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Short track speed skating seen through long track eyes

Posted by speedskating-online on December 25, 2007 at 10:53 AM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by: Jolanda Abbes

Dutch speed skating reporter

 

After years of only watching long track speed skating on television and at the Thialf in Heerenveen, we finally found ourselves ready to go and try out that other type of speed skating. The kind with all the people on the ice at the same time and the kind where it?s perfectly normal to have one hand down on the ice. We decided to go and see the World Cup short track in Heerenveen last November, and we were in for a surprise!

 

Short track is nothing like long track! It?s a difference like night and day. Short track is hip and happening. With dj?s, music played during races and dramatic music to go with the introduction of the skaters. When you?re used to Kleintje Pils playing ?Het kleine caf? aan de haven?, ?De clown? and ?Heb je even voor mij?, short track is like a culture shock. Instead of spectators going crazy because they are on live television at the long track competitions, people go crazy over wanting to get a T-shirt that is being shot from a T-shirt Fun Gun.

 

And this was only the beginning. Even though both sports are all about moving as fast as possible on ice, the differences are numerous. We were very fortunate to be able to watch a couple of races together with Yves Hamelin, director of the Canadian short track team and proud father of Charles Hamelin, who won a silver medal that day. Sylvie Bourdon had set up a meeting for us with him and he was incredibly patient to answer all our questions that, without a doubt, must have sounded silly to him.

 

One of the most striking differences for us as long track spectators was the way the ice was taken care of. After every race boys and girls kept themselves very busy with watering cans to keep the corners in perfect shape. Another method to keep the corners from crapping up too fast was to constantly move the blocks. But we only discovered this was the reason after Yves explained it to us. The only reason we could think of was that by adjusting the blocks, they were able to vary the distances, which seemed like an incredibly silly thing to do. Still, even though the ice was treated as something holy in some ways, in other ways it wasn?t. When someone fell and left a hole in the ice, it was quickly fixed with some water, ice and a cheese slicer and that was it. Very unlike what happens at a long track competition after the ice has been damaged because of a fall...

 

 

Another very strange thing for us to see was that a skater can still reach the finals after a fall. In fact, when someone falls, the entire race is put to a halt and all skaters get another chance. Should this rule be applied to long track, I?m sure some speed skaters would be thrilled...! Again, Yves enlightened us by explaining that not just any fall qualifies for a rerun: the fall has to take place before the skaters reach the fourth block in the first corner. Ah? that made stuff a lot clearer! =)

 

It must have been strange for Yves to see that we got really excited every time we recognized a speed skater... that was not on the ice competing! It turned out that several familiar faces from long track had decided to come and take a look at the short track competition: Jan Bos, K.C. Boutiette, Beorn Nijenhuis, Gerard Kemkers, Chris Witty. However, thanks to Yves we got to know a lot of the short trackers as well.

 

 

The day ended with a relay, which may well have been one of the most confusing things I have ever seen. 16 skaters on the ice, all moving around in circles. At the same time, however, it was incredibly exciting to see and a great way to end the day. Short track is hip and happening, even when you?re not sure what you?re looking at, and thanks to Yves it didn?t even take us very long to start understanding what was going on on the ice. Short track kicks ass!

 

Thank you Sylvie and Yves for a great day!

Race of the year

Posted by speedskating-online on December 23, 2007 at 5:28 AM Comments comments (6)

Even though rather old, it seemed like a waste to let it go straight into the archives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by: Denny Morrison

Canadian speed skater

Calgary, March 13th 2007
- About eight weeks before Finale, Jamie Ivey and I were out with some friends at Joey Tomatoes. Through the conversation, it was brought up that Jamie had a pair of very old wooden skates hanging in his living room. A few drinks later, we decided that it would make for an amazing race at Finale if we were to skate a 500m against each other on these skates. Since Jamie had three pairs, we figured we could rig up at least two pairs of them and make them skate-able. We also though that Finale would be the perfect place to have such a race and to pay a tribute to the pioneers of the sport!

