Salt Lake City, USA


Nils van der Poel still doesn’t cease to surprise the international speed skating world. The Swedish endurance machine broke another world record winning the 5000m on the first day of the ISU World Cup in Salt Lake City on Friday. Japan dominated the Men’s 500m, with Yamato Matsui and Wataru Morishige taking gold an silver ahead of World Cup leader Laurent Dubreuil (CAN).

 Nils van der Poel SWE GettyImages 1357037012

Nils van der Poel (SWE) © International Skating Union (ISU)


Another world record for Van der Poel

“It did not come easy today,” Nils van der Poel admitted after completing the 5000m in 6 minutes and 01.56 seconds, 0.30s faster than Ted-Jan Bloemen’s (CAN) 2017 Salt Lake City world record.

“The race plan was to open below 20s, and do 8.5s (28.5 lap times), and take it down from there. We went for 6:02, that was the schedule,” Van der Poel explained, but he had to make amends early on.

“The first 20 meters were sh*tty, so I didn’t have the speed for the first 200m,” he said. “The first lap is slow due to that, and then I get a little stressed out after 700 meters when I see the 9.1 (29.1 lap time). Then I pulled down 8.1s and I stabilized it, but it did not come easy at all.”

After a 10,000m record race last season in Heerenveen, Van der Poel now holds the world record in both long distances. He said there’s still something to reach for, however.

“It would be cool to be the first guy to cross the six minutes. That’s the coolest limit right now, the 1:40 in the 1500m, and the six minutes in the 5000m.”

With gold medals in Poland (5000m) and Stavanger (10,000m) in the first two World Cups of the current season, Van der Poel had shown promising early season form. Before stepping on the fast ice in Salt Lake City, he decided to put in some more training volume, which may have affected him technically, he said.

“If you see the performance from a physical perspective, I reached my maximum, but technically it wasn't the best,” Van der Poel said. “The biggest part of it is that I haven't practiced so much speed skating the last two weeks.

“I did cycling mostly. Tuesday, after races in Stavanger, I did a session (speed skating), but since then, I've been skating 13 laps before this competition.”

Patrick Roest (NED) finished second in 6:04.41 and Davide Ghiotto (ITA) took his career first World Cup podium with bronze in 6:07.27.

Roest was impressed by Van der Poel’s performance.

“It's crazy. We know Nils is a very strong guy. He showed it already the whole season — that he's the best skater right now. I'm just happy that I could close the gap a little bit on him,” Roest said.

The Dutchman bounced back after poor results in November.

“The first two World Cups, it wasn't that great. I'm happy that I could show my form again. I think I can be faster.

“The last week and a half, I've just been training to reset the body a little bit, and to prepare for the more important races,” he said. “And when I look at that, I'm just happy with the race I showed today after so much training. It gives me hope I can do more at the end of the season when it really matters.”


In Shimizu’s footsteps

Before Van der Poel stunned the crowd with his world record, Japan’s Yamato Matsui and Wataru Morishige (JPN) followed in the footsteps of 1998 Olympic champion and five-time world champion Hiroyasu Shimizu, known as the emperor of sprint two decades ago.

“He’s still an inspiration for us Japanese sprinters nowadays,” Matsui said.

Matsui celebrated his career first World Cup victory, while Morishige took his career second World Cup medal after a bronze in Poland last November.

“It's really surprising,” Matsui said. The 24-year-old sprinter gave a lot of credit to his teammates.

“After Shimizu quit, Japanese sprinting was absent for a while, but we got the national team back together and we make each other stronger,” he said.

World sprint champion Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) was Japan’s top gun in sprinting over the past couple of years, but he had to settle for sixth place in 34.27s on Friday.

Matsui Morishige Dubreuil GettyImages 1357037198

 Yamato Matsui and Wataru Morishige (JPN) and Laurent Dubreuil (CAN) © International Skating Union (ISU)


Being a dad makes the difference for Dubreuil

Laurent Dubreuil (CAN) is the most consistent sprinter this season after landing on the podium in all five World Cup races so far. With a bronze medal in the first of two 500m races in Salt Lake City, the world champion retained his first place in the World Cup ranking.

“Physically we put more emphasis on weight training. More rest actually, so I train less than I used to, which is like a dream come true,” Dubreuil said. “To train less and skate faster is the best of both worlds.”

“But also, I started getting good when I became a dad. I feel like that takes away some pressure because it puts things in perspective. Before, skating was the most important thing in my life. If skating was bad, I felt bad. If skating was good, I felt good about myself,” he said. “But now even if I have a bad race, I don't care too much, because that's not what's most important to me anymore.”


500m Men

ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 500m Men

5000m Men

ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 5000m Men

The event entry quotas for the individual distances will be determined by the Special Olympic Qualification Classification (SOQC) based on results from the different ISU World Cup Speed Skating Competitions and the full details are available in ISU Communication 2405.

For full entry lists and further information regarding the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Series please visit: Results are here and you can follow the discussion on social media by using #SpeedSkating.


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For further information on ISU Speed Skating visit


ISU World Cup Speed Skating Series 2021/22:

Tomaszów Mazowiecki (POL) – Nov 12 – 14, 2021

Stavanger (NOR) - Nov 19 - Nov 21, 2021

Salt Lake City (USA) - Dec 03 - Dec 05, 2021 

Calgary (CAN) – Dec 10 - Dec 12, 2021

Final – Heerenveen (NED) – Mar 12 - Mar 13, 2022 


About ISU World Cup Speed Skating Series

The ISU World Cup Speed Skating is a Series of international Speed Skating competitions which takes place annually. The Series started in 1984 and usually consists of six or seven Events including the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final. However during the Olympic season the Series consists of five Events.

Skaters can earn points at each competition, and the Skater who has the most points on a given distance at the end of the Series is the World Cup winner of that distance. The World Cup Competitions held from November to December serve as qualifying events for entry quotas at the ISU European, World Single Distances, World Sprint and World Allround Speed Skating Championships and during the Olympic season they are Olympic Qualifying Events. A number of World Cup titles are awarded every season; For Men: 500m, 1000m, 1500m, combined 5000m / 10,000m, Mass Start, Team Pursuit and Team Sprint. For Women 500m, 1000m, 1500m, the combined 3000m / 5000m, Mass Start, Team Pursuit and Team Sprint. For further information please visit