So far, Sáblíková has competed in both World Cup 3000 meters races together with their later winner Ragne Wiklundová. And while last week in Obihiro, Japan, the Norwegian broke away from Sáblíková in the second half of the race, in Beijing the Czech kept her until the final meters.
“She started the race very fast and it was very difficult for her to keep up on this ice,” Sáblíková said about the Norwegian in a recording for the media.
“Of course I’m far behind, but on the other hand, it’s better to ride with someone faster than someone slower,” she mused. “She rides so well that I enjoy it with her, I like to watch her ride,” she praised her rival.
Although Sáblíková clocked a slower time in Beijing than in Obihir, she improved from fifth to second place compared to last week. “The local ice is heavy, which was evident in the times that were set,” she reasoned.
After winning the race over 1500 meters in category B a week ago, Sáblíková could start in the highest category on this track this time, but she opted out of the race due to health problems. In Japan, she used antibiotics, and the fifth place in the three kilometers threw her barely healed organism again.
“After the triple in Obihiro, I got a fever, so I missed two more days. We didn’t want to risk my illness coming back, so we put all our energy this week on the triple,” she explained.
Speed skater Martina Sáblíková received the bronze medal for her performance on the five-kilometer track at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. (February 11, 2022)
Thanks to the freer schedule, Sáblíková was also able to visit the Beijing Olympic Park, which, paradoxically, she could not visit during the Olympics due to covid measures. And after entering the oval, memories of the bronze race under the five rings came back to her.
“I am very happy that I could be here again. It’s great to see the local hall, to race in it. A lot of memories still come back to me, such moments are unforgettable,” she described.
The bet on the three-kilometer track paid off for Sáblíková. The rested body climbed to the second fastest time of the day and the Czech once again climbed to the podium. As she is used to in the Beijing Ice Ribbon.