We signed up for the 500m at Finale, which was on the Tuesday following my Monday afternoon return from the World Single Distances Championships in Salt Lake City. This gave us only half a day to prepare for the race the next morning. We took the skates to the 7:00 public skating session, and after a short and harsh sharpening job, we tested our ankle strength with a few laps around the track. Ivey had the 14" wood, while I only had 12".

 

 

We didn?t think this would make a huge difference, but once on the ice it was definitely noticeable. After successfully using the skates as a conversation piece to coax a couple of good-looking girls into talking to us, things got serious. The 8:40 ?Links? ice session started and after Ivey skated a few laps behind a senior skater on Clap skates, we took turns doing our pre-race tempos. Ivey clocked a 37.69, while I failed to complete a lap with my first effort on my skates. I swapped Ivey and after a lengthy one lap warm-up on them, flew to a 39.1 second tempo. Two broken leather straps, and a split rivet later, we called it a day. We took the blades to the High Performance Olympic Oval Skate Tech, Dustin Johnston, who did an excellent, hand-coordinated job, smoothing out the rocker on my blades to a perfect 8m ( +/- 5m ), with the hockey skate sharpener. He did the same with Ivey?s skates, achieving a very nice 12m rocker ( +/- 5m ). At 10:45 pm me and Jamie finally left the Oval and headed over to James Lewis' house for some quick skate repair. (James Lewis is a friend and teammate of ours who makes high performance carbon fiber boots for Jamie and other High Performance skaters.) He was able to sew the leather strap on one of the skates back together, but had to hammer a new rivet through the clasp on the other skate. We left his house at about 11:30 and decided to leave the final sharpening touches until the morning before the race.

 

The morning of, we use Shapton stones to sharpen our blades to an illustrious polish, and head onto the ice 30 minutes before our race. Wearing the traditional warm-up blazers, overtop of our classic one-colour skin suits, hand-knit toques, (with custom two-toned ?J?, and ?d? lettering woven respectably into the upper portion of each), formal black business dress shoes, with of course ?houtjes? strapped right onto them! To top it off, brand new, 2007 model, Kaenon HardKore high performance racing glasses with large sized G-12 polarized lenses. Skating together with our game faces on, we do two sets of warm-up laps, some light accels, and attempt a roll start and standing starts ? Jamie performing the first ever toe-start on houtjes. We get our arm bands, and relax on the bench as the pair before us lines up to race. Sitting quietly on the bench looking at the ice, our heads intensely jerk up, Erben-style, as the gun fires, starting the race before us. Now focused and poised for the upcoming 500m, we remove our warm-up blazers and make our way to the line.

 


In the ready position, we demonstrate an ultra low tuck F Yu style start position and the gun goes. I immediately have one, two, four slips and finally find my groove. Ivey is fast off of the line, but tops out early at the 50m mark. I attack and sail past Jamie in the first inner. He responds and counter attacks in the second half of the first turn. Mark Wild shows us our 12.15 and 12.77 second openers, while Jamie manages to get close enough on the back stretch to gain a draft ? saving him approximately 1.5 seconds in the final time. My second corner is as sloppy as a Dutch groupie at Caf? Bok, after the World All-rounds, and Jamie pulls ahead. Far far ahead. I try to gain easy speed in the final 100m, but it is too little, too late. Jamie wins the race, skating a new track record, provincial record, national record, and unofficial world record for houtjes skates with a time of 47.55. My time of 48.17 is also good for a provincial record in BC on houtjes.

 

We glide around in our victory lap, and two minutes later make it to the front stretch where a standing ovation and elated crowd cheer us on as we struggle our way to the bench. The houtjes race is bound to become an annual event, and may eventually be given its own time slot for racing at Finale. A victorious day for Jamie Ivey, but more importantly, a special day for the history of the sport of speed skating throughout the world!

