Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR), Patrick Roest (NED) and Jordan Belchos (CAN) at the ISU Combined Sprint and World Allround Speed Skating Championships 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
The Covid-19 restrictions somehow were a blessing in disguise for Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR). The silver medallist from last year’s ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships had more time with his family than usual over the summer, which he mostly spent with his wife and son Svein who was born in May. “It’s great to watch him grow,” Pedersen says.
The Norwegian used the relatively quiet summer for a reset of his body after an exhausting and injury hampered season. He’s looking forward to racing this winter, even if it has to be in a bubble.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the ISU decided to cancel the first four ISU World Cup Speed Skating events, which were to be held in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Stavanger, Salt Lake City and Calgary in November and December. An alternative series of races is being considered in a bubble concept at Thialf Stadium in the Nederlands. Pending the definite decision, the Norwegian Speed Skaters keep on training in Stavanger.
Living in a bubble
Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) at the ISU Combined Sprint and World Allround Speed Skating Championships 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
Pedersen does not particularly look forward to being quarantined in order to be able to race, but he will settle for a bubble if he needs to. “If that’s the way we can get out races organised, that’s what we should do. Everyone has to make sure that everything is done the right way. If other sports can do it, Speed Skating can do it too.
Would the bubble affect his preparations for the races? “That’s hard to say. We haven’t done it before. I imagine that after a couple of weeks you’ll get a little bored if you can’t leave the hotel. We’ll have to see how that plays out.”
The Covid-19 restrictions have kept the Norwegian Speed Skaters from travelling abroad to training camps over the summer, but it hasn’t affected Pedersen’s motivation.
“We have spent the whole summer in Norway, whereas we would normally have gone to Heerenveen for training on summer ice in June and July. We have skated in Hamar instead and now we’re based in Stavanger. We will stay here for training races in Stavanger and Norway over the next weeks,” Pedersen explains.
Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) at the ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Pedersen had a rough ride last season. Due to the physical ramifications of a pre-season bike accident, his body was not able to recover well from tough training and races. It took months to get back in shape and he was exhausted when the season finally finished.
Pedersen embraced the fact that they had less time on the ice this summer. He used this period for a physical reset. “For me, after last season, it was not so bad. I could work on the basics and get strong again. I gradually built up strength after the season and the long break. Now it’s time to get the feeling on the ice again.”
Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) at the ISU European Speed Skating Championships 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
The ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Beijing in February are set to be the climax of the upcoming season. Pedersen hopes to be able to skate in China, but he doesn’t count on it. “It’s hard to say. I would even be a little surprised if we could go, but if the races are on and the Norwegian government doesn’t restrict the travelling, I definitely will race in China.”
There is a bigger goal behind the horizon, however. “Of course I want to skate in Beijing in 2021, but the real target is Beijing 2022, the Olympic Games.” At the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang Pedersen won Team Pursuit gold with Norway and an individual bronze medal in de 5000m. For 2022 he has set sights on adding an individual Olympic title to his tally.