Sablikova wins another gold in women’s 5,000 

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Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic defended her Olympic speedskating title in the women’s 5,000 meters, knocking the Dutch off the top step of the medal podium. Sablikova set a track record at Adler Arena with a time of 6 minutes, 51.54 seconds.

The Netherlands didn’t earn a gold, but they did claim two more medals. Ireen Wust took the silver in 6:54.28, while Carien Kleibeuker grabbed the bronze in 6:55.66.

It was Wust’s fourth medal of the Sochi Games, added to a gold in the 3,000 and silvers in the 1,000 and 1,500.

Racing against Sablikova in the seventh of eight pairs, Wust pushed the pace with hope of hanging on. But she began to fade just past the midway point, and Sablikova never let up.

The standings were a reversal of the 3,000, when Wust beat Sablikova to deny the Czech skater a shot at repeating as a double gold medalist in the two longest women’s events. But Sablikova was determined to hang on to her title in the 5,000, even dropping the 1,500 to focus her preparation fully on the final individual speedskating race of these games.

That strategy paid off with another gold.

Still, it was another big day for the Dutch speedskaters, who pushed their record medal haul to 21 overall. And they’ll be big favorites in both team pursuit races, the only events left at Adler Arena.

Forty-one-year-old Claudia Pechstein of Germany was denied again in her quest for a 10th career medal. She finished fifth, missing the podium by less than 3 seconds.

The lone American in the race, three-time Olympian Maria Lamb of River Falls, Wis., was last among the 16 skaters, more than 38 seconds off Sablikova’s winning time. The U.S. team has yet to win a medal in Sochi.

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