Canada takes gold-sliver in 1,500m race

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg won gold in the women's 1,500-metre speedskating race, her fourth medal at the Turin Olympics, while teammate Kristina Groves of Ottawa claimed the silver Wednesday.

Klassen was first in a time of one minute 55.27 seconds, becoming the first Canadian woman to win five career Olympic medals.

Groves finished second at 1:56.74 while Ireen Wust of the Netherlands claimed bronze in 1:56.90.

''We both skated the races of our lives today,'' said Klassen. ''And it couldn't have been better.''

Klassen is the world record-holder in the event with a time of 1:51.79.

After the race, Klassen and Groves circled the track, each holding a corner of a Canadian flag. It was Canada's second 1-2 finish at these Olympics, following skeleton racers Duff Gibson and Jeff Pain.

''It's something that you see other people do all the time and to have both Kristina and I skating around with the flag was really special,'' said Klassen. ''I think we both felt so proud to be Canadian at that moment.''

The skaters will officially receive their medals during a ceremony Thursday.

''For us to go 1-2 today is great for our team, it's great for Canada and I think we're both really happy and proud of it,'' said Groves.

Klassen opened the Games with a bronze medal in the 3,000 metres, followed that with a silver in the team pursuit and later claimed another silver in the 1,000.

Canada's female athlete of the year also won a bronze in the 3,000 at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Klassen also tied a record for most speedskating medals by a woman at a single Olympics with the four medals.

Only two Canadians have won five career Olympic medals: runner Philip Edwards between 1928 and 1936 and short-track speedskater Marc Gagnon between 1994 and 2002.

Four women - rowers Kathleen Heddle, Marnie McBean and Leslie Thompson and Klassen's teammate Clara Hughes, who has two speedskating medals and two cycling medals - have won four career Olympic medals.

Groves also won silver in the team pursuit.

Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., finished seventh in 1:59.15 while Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was 28th in 2:02.24.

After she lost gold in the 1,000 by a mere .04 seconds, Klassen made sure this time there would be no doubt Wednesday.

And she seemed to know right away that she had posted a winning time. She immediately flashed a huge smile after crossing the line, pumped her fist and acknowledged the ecstatic fans waving Canadian flags. She was in the same pair as her Germany rival Anni Friesinger, who finished a disappointing fourth.

Groves won her first individual Olympic medal with an aggressive race that had her throwing her hands up in celebration when she crossed the finish line.


Source: Canadian Press