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Canada Makes History
Women's 5,000m speed-skating medals make two Canadian women top athletes in their country.
By John Dixon
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Clara Hughes
Canadian speed skater Clara Hughes skates to a win in the women's 5000 metres at the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy February 25, 2006.

Check out the rest of our skating stories:

  • Svetlana Zhurova of Russia wins the gold in the women's 500 m speed skating event.

  • Check out our interview with Jennifer Rodriguez.

  • Keep up with the latest news in men's speed skating.

  • Read our interview with Joey Cheek.

  • See what Chad Hedrick had to say to our student reporters.

  • Learn more about skating.
    (Photo: Shaun Best/Reuters)
  • Saturday, February 25—It would have been four golds in four Olympics in the 5,000m speed skating for Germany's Claudia Pechstein. History was made in the race, but not for Germany. It was an exciting competition that wasn't decided until the last second.

    The gold medal finals consist of skaters in 8 heats. I n each heat, two skaters race against each other and the fastest time on the board. Catherine Raney, the lone American in the competition, raced Maren Haugli of Norway in heat 5, beating her by a little more than a second. But it wasn't enough to medal. Rainey placed seventh overall.

    Clocking the best time on the ice were two Canadians who took gold and bronze. Germany's Pechstein came forward with a strong race to take a silver.

    Clara Hughes of Canada won the gold medal with a time of 6:59.07. Pechstein took the silver with a time of 7:00.08. Canadian Cindy Klassen took the bronze medal with a time of 7:00.57

    That third-place win made Klassen the most-decorated Winter Olympic athlete in Canada. Hughes is now second on that list with medals in cycling in the summer games and speed skating in the Winter Games.

    The heated competition in the last pairing between Hughes and Pechstein left Hughes winded and lying on the sidelines trying to catch her breath. Pechstein was almost falling over as she headed for the bench. They both recovered their strength quickly and stood proudly beside Klassen to receiver their medals.

    "I am so happy for Clara that she got a gold medal," Klassen said.
    "The 5,000 is not my race, and it is definitely her race."

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    Canada Skates a 1-2 Punch
    Klassen, Groves take gold and silver in the women's 1500m speed skate
    By Marvin Weinrick
    Scholastic Kids Press Corps

    Wednesday, February 22—Two Canadians won gold and silver in the women's 1500m speed skate today. Cindy Klassen took the gold with a time of 1 minute, 55.27 seconds. The silver went to Kristina Groves, who clocked in at 1:56.74.

    Ireen Wust of the Netherlands won the bronze with a time of 1:56:90.

    With her win, Klassen became the most decorated Canadian woman at a single Olympics. It was her the fourth medal of the Games.

    Klassen came into the 1500m as a strong favorite. She lost the gold in the 1000m by only four-tenths of a second.

    "Gold is great. Having two Canadians on the podium is awesome," said Klassen after her victory lap.

    For Groves, the silver was her first individual Olympic medal.

    Klassen may still add to her history-making run for Canada. She will skate the 5000m on Sunday, February 26—the last day of the Olympic Games.

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    Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands competes in the women's speed skating
    Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands competes in the women's speed skating 1500m race at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games on February 22, 2006.
    (Photo: Max Rossi/Reuters)
    Netherlands Takes Gold
    1000m Women's Speed Skating a disappointment for Americans.
    By Kendra Oates
    Scholastic Kids Press Corps

    Sunday, February 19—In a large ice rink called the Oval Lingotto in Torino, Italy, women speed skaters prepared for the 1000m race and a shot at an Olympic gold medal.

    The U.S. had some very talented skaters in this event. Jennifer Rodriguez, Amy Sannes, Chris Witty, and Elli Ochowicz all hoped to take home a medal.

    In speed skating, the athletes race in pairs around an oval ice rink. At crossover points, skaters must switch lanes, moving from the inside lane to the outside and vice versa. If a skater doesn't switch, she could be disqualified. After each pair races, the times of all the skaters are compared. The skater with the fastest time wins.

    In the end, America didn't do so well. Rodriguez, known as J-Rod to her friends, had the best time on the U.S. team, coming in 10th place.

    Sannes came in 25th. Not far behind her, coming in 27th, was Witty. Ochowicz came in 32nd place.

    Winning gold for the Netherlands was Marianne Timmer. The silver went to Canadian Cindy Klassen. Anni Friesinger of Germany won the bronze.

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    Korean gold medalist Jin Sun-Yu (R) and silver medalist Choi Eun-Kyung hold their country's flag
    Korean gold medalist Jin Sun-Yu (R) and silver medalist Choi Eun-Kyung hold their country's flag after the women's 1500 meter final at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games on February 18, 2006.
    (Photo: Amy Sancetta/AP Wide World)
    A 1-2 Punch
    Stage is set for possible U.S. medals in both men's and women's short track
    By Hannah Heintz
    Scholastic Kids Press Corps

    Saturday, February 18—Dressed in blue uniforms with bright yellow helmets, the top two South Korean short track racers took their victory laps together today. Each held on to her country's flag, celebrating a 1-2 punch in the women's 1500m short track.

    Jin Sun-Yu raced to gold with a time of 2 minutes, 23.494 seconds. Close behind her was Choi Eun-Kyung for the silver.

    China's Wang Meng won the bronze. American Kim Hyo-Jung placed eighth and was the only U.S. woman to qualify for the medal round.

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    Allison Baver, of the United States, skates in her 500 meter heat during the Short Track Speedskating during the Winter Olympic Games on February 12, 2006. At left is Erika Huszar, of Hungary, and at rear is Jong Suk Yun, of Korea.
    (Photo: Amy Sancetta/AP Wide World)
    Short Track Crash Course
    Stage is set for possible U.S. medals in both men's and women's short track
    By Brianna Suslovic
    Scholastic Kids Press Corps

    Wednesday, February 15—Crowds were shocked when a collision occurred in the women's 500 m short track speedskating quarterfinals. The crash included America's Allison Baver and two other skaters. Only two of the four women on the track were going to make it to the finals. With only one skater left on her feet, Baver quickly jumped up and regained her footing to come over the finish line second. She qualified for the semifinals!

    Coming back for a semifinal run, Baver's ankle was swollen and painful.

    "I'll probably feel it bad tomorrow,'' she said. "I'm going to try to forget about it tonight.''

    Several short track speed skating races and relays were held for both men and women at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, today. They were all held at Palavela, Torino's Olympic ice rink. The competitions included the women's 500 m quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals, as well as the men's 1000 m preliminaries and the 500 m relay semis.

    The women's races gave the crowd a reason to be excited. The women's 500 m quarterfinals were fast-paced and exciting.

    In the 500 m finals, Wang Meng of China raced across the finish line for the gold. Evgenia Radanova of Bulgaria won the silver, and Anouk LeBlanc-Boucher of Canada, won bronze.

    The men's short track was also impressive. Several members of the U.S. team, including Apolo Anton Ohno, competed in the preliminaries for the 1000 m race. The competition will continue Saturday.

    After an amazing relay, the U.S. men's Olympic team advanced to the 5000 m relay finals. The top two teams in each semifinal advanced to the final, which will be held February 25, the second to last day of the games.

    It was a very exciting day for the United States short track team. What happens next? Apolo Anton Ohno said it best, "It's really is going to be crazy!"

    Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.