In 1893 the first ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships took place on the Museum Square in Amsterdam (NED). Exactly 125 years later the prestigious Championships return to Amsterdam and will be held outdoors for the first time since 2001.
Rijksmuseum ©Erik Smits
On March 8, 2018, to mark this special occasion, a formal dinner was held at the Dutch National Museum Rijksmuseum, famous for housing masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer. The guests of honour included 42 former world Champions and many more who have been involved in Speed Skating over the years. The ISU President, Mr. Jan Dijkema, welcomed all the dignitaries: “125 years ago, the first ISU World Speed Skating Championships were organized in Amsterdam. Speed Skating has come a long way since then. From competitions on frozen lakes to major events in stadiums with millions of viewers worldwide. And from Skaters cocooned in thick jackets and woolly hats to the ultra-fit, aerodynamic superstars of today. But the history of ice skating is not just about developments in Skating. It is also about people and friendship. This special evening shows that. We all share a huge passion for Speed Skating. And you are all real ambassadors for our beloved sport. You all have inspired many children and adults around the world!”
Rijksmuseum ©Jorrit Lousberg
The Rijksmuseum, which is very close to where the first ISU World Speed Skating Championships took place, and its impressive interior created an exceptional atmosphere for the evening. “We are surrounded tonight by masterpieces and masters of the World, what a unique combination! On behalf of the International Skating Union, I would like to express my gratitude for your attendance.” Mr. Dijikema finished by extending his gratitude to House of Sports, the Rijksmuseum, KPN, the municipality of Amsterdam and the KNSB.
The ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships have a long history, started by Dutchman Jaap Eden as the first athlete to win the Championships 1893 and continued by American woman Kit Klein who won the first Ladies title in 1936. Many athletes have marked Speed Skating history, including reigning World Champion Sven Kramer (NED) who will compete this weekend in search of a 10th World Allround title. Ireen Wüst (NED) will chase her seventh title, and Martina Sáblíková (CZE) is a four-time champion and youngster Miho Takagi will be looking for a maiden title for Japan.
Sven Kramer (NED) ©Jorrit Lousberg
The full list of Champions include:
Knut Johannesen (NOR 1957 & 1964), Valentina Stenina (URS 1960, 1961 & 1966), Henk van der Grift (NED 1961), Per Ivar Moe (NOR 1965), Kees Verkerk (NED 1966 & 1967), Stien Kaiser (NED 1967 & 1968), Dag Fornæss (NOR 1969), Ard Schenk (NED 1970, 1971 & 1972), Nina Statkevitsj (URS 1971), Göran Claeson (SWE 1973 & 1974), Sten Stensen (NOR 1974), Harm Kuipers (NED 1975), Piet Kleine (NED 1976), Sylvia Burka (CAN 1976), Hilbert van der Duim (NED 1980 & 1982), Amund Sjøbrend (NOR 1981), Rolf Falk-Larssen (NOR 1983), Karin Enke (GDR 1984), Oleg Bozjev (URS 1984), Hein Vergeer (NED 1985 & 1986), Nikolaj Goeljajev (URS 1987), Eric Flaim (USA 1988), Leo Visser (NED 1989), Constanze Moser-Scandolo (GDR 1989), Johann Olav Koss (NOR 1990, 1991 & 1994), Jacqueline Börner (GDR 1990), Falko Zandstra (NED 1993), Emese Hunyady (AUT 1994), Rintje Ritsma (NED 1995, 1996, 1999 & 2001), Ids Postma (NED 1997 & 1998), Claudia Pechstein (GER 2000), Gianni Romme (NED 2000 & 2003), Anni Friesinger (GER 2001, 2002 & 2005), Jochem Uytdehaage (NED 2002), Renate Groenewold (NED 2004), Chad Hedrick (USA 2004), Sven Kramer (NED 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 & 2017), Ireen Wüst (NED 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2017), Paulien van Deutekom (NED 2008), Martina Sablikova (CZE 2009, 2010, 2015 & 2016), Ivan Skobrev (RUS 2011), Koen Verweij (NED 2014).
ISU President Jan Dijkema and 42 former Champions in front of Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” ©Jorrit Lousberg
Full results and classifications of the 125th ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships and to follow the discussion on social media, use #AllroundSpeed and #SpeedSkating and watch the live stream on the ISU Skating Channel.