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The international long track Speed Skating season kicks off with the first of five ISU World Cup Speed Skating events in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland on 12 November. After two legs in Europe, the competition moves to North America, gearing up for a season’s climax at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in February.

From Poland, competition moves on to Stavanger, Norway on 19-21 November. Following a two-week break, the ISU World Cup campaign resumes at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, United States, on 3-5 December, and the fourth leg will be in Calgary, Canada, on 10-12 December.

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Ireen Wust (NED): among the Netherlands' Olympic Champions at PyeongChang 2018 © International Skating Union (ISU)

The first four World Cups are qualifying events for the 2022 editions of the ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships, the ISU European Speed Skating Championships, and the ISU World Speed Skating Championships, as well as the Beijing Olympics.

This season’s ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships were initially to be held in Obihiro, Japan in January 2022 but were brought forward to 15-17 December 2021 and relocated to Calgary, Canada. The event immediately follows the ISU World Cup leg taking place in the city the previous weekend. After the inaugural edition of the Four Continents Speed Skating Championships in Milwaukee (USA) in 2020, Calgary had been due to host the 2021 event, which was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Four Continents Championships are the World’s counterpart of the ISU European Speed Skating Championships, which will be held in Heerenveen (NED) on 7-9 January.

Both the Four Continents and the European Championships will be held in single distance format this season. These events offer skaters their last chance in international competition to see where they stand before the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, which take place from 4-20 February.

After the Netherlands finished on top of the Speed Skating medal table at both the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, other nations will be aiming to break the Dutch dominance. Canada, Japan, Norway and the United States are the most likely candidates to challenge the Orange powerhouse. A total of 14 Olympic titles (seven each for Men and Women) are up for grabs in the Chinese capital.

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Nils van der Poel (SWE), who set an astonishing World Record in the Men's 10,000m at the 2021 ISU World Speed Skating Championships © International Skating Union (ISU)

After the Olympic Games are done and dusted, the more versatile Speed Skaters can eat their heart out at the ISU World Speed Skating Championships in Hamar, Norway, from 3-6 March. This time it’s not about single distances, but titles for the Allround combination and the Sprint combination for both Men and Women.

One week later, the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final in Heerenveen puts the cherry on the cake in after what is likely to be a rollercoaster Speed Skating season.

Hopefully the enthusiastic Thialf crowd is allowed back in after the stands remained empty last year, when the season was restricted to four racing weekends in a Heerenveen bubble due to COVID-19.

The Junior Speed Skaters had no international competition at all last year. They’ll be looking forward to assessing their progress in this season’s ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating, which consists of three legs. The first two are in Inzell, Germany, on 27-28 November and 4-5 December, and the final takes place in Innsbruck, Austria, on 22-23 January.

A week after the Junior World Cup final, Innsbruck also hosts the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships