Sablikova wins women's 5,000m speed skating

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Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic grabbed her and team's second gold medal at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games by winning the women's 5,000m speed skating in Vancouver on Wednesday.

Sablikova, the world record holder, finished the 12-and half-lap race in six minutes and 50.91 seconds, 0.38 seconds faster than German Stephanie Beckert. Clara Hughes finished third in 6:55.73.

"It was really, really hard for me, this race. I had to keep up with the tempo that the first race set," said Sablikova. "I pushed my limits, especially the last round was really tough. I had to give it my all."

The 22-year-old Sablikova has clinched the title in the 3,000m event and grabbed a bronze in the 1,500m final.

"It's an amazing feeling to win gold. It was an amazing experience. I can't believe I'm a gold medallist," said Sablikova.

Beckert, who was also beat to second in the 3,000m by Sablikova , said, "I got better with every lap. I feel absolutely ecstatic with my two silver medals."

Hughes, 37, finally stood on the podium in the Richmond Olympic Oval after her second attempt in front of the home crowd and said, "Now I am officially retired."

"I am so excited. I so enjoyed it all. Today it felt so good. I had good rhythm, so I didn't change it. It was the rhythm I dreamed of," said Hughes, who finished fifth in the 3,000m race and improved to third place in the 5,000m event which she won four years ago.

Huges was a member of the Canadian cycling team from 1991 to 2003 and won two bronze medals in cycling at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She hung up her bike in 2003 in favour of her first love, speed skating.

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