In 2019/20 Speed Skating will be faster than it has ever been. The season builds up to a climax at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships on the fastest ice on earth in Salt Lake City in February. The six world records during last season's ISU World Cup Speed Skating finals at the Utah Olympic Oval, were just a prelude to what's yet to come.
The 2019/20 season also has a couple of novelties in store. Milwaukee, USA, will host the first ever ISU Four Continents Championships in Speed Skating, Hamar will be home to the first ever combined ISU World Allround and ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships, and at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final in Heerenveen there will be a first ever mixed gender relay as demonstration event.
The Junior Speed Skaters are looking forward to the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne in January.
Early season form
Patrick Roest at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
The season kicks-off with the first of six legs in the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Minsk, Belarus, on November 15-17. Most skaters have already skated competitively beforehand, however. ISU World Allround Speed Skating champion Patrick Roest (NED) showed early season form when he broke the track record in the men's 10,000m (12:42.97) at the Dutch World Cup trials in Heerenveen on November 3. 1000m ISU World Speed Skating Champion Kai Verbij (NED) also impressed with a track record in the 1000m (1:07.48).
Dutch veteran champion Sven Kramer (NED) did not have an ideal run-up to the season due to a bike accident in Inzell, but the ISU European Allround Speed Skating Champion recovered from a bruised knee in time to qualify for the first four ISU World Cup Speed Skating events in the 1500m and the 5000m.
Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating (NOR) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) also had his season's preparations hampered by a bike accident. Like Kramer the Norwegian 5000m ISU World Speed Skating Champion recovered quickly. Pedersen confirmed his early season shape winning the 1500m and the 5000m at the Norwegian Single Distances Championships in the first weekend of November.
Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) started the season winning the Russian 500m and 1000m Single Distances titles in Kolomna, but the 500m world record holder will miss the first two World Cup events of the season in Minsk and Tomaszów Mazowiecki due to an injury he sustained in training. Kulizhnikov will face more competition than ever this season. Compatriot Artem Arefev, still a junior, came second in the 500m with a national junior record of 34.70. Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) is also challenging Kulizhnikov's 500m dominance. Last season he already skated a superb 33,79 in the 500m at the ISU World Cup Final in Salt Lake City, and the Japanese ace started the current season winning the national 500m and 1000m Single Distances title in October.
Ter Mors back
Jorien Ter Mors (NED) at the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
In ladies' Speed Skating Jorien ter Mors (NED) is back on top. After a lost year due to injuries, the Olympic 1000m Champion won the the 500m, the 1000m and the 1500m at the Dutch World Cup trials. The recovered Ter Mors will face tough competition across the board. At the Russian Single Distances Championships early November Daria Kachanova (RUS) won the 1000m in 1:14.70, beating Ter Mors' 2016 track record in Kolomna.
Brittany Bowe (USA) showed early season form winning three events (500m, 1000m, 1500) at the US World Cup trials in Milwaukee in October and Miho Takagi (JPN) took three gold medals (1000m, 1500m, 3000m) at the Japanese Single Distances Championships. Takagi came second behind Nao Kodaira in the 500m.
Nao Kodaira (JPN) at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
After the season start in Minsk, the ISU World Cup Speed Skating will continue with events in Polish Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) and Nagano (Japan) in November and December. The fifth World Cup is in Calgary in February and the Final will be in Heerenveen in March.
The first four legs of the ISU World Cup series are qualifying events for the ISU European Speed Skating Championships, the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships, the ISU World Speed Skating Championships.
European and Four Continents Championships
ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Heerenveen not only hosts the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final, but also the ISU European Speed Skating Championships in January, which will be Single Distances format after last season's Allround and Sprint tournaments.
At the inaugural ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships in Milwaukee, skaters representing non-European countries, will face each other in a similar competition to the well-established ISU European Speed Skating Championships. The event's name refers to Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania (four of the continents represented in the Olympic rings, omitting Europe).
Fastest ice on earth
Utah Olympic Oval 2015©Internatioanl Skating Union (ISU)
For most skaters the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Salt Lake City will be the pinnacle of their season. The high altitude 2002 Utah Olympic Oval in Utah is considered to be the fastest track in the World. At last season's ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final six world records were broken. The Oval is home to eleven of the current twelve world records in the official Olympic distances.
Novelty and tradition in Hamar
Salt Lake City may be the apogee for many, but to others the first combined World Allround and World Sprint Championships in Hamar are at least equally important. The Allround title has the longest tradition of all titles in Speed Skating, dating back to 1893. Last season Patrick Roest (NED) and Martina Sáblíková (CZE) were crowned Allround king and queen. Norway's Sverre Lunde Pedersen, who missed out on the Allound title due to a crash in the final 10.000m in Amsterdam in 2018, hopes to make the best use of his home advantage. He could grab his career first World Allround title in front of a sold-out Vikingskipet.
Viking Skipet Hamar Olympic Hall during the ISU World Aallround Speed Skating Championships 2017©International Skating Union ISU
For the first time in Speed Skating history, the World Sprint Championships will be held at the same time and venue as the World Allround Championships. Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) and Nao Kodaira (JPN) will defend their 2019 Heerenveen titles.
Youth Olympic Games
The Youth Olympic Games are the pinnacle of junior competitions in sports. Speed Skaters born between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2004 are eligible, with a total of 64 skaters to participate in Lausanne. Quota places per nation are allocated based on results in the 2018-2019 ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating season and the first two Junior World Cup events of the current season in Bjugn (Norway) and Enschede (the Netherlands) in November 2019. At the last Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer 2016, Korea won five of the six gold medals.
Where to Watch
Viewers will be able to watch either via their national broadcaster / channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. A Where to Watch News will be posted with more details on isu.org.
Subscribe to the ISU Newsletter to receive the latest information and the “Where to Watch” news. You can also subscribe to the Skating ISU YouTube Channel to receive notifications when live streams start or new videos are published.
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For further information on ISU Speed Skating visit https://www.isu.org/speed-skating
2019/20 Speed Skating events: