| Event type

5,000 metres, Women

Date23 February 2002 — 13:00
LocationUtah Olympic Oval, Kearns, Utah
Participants16 from 7 countries
StarterLars JennerstenSWE
RefereeErnest KretschmannUSA

With 5-time World Champion and world record holder Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann away on maternity leave, the Olympic gold in the 5,000 m seemed predestined for the 1994 and 1998 champion, Claudia Pechstein. Prior to the Games, she might have feared stiff competition from compatriot, Anni Friesinger, winner of the only 5,000 m World Cup race earlier in the season. But Friesinger had not done well in the Olympic 3,000 m, while Pechstein had won that race.

Instead competition for Pechstein came from two women who had only recently picked up speed skating again. Canadian Clara Hughes had been a speed skater before choosing a cycling career that earned her two Olympic bronze medals in the 1996 Games. She had picked up her old sport again in 2001, and had set a time of 7.00,10 at the Canadian Olympic Trials. Gretha Smit had been the surprise of the Dutch Olympic Trials. Dominant in women’s marathon skating, she had taken a stab at long track skating, and had overwhelmingly won the 3,000 m and 5,000 m at the selection competition.

Skating in the first pair, Smit shattered Niemann’s world record, which had been set in March 2001, lowering it to 6:49.22. Only in the sixth pair did Hughes manage to approach the time with 6:53.53, mainly due to her steady final laps. Undaunted by these times, Pechstein set off faster than Smit. This appeared to have cost her, as she fell behind the Dutchwoman at 1,800 m and started to lose more time in the ensuing laps. The gap increased to 2.76 seconds at 3,400 m, but Smit’s final 33 and 34-second laps left room for improvement. Pechstein seized that opportunity, turning around her deficit at the bell to a sizable margin of victory at the finish line.

17OClaudia PechsteinGER6:46.91GoldWR
21IGretha SmitNED6:49.22SilverWR
36OClara HughesCAN6:53.53Bronze
45ICindy KlassenCAN6:55.89
52OVarvara BaryshevaRUS6:56.97
68IAnni FriesingerGER6:58.39
78OTonny de JongNED7:01.17
87IMaki TabataJPN7:06.32
93ICatherine RaneyUSA7:06.89
103OKristina GrovesCAN7:07.16
115OValentina YakshinaRUS7:08.42
126IDaniela AnschützGER7:10.17
134IMarja VisNED7:19.08
142IAnnie DriscollUSA7:35.23
DNF1OLyudmila ProkashovaKAZfall
DNF4ONami NemotoJPN