Prague, Czech Republic – Speed-skating Martina Sáblíková became the most decorated Czech Olympian of all time after winning bronze in the 5,000 metres in Beijing, the seventh medal of her career.
“I’m so happy because I didn’t think today I will have a medal. But now I have bronze. I don’t have words. One month ago I didn’t know I will compete here… It was hard to prepare for the Olympics,” said Sáblíková, who also finished fourth in the women’s 3,000 metres on Saturday.
“I’m very proud but I can’t believe it,” she added.
She is now the most decorated Czech Olympian in the post-1992 era, having won seven Olympic medals: three gold medals, two silver and two bronze.
At the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010, Sáblíková won three medals, two golds (3,000 and 5,000 metres) and one bronze (1,500 metres), thereby becoming the first Czech to win two gold medals in the same Winter Olympic Games.
She then successfully defended her title in the 5,000 meter at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, before also winning a silver medal in the 3,000 meter. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, she won silver in the 5,000 meter, her sixth Olympic medal.
The 34-year-old speed-skater had spoken of retiring after the Winter Games, but she was not so sure about that after her bronze medal: “I have the medal, so we will see. I have to wait for the end of the season, then I will have time to think about what I will do next year.”
Martina Sáblíková’s bronze medal was the Czech Republic’s second medal in Beijing, after Ester Ledecká won gold in the women’s snowboard parallel giant slalom.
In Pyeongchang in 2018, Ledecká won gold medals in the super-G in alpine skiing and in the parallel giant slalom in snowboarding, becoming the first person to win two gold medals at the same Winter Olympics using two different types of equipment (skis and snowboard).
Earlier this week, the highly anticipated contest between skiing rivals Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States and Petra Vlhová of Slovakia turned in favour of the “Super Slovak” who won Slovakia’s first Olympic medal in Alpine skiing.