 

Related article: Race of the year revisited

 

Fifth World Cup Erfurt

Posted by speedskating-online on December 16, 2007 at 3:21 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by:

Naomi, Dutch speed skating fan

 

Being a speed skating fan is hard work. Of course I have my normal job, but I also have an extra job to provide for all the trips and extras. After working another extra night, it?s Sunday afternoon. I have only slept a few hours, so I install myself in my bed, with the television tuned in to the Dutch television program Studio Sport. Yesterday, the speed skaters were also in Erfurt, skating at the fifth World Cup of the season, but even though speed skating is a regular item on Dutch television, they didn?t broadcast the competition live. I had to settle for the reruns late at night, which wasn?t very satisfying.

 

But today it?s my day! Installed in front of my TV-set, a hot coco on the side, I wait for great things to come. The previous week I have thought about driving over to Erfurt, because it is only 500 km from my home, but I decided to make a wise decision and stay at home. Next year I will plan my trips better, so I can attend most of the competitions in Europe.

 

Finally the sports program starts, but I have to struggle through half an hour of soccer, for which I couldn?t care less. Out of the blue the speed skating starts. I see a very cold and quite empty Gunda Niemann Stirnemann Halle in Erfurt and wonder what it would have been like to attend that competition. But too bad, I can?t linger on the things I don?t have, I want to focus on the things I DO have. And feeling a little bit ill, I am really happy to just sit in my warm house, underneath a fuzzy and warm blanket, and see the Christmas tree glittering.

 

Some people prefer the longer distances over the sprint distances, but I love the fast vibe of the sprint. Okay, I have to admit, if you blink one time with your eyes, the 500m is over, but the speed and the explosion of strength make me a little bit tense and nervous. And I like that! Within a few minutes the ladies? 500m is almost over, and I see how Jenny Wolf and Anni Friesinger present themselves for the last race. The commentator is completely going wild over the fast race of Wolf. The enthusiastic words of Frank Snoeks make the race even more interesting.

 

 

But however nice the competitions of the ladies are, I am more interested in the men. Jan Bos did a good job yesterday, so I really want to see what he can do today. But I have to focus, because Denny Morrison races in the first pair. The 500m is not his best distance, so I don?t worry too much. As long as he races a brilliant 1000m I?m happy. But that is for later. The boarding has to be fixed because Ustanywich fell and cut through the boarding with his blades. On TV it always looks so dramatic when skaters fall, but 9 out of 10 times they are alright, fortunately.

 

I always like to watch skating on television, because the commentators in Holland are usually very good. They refer to times skated earlier in the season and fast forward to the upcoming competitions. And of course, what?s more important in the sprint world than the World Sprint Championships in Heerenveen on January 19 and 20? A few weeks ago, I explained how I managed to get at least one ticket for this event, and was a bit disappointed that I wasn?t able to get tickets for both days. But this morning I received an email from a friend, who has extra tickets. So I am more than thrilled to attend both days of the World Sprints!! So this World Cup is a good warm-up.

 

And as far as importance of competitions goes, I know that some people consider the World Cups to be ?just a few races?. But in the Netherlands, every competition has another competition in it. In Holland there so many great skaters, that for every major event they have certain criteria to decide which skaters get to skate at the different competitions. As a result, the Dutch skaters are competing against each other at the World Cups to earn a ticket to go to the World Championships. But to be honest, I really don?t understand these criteria. Luckily for me, the commentators of the Dutch television have a way of explaining them very clearly.

 

That?s why a race for us Dutch people is always very exciting. But in the 500m the Dutch skaters are not really able to impress, it?s a Korean victory, although Dutch speed skaters Simon Kuipers and Jan Smeekens do very well. Jan Bos doesn?t do as well as yesterday, and Denny Morrison finishes 17th, one place higher than yesterday. That?s an encouragement for the future.

 

The ladies? 1000m proceeds and we see how the number one in the ranking is directed to a blue couch, where they have to sit until somebody beats their time. The disadvantage of watching speed skating at home is that you have to depend on what the cameras show you. But it?s easier to follow the races and great to see some interviews with skaters.

