Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic captured her second speed skating gold medal of the Games when she charged to victory in the women’s 5,000 metres.

Sablikova posted 6 minutes 50.91 seconds to leave Germany’s Stephanie Beckert of Germany 0.48 seconds behind to pick up her second silver.

Canadian veteran Clara Hughes, the Olympic champion over the distance, clinched the bronze in her Games swansong.

It was Sablikova’s third medal including a bronze in the 1,500m. But her victory was almost a footnote for Canadian fans at the Richmond Olympic Oval who saw 37-year-old Hughes end her distinguished Olympic career on a high note.

“It’s such an amazing feeling,” Hughes told CTV.

“There was so much talk about medals and owning the podium. I don’t think in those terms, I think in terms of excellence.” Hughes said it was all about “mental peaking”. “I did that in the last race of my life on ice and it was so enjoyable and I’m so proud of the process I went through to bring me to this place,” she said.

“I skated really well technically and normally I don’t really skate so well technically.

“I felt so good and I had such a good rhythm and kept telling myself ‘don’t change it, don’t change it to make yourself hurt.’ I just had the rhythm I dreamed of today.” Hughes, the 2006 gold medallist and 2002 bronze medallist over 5,000m, now has six Olympic medals including a silver in team pursuit in 2006 and two cycling bronze medals from the Atlanta summer Games in 1996.

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