No fixed lanes, no planned schedules or coaches with lap-times, but everyone at the starting line for a bunch race over 16 laps. It’s Mass Start time in Beijing. The traditionalists in long track Speed Skating still look at it with a sense of reluctance, but most Skaters have embraced the new dynamics since the event was added to the World Cup program ten years ago.
Anna Shcherbakova (ROC) skated off with the Olympic gold as a dramatic Women’s event at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games concluded at the Capital Indoor Stadium Thursday. Teammate Alexandra Trusova rose from fourth to claim the silver medal while Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto earned the bronze.
Four Dutch Men dominated the 1000m in the first four World Cups this season, but every nation has a maximum of three starting slots per distance at the Olympic Games. Reigning Olympic Champion Kjeld Nuis (NED) was the unlucky one out in the distance at the Dutch trials. Thomas Krol (NED), Hein Otterspeer (NED) and Kai Verbij (NED) all enter the competition in Beijing as title contenders. Based on the World Cup ranking, home favorite Ning Zhongyan (CHN), 2018 silver medalist Håvard Lorentzen (NOR) and Canada’s Laurent Dubreuil are their main challengers.
She saved the best for the last. After having collected three silver medals in the Beijing National Speed Skating Oval already, Miho Takagi (JPN) finally seized her much coveted first individual Olympic gold in the 1000m. In a superb display of technique and power, the 27-year-old World Sprint Champion shattered the Olympic record by a 0.37 margin in 1 minute 13.19s, leaving Jutta Leerdam (NED) 0.64s behind in silver. World record holder Brittany Bowe (USA) had to settle for bronze in 1:14.61s.
2018 Olympic silver medalists Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China headline a deep Pair Skating field. The final Figure Skating event at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games promises another highlight at the Capital Indoor Stadium Friday and Saturday.
Minjeong Choi of Korea and the Canadian Men’s Relay Team around Charles Hamelin raced to victory as the Short Track competition at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games concluded Wednesday with the Women’s 1500m and Men’s 5000m Relay at the Capital Indoor Stadium.
After having won silver in the 1500m, the 500m as well as in the Team Pursuit Final, Miho Takagi (JPN) seems to be the most obvious favorite for the 1000m distance that’s right in between. Yet, competition will be tough in the Women’s 1000m on Thursday. Having seen her teammate and friend Erin Jackson‘s fairy tale 500m win, World Cup leader Brittany Bowe (USA) hopes to complete her long Olympic journey at Beijing’s National Speed Skating Oval with a medal herself, while 2020 World Champion Jutta Leerdam (NED) has also set her eyes on 1000m gold.
Kamila Valieva* (ROC) took the lead in the Women’s Short Program followed by teammate Anna Shcherbakova and Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto.
They lost their PyeongChang 2018 Olympic record, but the Norwegian Men couldn’t care less after they retained their Olympic Team Pursuit title in the Final with a flawless race against the athletes representing the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). The Japanese Women were on course to also repeat their PyeongChang 2018 gold, but Nana Takagi crashed in the last corner, being pushed to the utter limit by Team Canada, who ended up running away with the gold medal. The bronze medals went to Team USA in the Men’s competition and the Netherlands in the Women’s.
“Flying Dutchwoman” Suzanne Schulting (NED) is aiming at a fourth medal in the 1500m at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, while the Men enter an open battle for the 5000m Relay as the Olympic Short Track competition concludes Wednesday at the Beijing Capital Indoor Stadium.
Based on the IOC Executive Board Decision, the IOC requests the International Skating Union (ISU) for reasons of fairness to allow a 25th competitor to participate in the Women Single Skating Free Skating of the competition on February 17, in case Ms. Valieva is ranked in the first 24 of the Short Pogram on February 15.
Skating is very much a solitary sport. The athletes compete in separate lanes, in a physical and mental struggle against the clock. There’s one exception: the Team Pursuit. It’s not just about the fastest Skaters, it’s about working together or, as Ethan Cepuran (USA) put it after the quarter finals: “(make) three Skaters look like one, and just become one unit.”
“Dream dancers” Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron floated to the gold medal at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov (ROC) earned the silver medal while Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) claimed bronze in what was a high-level competition that showcased the unique beauty of the sport.
Following the hearing of the Ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the arbitration procedures relating to Figure Skater Kamila Valieva (ROC), the International Skating Union (ISU) duly noted and will respect the ruling namely that the provisional suspension of Ms. Valieva remains lifted.