The rocker and the bend. Few people outside Speed Skating know what it’s about, but on the ice it can make a world of difference. Twofold ISU World Speed Skating Champion Nils van der Poel (SWE) found out only two weeks before his legendary world record 10,000m race in Heerenveen last February. A Speed Skating tube is neither flat nor straight, here’s why.
The 2020/21 season will stick in the memories of most skaters as probably the most unusual season of their career. Lockdowns and travel restrictions affected athletes worldwide throughout the year. However, while most Figure Skaters in Europe, in China or in the USA got the opportunity to participate at least in a few live competitions, athletes in Canada faced an especially difficult situation as basically all national live events were cancelled. So, when Nam Nguyen came to the ISU World Team Trophy in April, it was his first live competition in more than a year. This was not the only challenge he had to overcome.
“I felt like a little kid,” Ryan Pivirotto (USA) said after one of his training sessions at the Dordrecht 2021 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships. “It’s exciting to race again, to see everyone,” he added. But for Pivirotto that was not the only thing. Coming back to the world stage had been an uphill battle the US Short Track Speed Skater, who struggled with depression after not having been selected to compete at the 2018 Olympics.
Speed Skating was one of the first sports in modern history to have World Championships organized by an international federation. Before this first tournament in Amsterdam in 1893, Speed Skating tracks varied a lot in length and shape, but with the inaugural ISU Word Speed Skating Championships the ISU standardized the 400m track, and the dimensions are very precise.
When Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov stood on top of the podium at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2021 in Stockholm (SWE) they continued a long tradition of Russian Ice Dance. Soviet and then Russian athletes had dominated the discipline for decades, collecting 29 World titles and a total of 62 medals since the introduction of Ice Dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in 1952. However, their dominance faded with the development of Ice Dance in other countries and the last victory of Russian dancers dates back to 2009 when Oksana Domnina/ Maxim Shabalin claimed the title.
Kjeld Nuis (NED) had a rollercoaster winter after switching teams last summer. “It was the worst start of the season ever for me”, he referred to contracting Covid-19 in October. The reigning Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion eventually finished the season with a silver medal in the 1500m.
“It’s the lactate in the legs that I feel,” Akash Aradhya (IND) said when he stepped off the ice just after his training session at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht (NED). “It’s the hardest ever, but it’s also why I love the sport so much,” he added with a smile.
The Figure Skating season concluded last weekend with the ISU World Team Trophy. Have a look at some of the best pictures of the event.
Two days after the funeral of her best friend Paulien van Deutekom in January 2019, Speed Skating superstar Ireen Wüst was #UpAgain and competing at the ISU European Speed Skating Championships in Collalbo, Italy. A month later, Wüst managed to overcome her grief at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships to win the 1500m gold medal, and tearfully dedicated her title to her late friend.
Team Russia won the ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating for the first time since the introduction of the event in 2009 as competition wrapped up in Osaka (JPN) on Saturday with the Pairs and Ladies Free Skating. Russia scored a runaway victory over defending champions Team USA by 125 to 110 points. Team Japan took bronze with 107 points.
“It was the worst moment in my life,” says Artur Nogal (POL) about his Olympic experience at PyeongChang 2018. His Games were over after a crash only a few meters into his 500m race. He managed to turn the negative into the positive: “That moment made me stronger.”
Team Russia built on their lead as the ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating continued on Friday in Osaka with the Pairs Short Program, Free Dance and Men’s Free Skating.
When Short Track Speed Skater Sofia Prosvirnova (RUS) was asked who helped her most during the past year, the answer followed quickly. It’s her boyfriend and Speed Skater Viktor Thorup (DEN). “He helped me a lot and motivated me through these challenging times,” Prosvirnova said.
Team Russia took the lead as the ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating kicked off on Thursday in Osaka with the Rhythm Dance, Ladies and Men’s Short Programs. They topped the day one standings with 49 points, just two points ahead of Team USA (47). Team Japan sit third with 42 points.