“I’m super excited and grateful to be here and skate against the best in the world,” said USA’s Brittany Bowe after winning the ladies’ 1500m in Heerenveen on Saturday, voicing the feeling of many skaters, especially those from outside Europe, at the first ISU World Cup event of the season. Femke Kok (NED), who took bronze at last week’s European Sprint Championships, collected gold in her favorite 500m and Irene Schouten (NED) won the Mass Start by outsprinting Ivanie Blondin (CAN) in the final lap.
Canada’s ladies started their international speed skating season with a big surprise at the first leg of the ISU World Cup in Heerenveen on Friday. Ivanie Blondin, Valérie Maltais and Isabelle Weidemann won their Team Pursuit, skating the second fastest time ever at Thialf Stadium in 2 minutes and 56.71 seconds. The Netherlands had to settle for silver on home ice in 2:57.04, while Norway followed more than two seconds later in third.
The Netherlands kicked off the World Cup 2020/2021 series with a gold medal in the men's Team Pursuit in Heerenveen on Friday. Veteran captain Sven Kramer led youngsters Chris Huizinga and Beau Snellink past Olympic champions Norway by more than a second, with Canada only 0.08 seconds behind in third. In the semi-finals of the Mass Start, Austrian prodigy Gabriel Odor qualified for the Saturday final.
Elite Figure Skaters perform in front of ten thousands of people in arenas and millions of TV viewers. They win medals, they bathe in applause, flowers and toys cover the ice, fans cheer for them, the media covers them. This is one side of the coin. The other side is not as shiny. There is a lot of pressure coming from the public, the national federations, the media, the athletes themselves. There are injuries and illnesses, failures and shattered confidence. There is hate pouring out of the ever-present internet. Russian Figure Skater Mikhail Kolyada has experienced it all – the good, the bad and the ugly sides of being an international top-level athlete.
“I’ve never seen anybody doing what he does’, says Sweden coach Joël Eriksson admiringly about Nils van der Poel. “He’s an unbelievable kid.” The 24-year-old stunned the international Speed Skating world when he broke the nine-year-old track record the 10,000m in Inzell at a training race last December. It was his first official race after a two-year absence from Speed Skating. He was in the army and competed in ultrarunning instead. “There’s a lot of different ways that lead to Rome”, Van der Poel says without the slightest hesitation.
The condensed International Speed Skating season in the Heerenveen Hub resumes with the first of two ISU World Cup Speed Skating events on Friday 22 January. After the ISU European Speed Skating Championships last weekend, this will be the first chance for Skaters from the other continents to see how they stand at an International level. The 2020/21 ISU World Cup Speed Skating series, which comprises of two events in Thialf in back-to-back weekends, will also serve as one of the qualifying events for quota places at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships 2021 in February.
Don’t miss any of the action from the season’s thrilling races from the Heerenveen Speed Skating Hub, which will be streamed live to all fans on the ISU Skating YouTube page. Make sure you subscribe to the channel to receive live stream notifications. Some geo-restrictions will apply on YouTube, but if you find yourself unable to watch the stream, check out one of the channels indicated here to get access.
After an extraordinary period of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020/21 Short Track season will finally get underway in Gdańsk, Poland this weekend, with the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships taking place from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 January.
The ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships begin Friday, January 22, 2021 in Gdansk, Poland. Don’t miss any of the action as the Skaters get back on the ice for this season’s thrilling races, which will be streamed live to all fans on the ISU Skating YouTube.
Have a look at the selection of some of the top pictures of the ISU European Speed Skating Championships that took place this weekend. It was the first event in the Hub of Heerenveen. Stay tuned for the next ones.
What a difference a day makes for Jutta Leerdam (NED). On Saturday she grumbled about doing everything wrong; on Sunday she found redemption and beat Angelina Golikova (RUS) for the Ladies’ Sprint title at the ISU European Speed Skating Championships in Thialf, Heerenveen. Thomas Krol (NED) cashed in on his first-day advantage to take the Men’s Sprint title.
Antoinette de Jong (NED) overcame her doubts after a disappointing first day in Heerenveen to win the Allround title at the ISU European Speed Skating Championships. The defending champion proved to be the Ladies’ field’s most complete speed skater, ahead of silver medalist Irene Schouten (NED) and Martina Sáblíková (CZE), who took bronze to claim a record 12th podium spot in the European Allround Championships. In the Men’s field Patrick Roest added a career-first European Allround title to his three World Allround victories.
Kai Verbij (NED) blew his chance to take a third consecutive European Sprint title crashing fifty meters into his first 500m race on Saturday. The defending champion left the field wide open and his good friend and teammate Thomas Krol (NED) stepped up to the occasion taking the lead after the first day of the Men’s sprint championships on Saturday. Angelina Golikova leads the Ladies’ Sprint tournament after winning the 500m and coming fourth in the 1000m.
Antoinette de Jong and Patrick Roest lead the Allround classifications after the first day of the ISU European Speed Skating Championships on home ice at Thialf on Saturday. Three-time World Allround Champion Roest seems to be cruising towards his career-first European Allround championship, but De Jong faces a tough battle in defense of her 2019 title. With a Championship record in the 3000m, Irene Schouten kept the pressure on her compatriot for a thrilling climax on the second day.
Estonia might be a small country in Norther Europe with a population of just 1.3 million people, which is about half of the population of Paris, but it has a rich tradition in Figure Skating. Estonian skaters have competed internationally ever since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.