Clara Hughes takes bronze in 5000m

Clara Hughes finished her career with a bang.

In her final Olympic race, Canadian 5000m specialist Clara Hughes went out in style with a bronze medal finish in the women’s 5000m long track speed skating on Wednesday.

Hughes, gold medallist in Torino 2006, won her sixth medal as an Olympic athlete, matching the record held by fellow speed skater Cindy Klassen.

In addition to her four speed skating medals, the Winnipeg-native won two medals in the Atlanta Summer Games as a cyclist.

Canada’s flag-bearer finished with a time of 6:55.73, four seconds behind gold medal winner, Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova.

Sablikova was the favourite going into the 5000m as she set three straight world titles (2007, 2008, and 2009), and won three straight World Cup titles in the combined 3000/5000m standings.

Stephanie Beckert clinched the silver with a time of 6:51.39, contributing to what has been a very successful Olympics for Germany, who sits second in the medal totals with 24.

Canadian Kristina Groves was looking to pick up her third medal of the Olympics but ran out of gas in the final three laps and finished in sixth place with a time of 7:04.57

Winnipeg-native Cindy Klassen finished at a time of 7:22.09, good enough for 12th place in the 5000m.  Klassen, who is coming of two knee surgeries in 2008, was never able to regain her 2006 form where she won five medals in Torino and has struggled thus far in Vancouver.