Canada, Germany split speed skating team pursuit Olympic golds

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Canada clinched the men's team pursuit gold while Germany defended their women's title by edging Japan with a slim margin of 0.02 seconds in the last day speed skating competition at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games on Saturday.

In front of 6,761 home fans, the team of Canada, including Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux showed great team work and led all the way ahead of the United States to lift the men's team title in a time of three minutes and 41.37 seconds.

The Unitd States, anchored by four-time Olympic medalist Chad Hedrick, came to second in 3:41.58.

Without any individual medalist from the speed skating rink in Vancouver, Makowsky said that "we all have the speed for the 1500m and we were able to build on that. It is just surreal right now."

In the battle for the bronze, the Netherlands, led by two Olympic champions Sven Kramer and Mark Tuitert, sped to a new Game record 3:39.95. The Dutch skaters lost to the United States in the semifinal on Friday. and Norway placed fourth.

The women's team pursuit final was won by experienced Germany. The Germans trailed Japan all the way until the last lap and their desperation kick across the line sealed the victory in 3:02.82.

After leading five laps, Masako Nozumi, Nao Kodaira and Maki Tabata of Japan settled for a silver in 3:02.84, namely 0.02 away from the German team.

Stephanie Beckert, runner-up in 3,000m and 5,000m, was the kick at the end and helped Germany to seal viceroy.

"The girls gave me a big push. I am ecstatic with my third medal. I feel lucky," said the 21-year-old Beckert.

Poland beat the United States for the bronze and Canada defeated the Netherlands for a fifth place.

The speed skating competition of the Olympic Winter Games at the Richmond Olympic Oval came to the end with all 12 events finished on Saturday.

South Korea and the Netherlands tied on the gold medal tally with three golds each, Canada and the Cezch Republic had two golds apiece while Germany and the United States each pocketed one.

Czech Martina Sablikova was the best speed skater as she collected three medals in three individual events she entered in Vancouver.

Sablikova claimed the golds in the women's 3,000m and 5,000m and a bronze in the 1,500m.

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