Olympic speed skating preview: Sablikova seeks third straight 5000m gold

Olympic speed skating preview: Sablikova seeks third straight 5000m gold

How to watch: 

Thursday, Feb. 16, 6:00 a.m. ET

Medal favorites:

Martina Sablikova, Czech Republic: Sablikova has won the last two Olympic titles in this event and will attempt to join the list of nine athletes who have won the same individual event at three Olympics. While Sablikova has continued to impress over the past few seasons, winning the world title in 2017, she was hampered by an early-season back injury and did not perform as dominantly as usual in her two events (3000m and 5000m) in the first four World Cups of the season.

Claudia Pechstein, Germany: Pechstein broke the record for most appearances at the Olympic Winter Games by toeing the line in Pyeongchang, which is her seventh Games. Recently, Pechstein was passed by Ireen Wuest as the most decorated Olympic speed skater of all time. Pechstein is seeking her 10th medal, which she hoped to collect four years ago but fell short. Pechstein would be the oldest speed skating medalist in history if she makes the podium at age 45. She won the only women’s 5000m contested in the first four World Cup events this season and looks likely to vie her for her 10th Olympic medal. Pechstein claimed three straight 5000m Olympic gold medals from 1994 to 2002 before winning silver in 2006 and finishing fifth in Sochi.

Ivanie Blondin, Canada: Blondin was a promising junior short track skater, but five concussions in three years made her ponder quitting skating all together. A coach suggested she try long track, and in 2010, she moved to Calgary to pursue the sport full-time. Blondin won bronze at this event at the 2017 World Championships and has looked solid this season.

2014 Sochi medalists

Martina Sablikova (CZE)
Ireen Wuest (NED)
Carien Kleibeuker (NED) 

2017 World Championships

Martina Sablikova (CZE)
Claudia Pechstein (GER)
Ivanie Blondin (CAN)

The American:

Carlijn Schoutens: Schoutens is the only American entry in the 5000m. Schoutens won the 3000m at U.S. Olympic Trials with a time of 4:14.02.

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