Speedskating rivalry resumes in women's 5,000

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm •  Published: February 18, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Ireen Wust of the Netherlands and Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic renew their speedskating rivalry in the Olympic women's 5,000 meters.

Wust won gold in the 3,000 in Sochi, and Sablikova took silver. Wust will be seeking her fourth medal of these Winter Games in Wednesday's race. She also earned a pair of silvers in the 1,000 and 1,500.

Sablikova withdrew from the 1,500 to focus on the longest of the women's individual races. She swept the 3,000 and 5,000 four years ago in Vancouver. Sablikova is a six-time world champion in the 5,000.

Here are five things to watch for in the women's 5,000 at Adler Arena:

STAR PAIRING: Wust and Sablikova will skate head-to-head as the seventh of eight pairs. Sablikova was happy to win silver in the 3,000 because of the fast times posted, but she wouldn't feel good about it happening again. Wust is looking to make up for her loss to teammate Jorien ter Mors in the 1,500.

SKATING MOM: Carien Kleibeuker of the Netherlands is a 35-year-old mother with a shot at the podium. She'll be the oldest female speedskater to represent her country at the Winter Games. She was 10th in the 5,000 at the 2006 Turin Olympics, where she witnessed a bribery attempt by two members of the Dutch speedskating team. In 2009, Kleibeuker was called as a witness by the Netherlands Olympic Committee and Sports Federation, which found that coach Ingrid Paul offered Polish skater Katarzyna Bachleda-Curus money to forfeit the race. If she had withdrawn, it would have allowed Gretha Smit into the race. Bachleda-Curus refused. Kleibeuker has a 5-year-old daughter.

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