- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 24, 2002

KEARNS, Utah (AP) Claudia Pechstein of Germany won her third consecutive Olympic title in 5,000-meter speedskating yesterday, setting a world record for her second gold of these Games.
Pechstein joined Bonnie Blair as the only speedskaters to ever win three Olympics in a row. Blair won the 500 in 1988, '92 and '94.
Pechstein, who turned 30 on Friday, skated the 12-lap race in 6 minutes, 46.91 seconds bettering by 2.31 seconds the mark set 90 minutes earlier by Gretha Smit of the Netherlands.
Smit won a silver in 6:49.22. Clara Hughes of Canada took bronze in 6:53.53.
The German won a gold in the 3,000 with a world-record time on Feb.10. She now has seven career Olympic medals, including four golds.
Pechstein's main rival, countrywoman Anni Friesinger, faded to sixth. Pechstein paused on her victory lap to hug Friesinger, with whom she's had a frosty relationship.
Friesinger, the gold medalist in the 1,500, had won all five 5,000 World Cup races this season, with Pechstein finishing second in four of those.
Smit began the final day of speedskating by setting a world record in the first pairing. Her time bettered the old mark of 6:52.44 by German great Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann set at the oval last March.
Pechstein established the eighth world record in 10 events at the Salt Lake City Games, topping the previous mark of seven set at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.
Catherine Raney was the top American finisher, placing ninth with a national record time of 7:06.89 10 seconds lower than her personal best.
Annie Driscoll of Roseville, Minn., was last among 14 skaters, finishing in 7:35.23 but bettering her personal best by almost 12 seconds. Two others fell and didn't finish.
Pechstein was behind Smit's pace heading into the final lap, but used a powerful closing kick to skate the final 400 meters in 32.05. Smit's last lap was 34.77.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide