Today, April 6, 2020, the International Skating Union (ISU) proudly celebrates the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace for the third consecutive year. Sport, peace and unity is more important than ever in these times of crisis. This year, the ISU Athletes Commission, who represents the views of the athletes and makes their voices heard within the ISU, conveys the message of commitment to Sport for Development and Peace.
A Speed Skating blade needs to be sharp to provide maximum grip on the ice at 60 km/h, but when a skater crashes the blades become dangerous weapons. In October 2015, Håvard Lorentzen's left skate slipped away when he entered a corner in a fast training lap at the Max Aicher Arena in Inzell. When he hit the cushions, his left skate cut into his right leg almost from the knee to the ankle. When he looked down, the 2012 ISU World Junior Speed Skating Champion was not sure whether he would be able to ever skate again.
There is no doubting the identity of the current world-leading female Short Track Speed Skater. Suzanne Schulting has been in sparkling form since grabbing 1000m gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games but the Dutchwoman took her level to new heights in 2019/20.
The joyful Thialf crowd had already heard the Dutch national anthem eight times and the Russian national anthem five times, when the Men's Mass Start bunch entered the rink for the final event at the ISU European Speed Skating Championships 2020. However, never in history, had La Brabançonne, the Belgian national anthem, been played at a major international Speed Skating tournament before. Bart Swings changed it all.
Alysa Liu (USA) made headlines already last year when, at age 13, she became the youngest US Ladies’ Champion in history, but she was still too young to compete at the international junior level, as her birthday is in August. The whirlwind from California then entered the junior scene with a bang and jumped right into skating history when she became the first female skater to land a triple Axel and a quadruple jump (Lutz) in one program at her very first ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating event in Lake Placid (USA).
The Liu brothers – Shaolin Sandor and Shaoang – have changed the face of winter sport in their homeland. Hungary is a powerhouse in summer sports such as canoeing, fencing and swimming but, until the Lius came along, had never won a winter Olympic gold medal.
Although the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2020 were not able to take place as scheduled due to the COVD-19 outbreak, the ISU will offer fans the opportunity to relive the excitement and beautiful performances of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2018.
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) is one of the most successful skaters of our time: He is a two-time Olympic Champion (2014 and 2018), a two-time ISU World Figure Skating Champion and overall a six-time ISU World Figure Skating medalist. He struck gold four times at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and at numerous ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events plus he is the 2010 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Champion. There was only one title missing: The title as the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Champion.
The Republic of Korea’s Hwang Dae Heon came into 2019/20 red hot. Having finished second overall at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2019 in Sofia, Bulgaria, and without Champion Lim Hyo Jun, also of Korea, in the field, he was expected to rule the roost – and at the start of the season, he did just that.
Ivanie Blondin (CAN) used to be a specialist in the Speed Skating Mass Start. Last season, she won her first ISU World Cup Speed Skating race in a classic distance, taking gold in the 3000m in Erfurt, and this season she really found her groove in Nur-Sultan breaking two track records and winning three gold medals.
Kamila Valieva (RUS) debuted at the international level in ISU events this season and impressed from start to finish. Her Short Program to the subtle pieces “Spiegel im Spiegel” and “Allerdale Hall” that was inspired by Picasso’s painting “Girl on the Ball” – an idea of coach Eteri Tutberidze - has become a signature piece already.
Kim Boutin had thought about walking away from Short Track Speed Skating at the end of the 2018/19 season. She wasn’t particularly enjoying herself in a sport that had dominated her life from the age of six. “I told my coach I needed something new, to have more fun, and see if I still enjoyed Short Track Speed Skating,” the Canadian said.