Speedskating continues to be one of the most exhilarating events at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. On Saturday, we saw the Netherlands dominate the men's 5,000-meter event, as they claimed all three medals. Dutch skater Sven Kramer also set a new Olympic record in the event with a time of 6:10.76.
Sunday brought just as much action and intensity with the ladies' 3,000-meter event. With just 1.61 seconds separating the gold and silver medals, those fortunate enough to watch were rewarded with a dazzling conclusion.
Once again, the Netherlands took home the gold medal, as the event's favorite, Ireen Wust, rattled off a blazing 4:00.34. She was followed up closely by Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic, who finished with a time of 4:01.95.
Russia's Olga Graf received the bronze medal, as he concluded her race with a time of 4:03.47.
Unfortunately for the United States, there was very little chance to reaching the podium here. The country's best skater, Jilleanne Rookard, finished in 10th place with a time of 4:10.02.
The final results for the ladies' 3,000 meter event are as follows:
|Speed Skating: Ladies' 3,000 Meter Medalists|
|Silver||Martina Sablikova||Czech Republic||4:01.95|
Wust has been absolutely dominant in the Winter Games. With this victory, she now has taken home a gold medal for each of the last three Olympics—the 3,000-meter race in Torino in 2006 and the 1,500-meter in Vancouver in 2010 were her other two.
After the event, Wust expressed her relief during an interview with Paul Newberry of ABC News. Said Wust: "Seventeen million Dutch wanted me to win. Now the extreme pressure is off, and I can win more. The relief is immense and the satisfaction even greater."
Wust wasn't the only athlete to be recognized for her performance in the 3,000-meter speedskating event. After receiving the bronze medal for Russia—the country's first medal of the Olympics—Graf was given kind words by president Vladimir Putin.
Said Putin to Graf, "You brought an unforgettable moment of triumph and utter joy to millions of fans by taking the first medal for our team."
That is certainly a memory that will eternally live with Graf.
Claudia Pechstein of Germany has the unfortunate result of finishing in fourth place. At 41 years of age, she is still a phenomenal skater, but her 10th Olympic medal escaped her in this event.
She will have another chance to earn that elusive medal when she skates in the 5,000-meter event on Wednesday, Feb. 19. After her performance in the 3,000-meter event, she expressed her desire to win another medal during an interview with Paul Newberry of ABC News.
"Finishing fourth at 41, that isn't that bad," Pechstein said. "The ice quality was tough, but it was the same for everyone. I didn't feel as old as I am. I'm feeling good about the 5k. I can still get my medal there."
In the wake of the men's 5,000-meter event and the ladies' 3,000-meter event, it can be easily speculated that the remaining speedskating events in the 2014 Olympics will be chock full of exhilarating moments.
Speedskating will continue to be one of the most anticipated events to behold in Sochi.