ticks better than Russian Olga Graf, while German Claudia Pechstein was fifth in her return to the Olympics.
Pechstein was banned for two years by the International Skating Union after blood samples taken in 2009 showed a high level of immature blood cells. Pechstein appealed, but it was upheld to make her the first athlete to be banned due to screenings in her biological passport and not a positive drug test.
That forced Pechstein to miss the 2010 Games in Vancouver and prevented her from adding to her career total of nine Olympic medals, the most in Olympic speed skating. Set to turn 42 on Saturday, the German has won five gold medals, including in this event in 1994, 1998 and 2002. She also took silver in 2006.
Pechstein, though, fell short of matching cross-country skiers Stefania Belmondo and Raisa Smetanina for the most all-time Winter Olympic medals among female athletes.
German Stephanie Beckert, who won silver in this event four years ago, finished eighth, while American Maria Lamb was last among the 16 skaters with a time of 7:29.64, 38.10 seconds off the lead.