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Welcome to the special Winter Olympics 2010 section of this website.
This Olympic section will contain news, schedules and results of the speedskating events.

Lone Wolf faces pack of Asian hopefuls.

Vancouver, Feb 14, 2010 - China's Beixing Wang leads a pack of Asian contenders hoping to claim the continent's first women's Olympic speedskating gold medal in Tuesday's 500-meter final, but a lone Wolf could beat them all. Germany's Jenny Wolf, the three-time reigning world champion and world record-holder, will be favored in the sprint showdown at the same oval where she forced Wang to settle for a fourth consecutive 500m runner-up finish.
"I set a track record here. I think I can go faster this time," Wolf said. "I feel very well. I'm in good shape. I'm pretty confident."
South Korea's Sang-Hwa Lee and Japan's Nao Kodaira are also medal contenders in the event and while Wolf is the woman to beat at her favourite distance, she realizes the gap between her and Asian rivals is shrinking.
"Wang and Lee are really fast. They are catching up," Wolf said. "Sometimes they are faster than me this year, so I hope in the Olympics I will be the best."
Wolf, 31, set the world record of 37.00sec last December in a World Cup race at Salt Lake City, lowering her old mark from Calgary in 2007 by .02sec in a bid for her fifth consecutive World Cup 500m crown.
"I'm doing nothing special for the Olympics. I'm doing the same thing as the last three years," Wolf said.

Czech Sablikova wins women's 3000m gold.

Vancouver, Feb 14, 2010 - Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won the 3000-meter women's speedskating gold on Sunday at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, four years after just missing a medal in the event.
Three-time reigning World Cup long distance champion Sablikova won in 4mins 2.53 secs while Germany's Stephanie Beckert took the silver, 2.09 seconds back with Canada's Kristina Groves capturing the bronze in 4.04,84.
"This is wonderful. I don't know what to say. I was so nervous," said Sablikova. "I am very happy as these are my second Olympics. It's still sinking in that I won."
Sablikova posted the time to beat at 4.02,53 with heat partner Japan's Masako Hozumi next overall at 4.07,36. But three pairings remained to skate around the 400-meter oval, two of them featuring local hopefuls seeking Canada's first gold medal on home soil.
Clara Hughes, reigning Olympic 5000m champion and a two-time 1996 Summer Olympic bronze medalist, took a run but fell short and settled for fifth at 4.06,01. Groves, 2006 Olympic runner-up at 1500m, was on pace to seize the lead but faded in the last three laps and was passed by Beckert, who edged ahead in the final strides in what turned out to be the battle for silver. Dutch defending champion Ireen Wust and Germany's Daniela Anschutz Thoms were each on a winning pace midway into the final pairing but both faded off the podium, Wust to eighth and Thoms to fourth, as Sablikova celebrated.

Sablikova tries to keep Czechs golden.

Vancouver - Martina Sablikova will try to stretch the Czech Republic's Olympic gold medal streak when she takes to the ice Sunday in the women's 3,000 meters against top rivals from Germany and Canada.
The Czechs took 1998 Olympic men's hockey gold, collected their only gold in 2002 from men's aerialist Ales Valenta and had their only 2006 champion in women's 30km freestyle cross country champion Katerina Neumannova.
"A medal at the Olympics for me is everything," Sablikova said. "I placed fourth in Torino in the 3,000. If I win a medal here it will be good. But anything can happen."
The three-time reigning World Cup long distance champion, an Olympic debutante in 2006, is a three-time reigning world champion at 5,000m but Sablikova, 22, was ill for the 3,000 at the 2009 worlds and settled for second.
Germany's Stephanie Beckert and Daniela Anschutz Thoms are ranked second and third in the world at the distance with Canada's Kristina Groves and Japan's Masako Hozumi also threats to reach the podium.

Canada: Hughes to carry host flag in Opening Ceremony.

Vancouver, Jan 29, 2010 - Speed skater Clara Hughes, a five-time Olympic medallist, will carry the Canadian flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, the Canadian Olympic Committee said Friday. The announcement came as the COC officially announced the 206 athlete who will compete for Canada.
"This is without a doubt the greatest honour of my sporting life," Hughes said. "Leading the Team into BC Place is something I look forward to because of the world class Canadian athletes beside me, and the inspiring stories behind each one of them.
"These Games will have a profound impact on every Canadian, fostering so many hopes and dreams. I remember being that young person and seeing the Games in Calgary - that was the beginning of my amazing journey that has brought me here today."
Hughes has won multiple Olympic medals at both Summer and Winter Games as part of a career that will now span five Olympic Games. She claimed her first medals at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Summer Games, capturing two cycling bronze.
Hughes made her Winter Games debut at Salt Lake City in 2002, competing in the 5,000 metres. Her bronze medal performance made her just the fourth Olympian to reach both the Summer and Winter Olympic podiums.
In Torino in 2006, Hughes captured gold in the 5,000 metres and silver in team pursuit.

Pechstein fails in final attempt to skate at Vancouver.

Berlin, Jan 26, 2010 - Top German speedskater Claudia Pechstein has been definitively ruled out of competing at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, her manager said Tuesday after a last-ditch appeal to a Swiss Federal Court.
Pechstein, a five-time Olympic champion, was banned for doping in July 2009 by the International Skating Union (ISU) on the basis of irregularities on her blood passport and not because she had failed a drugs test. The ban was upheld by sport's top court, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in November 2009.
Pechstein was given a glimmer of hope when, after an appeal to the Swiss Federal Court, the highest judicial authority in Switzerland, she was allowed the chance to participate in a World Cup event at Salt Lake City.
However the German skating legend did not obtain the minimum qualification requirement after finishing 13th in her preferred event, the 3,000 metres.

5-time Olympic speedskating champ Claudia Pechstein of Germany
banned 2 years for doping.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland July 3rd, 2009— Olympic speedskating great Claudia Pechstein of Germany was banned for two years because of blood doping Friday and will miss the 2010 Vancouver Games.
The International Skating Union said Pechstein’s blood profile indicated abnormal changes in a series of tests, in particular after the World Allround Championships in February. The governing body ruled after a two-day hearing.
The 37-year-old skater is a five-time Olympic gold medalist. She is banned until Feb. 9, 2011 and can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Pechstein was stripped of her results in the 500-meter and 3,000-meter races Feb. 7 at the World Allround event, where she finished fifth and fourth, respectively.
Pechstein had hoped to compete in Vancouver for her sixth straight Winter Games. She won her first gold medal in the 5,000 in Lillehammer in 1994, and won at the same distance in Nagano in 1998 and Salt Lake City in 2002. She also won the 3,000 in Salt Lake City and was part of Germany’s winning team in the pursuit in Turin in 2006.
She also won two Olympic silvers and two bronze medals, including a third-place finish in the 5,000 at the 1992 Albertville Games, along with six world championship titles.

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