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Canadian Woman Wins Speed Skating Gold - 2002-02-15

Canadian speed skater Catriona LeMay Doan has won the gold medal in the women's 500-meter race at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Le May Doan defeated German Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt to take her second consecutive Olympic championship.

The gold medal in the women's 500-meters came down to a sprint that took less than 38 seconds between Catriona Le May Doan and Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt of Germany.

Le May Doan, the 1998 champion and the world record holder in the event finished with a total time of 74.75 seconds. Garbrecht-Enfeldt finished 19/100ths of one second back with another German Sabine Voelker taking the bronze medal, 44/100ths of one second off the leader.

The Canadian said she knew Garbrecht-Enfeldt was close to her, and she had to push herself to win. "Probably in the last 10 meters of the race. Because I knew then. I was just so thankful. I knew it was enough. And then afterwards it's definitely you do not have a chance yet to just enjoy it," she said.

The top American finisher was Chris Witty, who was 14th. Witty has been recovering from mononucleosis. Witty says that she was satisfied with her run and will try to get some rest before her next event, Thursday's 1000-meters. "You know it's just day by day if I am tired I have to rest so if I would have been tired tonight I would have pulled out. Which is something you hate to do especially at an Olympics," she said. "But I didn't do it. I decided to race. I felt pretty good this morning I thought I would give it a chance."

Witty, a two-time medallist at the 1998 games will have to face many of the same racers she faced in the 500-meters in the 1000-meters Thursday. For Le May Doan, her win gives Canada its first gold medal of the Salt Lake Games.