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Hugues Wins Women's 5,000m Speed Skating Gold
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Canadian speed skater Clara Hughes produced a brilliant last lap to beat German world record holder Claudia Pechstein to win the gold in the women's 5,000 meters at the Turin Winter Olympics in Turin on Saturday.


The 33-year-old clocked a winning time of six minutes and 59.07seconds, followed by Pechstein in 7:00.08. Canadian Cindy Klassen came in third in 7:00.57, seizing her fifth medal at the Games and sixth overall.


Hughes trailed Pechstein for 10 of 12 1/2 laps before sprinting past the well-known German skater who dominated the event over the past three Winter Games.


"I am so thrilled. This has been a dream of mine since I was 16and I realized it today," said a jubilant Hughes.


"I was in shock when I looked up and saw I had the fastest time. Then my legs buckled over and I collapsed and I thought I could die from the pain in my legs.


"I knew Claudia would be one of the fastest skaters, so my plan was not to let her get too far ahead because I knew I could beat her in the sprint," she added.


Pechstein was seeking to become the first winter Olympian to win the same event four times, but fell just short.


"I am not a statistic machine. To get a fourth gold would have been nice, but it is not important," she said.


"I accept that Clara was the faster skater. For me, second is good," she added.


(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2006)

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