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UPDATE 3-Olympics-Speed skating-Wust pleases the Dutchies, Russia's Graf grabs medal
February 9, 2014 / 1:25 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 3-Olympics-Speed skating-Wust pleases the Dutchies, Russia's Graf grabs medal

4 Min Read

* Wust upsets Sablikova to give Dutch another gold

* Graf gives Russia first medal (Adds details, quotes)

By Patrick Johnston

SOCHI, Russia, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Dutch skater Irene Wust edged out defending champion Martina Sablikova to wrest back the Olympic 3,000 metres speed skating title on Sunday but the loudest cheer was reserved for Olga Graf after she claimed Russia's first medal of the Sochi Games.

Wust clocked four minutes, 0.34 seconds over the seven-and-a-half laps at the Adler Arena in the 13th of 14 heats to eclipse Sablikova's mark by 1.6 seconds.

It was Wust's third gold medal, after winning the title at the Turin Games in 2006 and the 1,500m in Vancouver four years ago, and matched the record for Dutch Winter Olympians.

"I have won three times in a row, I can't believe it," the 27-year-old told reporters.

"It is unbelievable and it is also a big relief. I have never felt this much pressure. I was not the only one who wanted to win, 17 million Dutchies wanted the same," added Wust, who has an oval named after her near her home town of Goirle.

The gold, which followed Sven Kramer's success in the men's 5,000m on Saturday, moved the European nation to 29 for the Olympic sport, equal with the United States.

The Dutch look set to surpass the U.S. mark with Kramer heavily backed to win the 10,000m and Wust said her thirst for gold in Sochi was far from quenched.

"I'm not finished here. I'm going for gold in the 1,000m, 1,500m and the team pursuit."

Wardrobe Malfunction

Three more wins in Sochi would put her ahead of German Claudia Pechstein's mark of five, with the German unable to add to her record Olympic speed skating medal total of nine after finishing a disappointing fourth.

The 41-year-old was edged out of third by the darling of the Adler Arena crowd, Graf, who delivered a personal best in the 10th heat to roars of approval from the fans as she briefly topped the timesheets.

Graf punched the air in delight when she saw her time but her expression turned to embarrassment shortly after.

Crossing the line and unzipping her suit to the waist, Graf skated along waving to fans before suddenly realising she had nothing underneath to protect her modesty.

She quickly pulled the suit together to spare her further embarrassment.

"I heard the crowd cheering for me and I didn't expect such support from the audience," said the skater, who has yet to manage a podium finish in World Cup races.

"When I realised that I beat my personal best, it was an incredible feeling," she added before turning attention to her wardrobe malfunction.

"I totally forgot that I had nothing under my suit," she said, breaking into a broad smile.

Sablikova relegated the chess playing, wushu and martial art exponent Graf to second two heats later with a strong skate in her eye-catching gold blades but the Czech was quickly forced out of top spot by Wust.

The Dutch skater, with her finger nails painted red, blue and white in the colour of her nation's flag, made a blistering start in the next heat to move almost three seconds under Sablikova's time after four laps.

Wust said later she was unhappy with her opening burst but it proved solid enough for victory despite failing to match Sablikova's strong finish.

"She skates very well, she is amazing," Sablikova said after applauding her victory at the finish line.

"She was very fast, no one could reach her." (Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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