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.
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.
“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.”
During its last Council meeting on April 8, 2021 the ISU decided to adopt the IOC Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration, a historic athlete-driven initiative. Developed by athletes and for athletes through a worldwide consultation process; led by a 19-strong athlete representative Steering Committee.
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.”
Today, April 6, 2021, the International Skating Union (ISU) proudly celebrates the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace for the fourth consecutive year. Sport, peace and unity is more important than ever in these times of crisis.
The International Skating Union (ISU) has prolonged its media rights agreement with Infront for another four seasons. The extension with Infront runs until end the of 2026/27 season and includes coverage in China from the 2020/21 season.
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.”
He’s been around in international Speed Skating for ten years, but the best is yet to come for Laurent Dubreuil. Last January the Canadian followed the footsteps of his legendary countryman Jeremy Wotherspoon, winning 500m gold at the ISU World Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen. Although both his parents were Olympic Speed Skaters, Dubreuil’s choice of sports was his own. “To me, nothing was as much fun as Speed Skating,” he says.
When Joel Dufter (GER) crashed in the 500m at ISU World Cup Speed Skating races in Heerenveen in January, he put the track markers back in place before getting up again. “I crashed in the corner and it was a mess. I thought it was the right thing to do,” he laughs. It says a lot about his character.
International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to highlight some driven, strong and inspirational women who are paving the way in the Skating world.