Olympians are very special people but even among such company Vincent De Haitre stands out. Not only is the Canadian about to join that exclusive group comprising those who have competed in both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, but once he has finished with track cycling at Tokyo 2020 he will then drop his bicycle, pull his speed skates back on and attempt to qualify for Beijing 2022.
In Speed Skating it’s all about small margins. One hundredth of second can make the difference between silver and gold. The friendship between Thomas Krol (NED) and Kai Verbij (NED) dates back to the time the two skated in the junior ranks.
If Canadian Speed Skater Ivanie Blondin had to describe her time in the Heerenveen bubble, it would probably all come down to just a few words. Blondin went from having serious doubts to feeling proud about her accomplishments.
Just after the 2020 ISU World Speed Skating Championships, Joey Mantia (USA) sat down and noted his goals for the 2020/21 season. One of those goals was winning the 2021 World title in the Men's Mass Start. Mantia did just that at the 2021 ISU Speed Skating bubble in Heerenveen, but the road to winning the world title was not easy for the 35-year-old and you can watch his journey in This is #UpAgain A Speed Skating documentary.
Norway’s Peder Kongshaug never skated on television before. This year, all his races were televised. And on top of that, he was part of the ‘This is #UpAgain: a Speed Skating documentary’. Kongshaug competed in his first senior international competitions and shared all of his experiences from the bubble in the documentary.
As a multiple world Speed Skating champion, Brittany Bowe (USA) went through several ups and downs in her career. “We all have a story,” she said. With her own personal story, Bowe hopes to inspire others.
Coming from the Estonian countryside, it was a long and winding road for Saskia Alusalu (EST) to become an Olympic Speed Skater. The compulsory rest due to the ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic last season, made her realize how tough the life of a top-athlete is. She skipped the bubble races in Heerenveen and is seeking the best pathway towards the Olympic Games in Beijing next season.
The Polish Speed Skating Association PZLS will celebrate its 100th anniversary on October 9, 2021. Over the past century the sport has had its ups and downs in Poland, celebrating its biggest success when Zbigniew Bródka won gold in the 1500m at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. Four years later in PyeongChang, Poland did not manage to win any Speed Skating silverware, but PZLS sports director Konrad Niedźwiedzki is working hard to raise a new generation of Polish Speed Skating talent.
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.
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.
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 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.”
Olga Fatkulina (RSU) was born and raised in Chelyabinsk, where Speed Skating is a very popular sport. In times of economic hardship and personal despair, Speed Skating was her way out to build a better life. Olympic silver in the 500m at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi is the pinnacle of her career, “So far”, the 31-year-old sprinter adds with her characteristic smile. “But I hope to win more in the future.”
Reigniting the British Speed Skating tradition, that’s what Ellia Smeding, Cornelius Kersten are after. “Great Britain has a great Speed Skating history, but it’s forgotten”, says Kersten. The British Speed Skating couple aims at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing and set up their own coffee company to finance their campaign.
“Growing up, I was playing every sport under the sun”, says Brittany Bowe (USA) with a smile. Had she not become an Olympic Speed Skater, she might have been a professional basketball player. Having won five world titles and an Olympic bronze medal, the 33-year-old sprinter is proud of her achievements so far: “I’ve checked almost everything of my list of goals, but there’s one thing that’s outstanding, an Olympic gold medal.”