Speed Skating

If I didn’t live in the Netherlands, perhaps I would never be aware how good the Dutch was in speed skating. They are, perhaps, the best speed skaters in the world. According to an article, Why Are the Dutch So Good at Speed Skating, almost 70 percent of all possible medals are to collect in speed skating usually goes to the Dutch speed skaters. I love watching them in action too. My favorites Dutch skaters are Ireen Wüst (female) and Sven Kramer (male). Both won the gold medals in Sochi’s Winter Olympics last year. In fact, the Dutch speed skaters team won 23 speed skating medals, while the second successful country, Poland, won 3 speed skating medals.

A famous skating event in the Netherlands is called the Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities race). This race is traditionally held in Friesland province, well-known province for their best speed skaters (Sven Kramer is originally from Friesland).  The race is about 200 km (124.2 miles), and it is open air, follows a route along frozen canals, rivers, and lakes, visiting the eleven historic Frisian cities. It must be a beautiful route, but unfortunately, it has never happened during my period of stay in the Netherlands.

Whenever the winter is cold enough, the whole nation will get (too) excited and hoping the Elfstedentocht race will be held. I believe it was in 2012 when the winter was super duper cold, and the headline of Dutch news in radio, prints and television was mainly about the frozen Friesland’s canals, rivers, and lakes, whether the ice was sufficiently thick for the race. Unfortunately, the ice was not thick enough, thus, the last Elfstedentocht reminds in January 1997.

Thialf Ice Arena

Thialf Ice Arena

Although the Elfstedentocht has never been held during my residency in the Netherlands, it did not stop me to see the live speed skating race. The race was hold indoor in an ice arena called Thialf and of course, it was located in Friesland. I was happy seeing my favorite skaters won the race, but it was predictable and I was sure Ireen and Sven would win!

Have you seen a speed skating race? Do you like skating?

38 replies

  1. Yes Indah, have always been fascinated by this very sport, but have never been able to make it any such event, perhaps that inability to make to events have enhanced the curiosity quotient of mine. You have just ignited the dormant aspiration to see such grand and gala event of speed skating. I am always intrigued by the balance one is able to maintain with the speed one reaches and the control is magnetic, how else one can describe their movement to the ground, they do so with ease and grace. It looks magical to eye and nothing short of getting mesmerized with their amazing skill.

    It was quite interesting to know that occasionally they have the 200 kms when it is super duper cold, it must than be truly fascinating to watch such race. Yes, the monochrome photo are indeed beautiful.
    Hope you had a lovely Sunday.
    😀

  2. Speed skating is something I have seen in TV only, as it hardly exists in India.

    The fluent body motion of the athletes performing this sports is simply awesome, right?

    Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful images 🙂

  3. In Canada ice hockey is the big sport on skates, then figure skating, and after that comes speed skating. Like some of the comments, I have not seen it live (only on TV). Am always fascinated how long the blades are, and of course how fast the skaters go.

    Well deserved recognition to you dear folk in the Netherlands! 🙂

    ~Carl~

    • Hi Carl, oh I love the figure skating – gosh, it always leaves me breathless! I remember watching the Holiday on Ice show when I was little and been dreaming to skate..but of course no winter in Indonesia 😀 Now living in a winter country, I am too scared to start skating 😀
      PS: I will be bit late in blog visits these days, but will try to catch up as the madness from moving preparation is over 🙂

  4. The only ones able to give the Dutch some competition in speed skating is the Norwegians, although the Dutch have been on the throne for a very long time. Great images – and quite unlike your usual photos. 🙂