This year’s ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships will be held at the superfast high-altitude Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City. The skaters have had enough time to familiarize with the track, because the ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating final was held on the same oval last week. In the ladies’ World Junior Championships Jutta Leerdam (NED) will defend her Allround title and in the men’s tournament Chris Huizinga’s Allround title is up for grabs since the Dutchman went to the senior ranks after last season.
The ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships returns to its place of birth. 125 years ago Dutchman Jaap Eden won the first official ISU World Speed Skating Championships in Amsterdam.
Jorien ter Mors (NED) and Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR) were crowned World Sprint Champions in Changchun on Sunday. Ter Mors took gold after defending champion Nao Kodaira (JPN) withdrew from the final 1000m, and Lorentzen kept Dutchmen Kjeld Nuis and Kai Verbij at bay at the 49th ISU World Sprint Championships.
The battle is on at the ISU World Sprint Championships in Changchun. In both the ladies’ and the men’s tournament the Olympic 500m and 1000m champions are engaged in a close fight for the title. After the first day in the ladies’ competition, 500m champion Nao Kodaira (JPN) is in the lead with a small margin over 1000m champion Jorien ter Mors (NED). In the men’s tournament Olympic 500m champion Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR) is on top, with defending World Sprint champion Kai Verbij (NED) and Olympic 1000m champion Kjeld Nuis (NED) at his heels.
With the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games done and dusted, the sprinters do not have time for much rest. On March 3-4, they will take the ice again for the 49th ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in Changchun, China. Kai Verbij (NED) and Nao Kodaira (JPN) will defend the title they won in Calgary (CAN) last year.
Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR) brought Speed Skating back to life in Norway. The 25-year-old sprinter from Bergen seized the 500m gold at PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, 70 years after Finn Helgesen won the last Norwegian 500m at the 1948 Olympics in Saint Moritz/Switzerland, 50 years after Magne Thomassen took the last Norwegian medal in the 500m (silver), and 25 years after Adne Søndral grabbed the last Norwegian Olympic Speed Skating title in the 1500m.
Seung-Hoon Lee (KOR) gave the home crowd their long awaited first gold medal in Speed Skating at PyeongChang 2018 on the final day at the Gangneung Oval. The 29-year-old Korean won the maiden Olympic men’s Mass Start ahead of Bart Swings (BEL) and Koen Verweij (NED).
Nana Takagi (JPN) won the first ever gold medal in the ladies’ Mass Start event on the final night of Olympic Speed Skating events at the Gangneung Oval. The 25-year-old Japanese thus seized her second gold medal at PyeongChang 2018, after having already collected the Team Pursuit title a few days before. World champion and home favorite Bo-Reum Kim (KOR) sprinted to silver, just ahead of Irene Schouten (NED), who took the bronze.
Mass Start makes its Olympic debut on the final day of the Speed Skating competitions at the Gangneung Oval on Saturday. Whereas all the other events in Speed Skating have a time trial format, the Mass Start is a pack race over 16 laps. The first skater to the line wins. “It’s different”, said Annouk van der Weijden (NED). “It skating with the head more than skating with the legs.”
Kjeld Nuis (NED) won the men’s 1500m and Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR) took gold in the 500m, which makes them both favorites for the 1000m at the Gangneung Olympic Oval on Friday. But there are more men aiming at the top spot, such as Nuis’ countrymen Kai Verbij and Koen Verweij, Finland’s Mika Poutala, and German Nico Ihle.
Like Japan in the Ladies’ Team Pursuit, the Norwegian Men proved that a team can be more than the sum of its parts. Sverre Lunde Pedersen, Håvard Bøkko, Simen Spieler Nilsen beat the Netherlands in the semifinals and Korea in the final to seize Norway’s second speed skating gold at PyeongChang 2018 in the Team Pursuit on Wednesday.