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Sablikova slows down Dutch speed skating juggernaut

Feb. 19, 2014 at 10:45 AM  |  Updated Feb. 19, 2014 at 2:16 PM   |   Comments

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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic at least interrupted the golden speed skating run of the Netherlands Wednesday, winning the women's 5,000-meter race.

Dutch skaters had won six of the first nine speed skating events at the Sochi Olympics and will be favored to win the two team pursuit races that will be held later this week.

In the final individual speed skating race of the Winter Olympics, however, Sablikova added a gold to the 3,000-meter silver medal she won earlier in these Games.

Skaters from the Netherlands, however, finished second and third. Irene Wust became the first four-time medalist in Sochi by winning the silver and Carien Kleibeuker took the bronze.

The two medals won by the Netherlands Wednesday gives that country 21 in the 10 individual speed skating races held in the 2014 Olympics. Until this year, the most medals ever won by one country in one sport at the Winter Olympics had been the 14 collected by the Austrian alpine skiing contingent at the Turin Games of 2006.

Wust, the 3,000-meter gold medalist and skating alongside Sablikova in the final pairing of the day, was two seconds in front of her Czech rival through the 3,000-meter checkpoint. Sablikova then began to make up ground, moved in front with 1,000 meters to go and eventually won by 2.4 seconds.

Olga Graf of Russia barely missed out on the medals, finishing .12 of a second behind Kleibeuker. Graf won the bronze medal in the 3,000-meter race.

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