Katrin Manoilova is one of just two Bulgarian Short Track Speed Skaters to have won any sort of Olympic medal but, when asked to explain the status of the sport in her homeland, she is adamant only one of them really registers.
In Sweden, the name “Majorov” and the word “konståkning” (Figure Skating) are almost inseparably connected to each other. Alexander Majorov senior and his wife, Irina, emigrated from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Sweden in the early 90s to coach the sport of Figure Skating.
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.
With the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games getting closer, Dutch Short Track Speed Skater Sjinkie Knegt still seeks daily improvement after coming back from two horrific injuries. “I am happy I came this far, but I still hope to improve and get better in the future,” Knegt said.
Skaters travel the world at a young age and visit many countries. Well, at least they did that before the pandemic hit and hopefully they will be able to do that soon again. They come into contact with different cultures and languages when travelling and meeting fellow skaters from all over the world in competitions. Jason Brown (USA) was 15 years old when he went to Karuizawa, in Japan, in his first ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating season, in 2010, and he was fascinated right away by the far eastern country.
They often get super nervous when they watch each other’s races, sometimes even a bit frustrated if things don’t go as planned. But most importantly, siblings Hanne and Stijn Desmet (BEL) enjoy living the Short Track Speed Skating life together. “It’s nice to always have someone around you can talk to and be close with,” they said.
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.