Kjeld Nuis (NED) and Mathias Voste (BEL) pictured at a road cycling training session in 2020 in Heerenveen (NED) @GettyImages
Most Speed Skaters start the off-season with a well-deserved holiday, but they pick-up training by the end of April usually. Without ice, the skater’s routine mainly comprises cycling, inline-skating, dry-land exercises and the gym. And of course, there is summer ice too. Although it is technically different, inline-skating resembles the ice-skating movement best out of all summer alternatives.
Jorrit Bergsma, Crispijn Arien, Bob de Vries (NED) pictured inline skating in De Veenhoop (NED) @GettyImages
Inline-champion and Olympic medalist Francesca Lollobrigida (ITA) explains the difference: “You use the same muscles, but there are many differences too. Skating on ice is smoother, the strokes are longer and the technique is more precise. Traditional ice-skaters like Jorrit Bergsma (NED) still do like to train on inline-skates in spring and summer.
No double push
Joey Mantia (USA) actually started out as an inline skater, making the switch to the ice after already having won multiple world titles on tarmac. He still struggles making the switch. “I had to detrain myself not to double-push. Still, if you watch closely, you can see that bob up and down a little bit. There is a sweet spot in inline skating, that I always felt was really efficient for me, that felt like home. Ice skating for me is not natural at all.
“The hardest thing coming over from inline to the ice is the start. There is nothing similar at all. With inline I was a runner. I got up on my toes, hips forward, I just leaned and reached out in front of me and pull the ground. I had one of the best starts in the world in inline, and on the ice I had one of the worst starts. I still do not understand it completely. It is not something that comes natural.”
Bart Swings (BEL) does not have any difficulties switching between inline and ice. The Olympic Mass Start Champion claimed four gold medals and a bronze in inline-skating at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama (USA) in July.
Tour de France
Apart from the small wheels in inline-skating, Speed Skaters use the bigger wheels of a bike especially for endurance training. Some Speed Skaters are real cycling afficionados, who not only ride the bike themselves but also follow bike-races closely. Irene Schouten (NED) enjoyed a visit to the Tour de France with Dutch television channel NOS.
The triple Olympic Champion does a lot of endurance training on the bike herself. She used to travel to Livigno, Italy, for high-altitude bike-rides over the past nine years, but after Beijing (CHN) she decided to change her usual summer routine. Instead of the Swiss-Italian Alps, she will travel to Colombia for high-altitude bike-training around Medellin in September. Apart from inline-skating and bike-riding, Schouten also does a lot of dry-land routines.
Only a few weeks before temperatures went up above 30 degrees centigrade in France, bike-training did not feel like summer at all for the US Speed Skating Team, who were hit by snow in June.
Snow in June may be an anomaly in a Speed Skater’s summer routine, ice in July certainly is not. Like Olympic 1500m Champion Kjeld Nuis (NED), many Skaters took their first steps on summer ice in the Max Aicher Arena in Inzell (GER) in July, while most people sought refuge for the summer heat in swimming pools.
Follow the ISU on social media accounts:
Youtube: Skating ISU
Tik Tok: @isuskating