 

The ladies? 1000m is won by Anni Friesinger, but I?m glad it?s time for the real deal: the men?s 1000m. I?m getting nervous again and tension is building in my stomach. Jan Bos will race in the second to last pair and Denny Morrison will race against Shani Davis in the last pair. Davis won yesterday, but being a new born daddy, he might not be too focused anymore and this might be the moment for another World Cup victory for Denny Morrison... I hope so. When it?s time for Jan Bos to skate, my hands are all sweaty. This is it: the grand finale! And it is! He skates a new track record and I jump up: Yes! That?s very good! Now we have to see what Davis and Morrison will do? Talking about being nervous?

 

But what happens? Shani Davis wins his race against Denny Morrison, but it?s not enough to win. It?s Jan Bos who takes the gold. I scream of joy! This is brilliant. I?m getting all flushed and excited. This is good news for the upcoming World Sprints!

 

It?s too bad the sports program is in a rush, because when Jan Bos comes over to the camera to do an interview, the program switches to swimming. That was the skating on Sunday. Now it?s Christmas time and we have to do with some Dutch competitions to decide who can skate where in the second half of the season. It?s time for rehab and focus on my new sign and the website I?m making. Until next time...

9 December, World Cup Heerenveen

Posted by speedskating-online on December 10, 2007 at 6:53 AM Comments comments (3)

 

 

 

 

Written by:

Naomi, Dutch speed skating fan

 

Wow, I just got back from a very impressive day at the Thialf Stadium in Heerenveen. Over there, the fourth World Cup of the season took place and I was lucky enough to be there on Sunday. I must admit: I don?t have a clue who skated what time or who finished in which place, because I was too busy with everything that was going on around me. So what follows is an impression of what it is like to not watch a competition, but be present at one?

Early Sunday morning my alarm pulls me from a nice and warm place. It?s still dark, rain is ticking against my bedroom window and I don?t want to go to work. It is 6.30 am and I wonder what day it is. It must be Sunday. I wonder why my alarm is buzzing so early on a Sunday, but then I find myself sitting up in bed. It?s THE DAY!

Heerenveen, here I come! After two mugs of coffee I find myself on a 2,5 hour journey to the north. The landscape is dull, but I have good company. Somewhere along the road, we almost end up in a ditch, because Caat and I are having so much fun. Our laughter makes driving in a straight line very difficult.

It is still early when we arrive at the Thialf Stadium. I?ve never seen it so empty, but the Ladies? 500m B division has already finished. We are not even the first to arrive. But there is still plenty of room for us and our big signs, so we manage to stand first row.

But like I said before; I don?t have the faintest idea who won the B division, who skated against who? And why is that...? Well? I will explain this. Some people have never been to Heerenveen or any other skating competition before, and let me tell you: it is bloody hard work! Not only the getting up early in the morning, and the trying to secure a good spot, but also the yelling, shouting, clapping, waving and cheering for all the skaters who pass by.

And those are the skaters who are racing on the rink... You also have to keep an eye out for the skaters who are sitting, running, stretching, talking, laughing and just watching others, just a few steps away from you. We are constantly asking ourselves: ?Who?s that??, ?Where is he going??, ?Will he come this way??, ?Can I take a picture of him or her??, ?Can we get an autograph?? Okay, writing this down now makes me sound like a complete lunatic and a bit of a stalker, but trust me, I?m not.

After all the hard work on a massive sign for Italia, it is just very funny to see the entire Italian team doing their warming-up in front of you, and they?re constantly looking up and laughing and pointing at your sign. Chiara Simionato was very impressed with it and even came back to us to sign the ?Forza Italia? side of the sign. Later she competed in the 500m and the 1000m, and both times Caat was holding up the sign. Some camera guy picked this up and a few minutes later, text messages and phone calls where pouring in saying: ?We saw you on TV!?

