Hughes ties Klassen for Most Olympic Medals Ever

It took near world records to beat her. Until Germany’s Stephanie Beckert and Czech skater Martina Sablikova in the final two pairings, Canada’s 2010 flag bearer Clara Hughes had been the only skater to post a time under seven minutes in the 5,000 metres.

“There is nothing I like more than setting the bar high up, and that’s what I did today,” Hughes said.
After Hughes skated to a deliriously loud fan base at the Richmond Oval, she crossed the finish line in a time of 6:55.73. She pumped her arms and flashed that all-too-familiar smile for all to see.
Sablikova’s skate of 6:50.91 and Beckert’s of 6:51.39 (the world record is 6:46.91) did nothing to alter that smile. Hughes won bronze in the 5,000 metres – her sixth career Olympic medal, which ties her with Cindy Klassen as the most by any Canadian.

This isn’t the first time Hughes has rewrote the history books. When she won gold in this race four years ago, she became the first person ever to win multiple medals at both the summer and winter Olympic Games. A cyclist for more than a decade, she won two Olympic bronze medals in that sport before taking aim at the long track.

Hughes is intimately familiar with the 5,000-metre distance. She has now won three Olympic medals (gold, two bronze) and four World Championship medals (gold, three silver, bronze) in this one event. She is one of the most decorated Canadian athletes ever and skated like a true champion at the Oval yesterday. As each of her lap times flashed on the screen, a deafening roar filled the brand new skating venue.

Standing at the starting line, with the crowd in frenzy, Hughes dropped her shoulders and took a deep breath. Yet she looked calm, under control and most of all, ready.

Then she skated further into the record books. “I share this medal and this race with all Canadians,” Hughes said.