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Speed Skating at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games:

Women's 5,000 metres

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Host City: Nagano, Japan
Venue(s): M-Wave, Nagano
Date Started: February 20, 1998
Date Finished: February 20, 1998

Gold: GER Claudia Pechstein
Silver: GER Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann-Kleemann
Bronze: KAZ Lyudmila Prokashova

Summary

As in the 3,000 m, two German women were assumed to duke it out in the 5,000 m. The top favorite was Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann, who already had won the 3,000 m and was runner-up in the 1,500 m. With 7:03.26, Niemann held the World Record, and had won the 1997 World title and 1992 Olympic title. At the only international competition earlier in the season in Innsbruck, Niemann had also won, but she had beaten compatriot Claudia Pechstein by just 0.08. Pechstein had also surprisingly beaten Niemann at this distance at the 1994 Olympics, and was hoping for another upset. Third place was open to a number of contenders, including 1996 and 1997 World Championships runner-up Carla Zijlstra and Italian Elena Belci, having placed 3rd in Innsbruck.

Belci did not prove to be in great shape, and could do no better than 7:15.58. Of the Dutch women, it was not Zijlstra, but Barbara de Loor, who seemed headed for a medal, but she was beaten by the final lap of her opponent in the previous pair, Lyudmila Prokasheva. A strong distance skater from Kazakhstan, Prokasheva had been runner-up at the World Allround Championships in 1995. With her 7:11.14, she would capture the first Olympic speed skating medal for Kazakhstan. Her time was far behind the other two medalists, however.

Gunda Niemann was the first of the Germans to start. On a sound pace - her 3,000 m split would have placed her 4th in that event – she set out to break her own world record. She succeeded, en passant becoming the first woman to complete 5,000 m within 7 minutes: 6:59.65. With this assignment, Pechstein departed in the final pair. Initially slower than Niemann, Pechstein slowly came closer to the leader’s splits. At 3,400 m, she first surpassed Niemann, but her lead remained within a second. Having a 7-tenth lead, she went into the final lap. It appeared to be slower than Niemann’s, but Pechstein held out until the finish line, pushing her skate home in 6:59.61. Pechstein lost her world record a month later to Niemann, who shaved off a second at the World Championships in Calgary.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T 2c 6c 1k 1.4k 1.8k 2.2k 2.6k 3k 3.4k 3.8k 4.2k 4.6k
1 Claudia Pechstein 25 Germany GER Gold 6:59.61 20.48 53.13 1:26.45 1:59.63 2:32.65 3:05.54 3:38.58 4:11.57 4:44.52 5:17.77 5:51.38 6:25.26 WR
2 Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann-Kleemann 31 Germany GER Silver 6:59.65 20.54 52.59 1:25.49 1:58.80 2:31.94 3:05.08 3:38.08 4:11.24 4:44.69 5:18.45 5:52.17 6:25.96 WR
3 Lyudmila Prokashova 29 Kazakhstan KAZ Bronze 7:11.14 20.89 54.19 1:28.16 2:01.59 2:35.02 3:08.57 3:42.51 4:17.10 4:52.54 5:27.69 6:02.07 6:36.56 OR
4 Barbara de Loor 23 Netherlands NED 7:11.81 21.82 55.06 1:28.55 2:01.98 2:35.50 3:08.86 3:42.32 4:16.18 4:50.47 5:25.37 6:00.58 6:36.06
5 Tonny de Jong 23 Netherlands NED 7:12.77 20.78 53.65 1:27.43 2:01.33 2:35.57 3:10.12 3:44.91 4:19.85 4:54.97 5:29.90 6:04.49 6:39.00 OR
6 Carla Zijlstra 28 Netherlands NED 7:12.89 20.79 53.82 1:27.84 2:01.72 2:35.92 3:10.20 3:44.50 4:18.81 4:53.44 5:28.03 6:02.97 6:37.99
7 Kirstin Holum 17 United States USA 7:14.20 21.02 54.17 1:27.75 2:01.30 2:34.77 3:08.60 3:42.79 4:17.45 4:52.23 5:27.42 6:02.76 6:38.30
8 Emese Nemeth-Hunyady 31 Austria AUT 7:15.23 21.15 54.95 1:28.51 2:02.84 2:36.66 3:11.02 3:45.30 4:19.82 4:54.78 5:29.80 6:04.96 6:39.95
9 Elena Belci 33 Italy ITA 7:15.58 20.88 54.25 1:28.40 2:02.53 2:36.49 3:10.69 3:45.30 4:20.05 4:55.08 5:30.14 6:05.12 6:40.28
10 Jennifer Rodriguez 21 United States USA 7:16.78 20.76 54.74 1:28.81 2:03.01 2:37.15 3:11.37 3:45.74 4:20.13 4:54.63 5:29.58 6:04.91 6:40.72
11 Mie Uehara 26 Japan JPN 7:21.72 20.87 53.68 1:27.30 2:01.36 2:35.68 3:10.41 3:45.30 4:20.57 4:56.28 5:32.40 6:08.64 6:45.07
12 Svetlana Vysokova 25 Russia RUS 7:22.18 21.18 54.88 1:29.53 2:04.16 2:38.74 3:13.38 3:48.35 4:23.51 4:58.93 5:34.42 6:10.04 6:46.25
13 Anette Tønsberg 27 Norway NOR 7:28.39 20.74 53.82 1:27.51 2:02.09 2:36.85 3:11.71 3:46.91 4:22.36 4:58.11 5:34.40 6:11.26 6:48.99
14 Heike Warnicke 31 Germany GER 7:30.83 20.55 53.40 1:27.36 2:02.05 2:36.87 3:12.16 3:47.89 4:24.27 5:01.27 5:38.35 6:15.91 6:53.53
15 Nami Nemoto 22 Japan JPN 7:36.77 20.70 53.92 1:27.74 2:02.09 2:36.76 3:11.86 3:47.60 4:24.08 5:01.45 5:39.72 6:18.55 6:57.70