Well that?s just really nice. The skaters work so hard all year round, and what most people see on television is just the race of the day and sometimes a short interview. But there is so much more. Most skaters are already at the rink way before the first people enter the stadium and are constantly running and stretching. And that?s just fun to watch.

I myself like to watch the Russian ladies doing their warming-up and the Chinese girls running up and down the stairs. Some German guy shoved me aside to enter the stairs, and all the Canadian and American skaters had to sign our neighbours? flags. But I must admit, that?s not the reason why this was an excellent day for me...

Like I said in my first blog entry, I?m a fan of our own Jan Bos, but also of Canadian Denny Morrison. Don?t ask me why, but I just do. And this keeps me busy during a competition. Shouting, clapping, waving AND holding a sign with his name AND taking pictures is really hard work. This time it was too difficult to do it all at the same time, but luckily for me, he found his way off the rink to us. He was kind enough to sign my Denny sign and I took some nice pictures. So it made my day!

He finished second in the 1000m race and also finished second with the Canadian team in the Team Pursuit. I took some really nice pictures. Unfortunately, our Jan Bos didn?t do so well and he didn?t wave at us. But nevertheless it was a good day for a speed skating fan in Heerenveen.

The next step is keeping my promise to Denny Morrison, but more about that in the upcoming blog entry. The next competition is next week in Erfurt, where the sprint elite will fight for some points. I won?t be there, but just watch it on TV. You can?t have a party every weekend, can you?

For more pictures (and a report in dutch:) see http://www.bloemdiscoverslife.web-log.nl/ 

Friday night: 7 December, my home, Holland

Posted by speedskating-online on December 8, 2007 at 4:28 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

 

 

Written by:

Naomi, Dutch speed skating fan

 

Finally: it?s speed skating time! The last couple of weeks there have been some competitions already, but I wasn?t able to watch those the way I usually do. So tonight is the night. The whole speed skating clan has settled in the northern part of Holland for a nice competition for World Cup points. I have to work, and because of the distance I won?t be able to be in Heerenveen on time, so I have to stay at home, while some of my friends are going to be there!

I am a little stressed. In the morning I?m looking at the clock, wishing it was time to go home and watch the live broadcast on the Dutch sports network. My friend Caat has skipped work and has gone to the Thialf without me, and I am very upset about this. I have to work and she is going without me. Of course, I?m missing all the fun while sitting at home.

When she has arrived at the Thialf, she calls me to ask what would be the best place to stand for her and her cousin. I?m jealous. With a cup of hot coco I settle in front of the TV. I am nervous. I don?t know why, but I?m always a little stressed? call it empathy or something. The men?s and women?s 500m?s proceed and several times my phone rings. It?s Caat or her cousin to inform me about what is going on at the Thialf. When it?s time for Denny Morrison to skate his 500m, I watch it on the TV and I hear it through the phone.

He doesn?t do so well because of a bad crossover and as a result he finishes last. That?s not so good, but I?m not the least worried, because over the last couple of weeks it seems like he has a good and a bad race every weekend. So this was the bad one, now only good races can follow.

During the women?s 3000m I get another phone call from Caat. She is ecstatic, because Mr Enrico Fabris has signed her ?Forza Enrico? sign. I am so jealous and try to find out what exactly happened, but she is too excited to remember the details. She sends me a picture of the sign and we discuss how we will get that sign into the plane to Italy. Well, that?s for later?..

Now we feel like two twelve-year-olds who just said ?hi? to the football player in the hallway at high school or something. I can?t believe I?ve missed all the action! I am just hoping we will have such a good time on Sunday, when I will be there too!!

When Sven Kramer has won the 1500m, I am all excited. Denny Morrison has finished second in the 1500m and in a very good race! I really think he will win on Sunday in his 1000m race. At least I hope he does? I already gassed up the car and did some grocery shopping, because we will be there from early in the morning until late at night: I?m ready for it!

