Sablikova drops 1,500-meter race from schedule

The Associated Press

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Four-time Olympic medalist Martina Sablikova will skip the women's 1,500-meter speedskating race to fully center on defending her gold in the 5,000.

The Czech skater took bronze in the 1,500 in the Vancouver Games but is best known as a long-distance specialist. She won Olympic gold in the 3,000 and 5,000 four years ago.

In Sochi, she already has a silver medal from the 3,000-meter race, where she finished behind Ireen Wust of the Netherlands.

Also competing in the 1,500 would have crowded her preparation schedule ahead of next Wednesday's 5,000.

Sablikova has eight long-distance world titles but not a single world championship medal in the 1,500.

Organizers could not immediately say Thursday who would take Sablikova's spot on the starting list.

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