German Stephanie Beckert has won silver in the 5,000-meter speed skating at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. The 21-year-old was piped to the finish line by Czech world-record holder Martina Sablikova.
Beckert just missed out on the gold medal
Beckert finished with a time of 6:51.39, just under half a second behind Sablikova, who had been favorite to take out the race. Clara Hughes of Canada finished third nearly five seconds behind the two frontrunners.
The result for the young German mirrored her earlier showing in the 3,000-meter event, in which she also finished behind Sablikova. Beckert said that although she skated faster than her original goal, she was still happy to add another silver medal to her personal tally.
"At the end it was quite tight. I'm incredibly happy about winning silver," she said. "I talked with my mother and the whole family was sitting in front of the TV watching the race. They were just absolutely ecstatic.
"My brother was in the stands with his fingers crossed and I could feel his energy," she added.
Sablikova said she was pushed all the way by a competitive field.
"It was really, really hard for me, this race. I pushed my limits. Especially the last round was really tough. I had to give it my all," said Sablikova.
"I was expecting it to be a tough race just observing the competition. I was happy I wasn't the first person so I could see the times. It's an amazing feeling to win gold."
German Daniela Anschutz Thoms finished fourth in the final, 7.73 seconds off the winner's pace. Katrin Mattscherodt was disqualified from the race.
The result sees Germany maintain second place in the overall Games medal tally, with seven gold, 10 silver and seven bronze.
Editor: Nigel Tandy