At midnight I receive a message from Caat. She has arrived at home safely and sends me some pictures. We talk about her encounter with Enrico Fabris and I don?t think she will get much sleep tonight, because she is still completely hyper about what happened. I?m grinning but deep down I?m so jealous. It better be amazing on Sunday!

I?m a fan and everybody has to know it...?

Posted by speedskating-online on December 4, 2007 at 1:01 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by:

Naomi, Dutch speed skating fan

 

There I am. It?s Friday evening, and I?m fighting the Dutch public transport system in order to get to my friend on time. The speed skaters are in Russia, either Moscow or Kolomna, I?m not sure anymore. But Caat and I are going to do some serious Martha Steward action, to let the world know who our skating idols are.


I?ve left my new job a little bit early and two hours later I meet up with Caat. In the train I am hoping I won?t have such a delay next week, when I want to be in Heerenveen on time.

 

A few hours later we are sitting at the dining table, music is blasting from the stereo, wine is on the table and we are trying to come up with something nice to put on our signs. I have decided to keep mine simple and will just make a sign in the colours of the Canadian flag with the letters spelling ?Canada? on one side and ?Denny? on the other. Caat however really wants to make hers big. Bigger, better and funnier. She has decided to make her sign twice as big as mine, and when I?m already admiring my hard work, she?s still thinking of a good thing to put on hers.

 

I must admit, I?m no Martha Steward. When others are creative with glue and paper and are making really nice things from scratch, I?m trying to avoid those situations. But what the heck, I?m a fan and everybody has to know it. Last year, at the World All-round Championships, I had two Denny signs and I got loads of text messages from my friends at home, watching television, that they either saw me or my signs. So this year I can?t go to the competitions without a sign or something. But due to a lack of time we are not nearly as prepared as we could have been.

 

Sitting at the table, drawing and cutting the paper, we are still thinking of something great to put on the other sign. We decided on ?Forza Italia? but we want something different for the other side of the sign: ?... Enrico ...? The Italian dictionary comes in handy and we are looking for nice words that fit in with the setting of the skating arena and the letters of Mr. Fabris? name. But every time we find some nice Italian words, they mean something unfriendly or stupid, and when we try to translate a nice phrase from Dutch to Italian, it?s either too long or non-pronounceable.

 

But we?re having fun. Sometimes I have to stop with what I?m doing, because I have to laugh so hard. We are imagining that we have found a nice phrase in Dutch and are looking for the translation, but misspell it or read it wrong, and make a sign that?s saying something really offensive or stupid. You have to be careful with those translations... In Dutch a phrase may be a completely acceptable thing to say, but in Italian the same thing could be absolutely not done.

 

 

 

At two o?clock we call it a night. We can?t settle on the sign for Enrico and I?m absolutely dead tired. I?ve finished my letters and I keep reminding myself it?s the thought that counts. I?m not entering a who-can-make-the-most-beautiful-sign competition. It will do just fine. When I fall asleep I?m dreaming of a sold-out Thialf and us standing in the crowd, with our signs cheering for another victory of Denny Morrison. It?s no surprise I have a good night?s sleep. This Sunday I will finally go to Heerenveen again! I just can?t wait to be there, because watching skating on TV is not quite as exciting as seeing it live in the Thialf. Just a few more days?!

Naomi?s skating season 2007

Posted by speedskating-online on December 1, 2007 at 1:43 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

 

Written by:

 Naomi, Dutch speed skating fan

 

Hello everybody,

My name is Naomi and I live in Holland. I?ve loved speed skating since 1997, when I was 15 years old, and I?ve been going to competitions for a couple of years now. Of course, I watch all the races I can?t visit on TV at home. Luckily for me, in Holland most of the races are broadcasted live, so sometimes I?m cheering in the middle of the night! Of course I have an interest in the performances of the Dutch skaters, and especially the ones of Jan Bos, but I also keep an eye out for the others. My special interest goes out to Canadian Denny Morrison and Italian Enrico Fabris, so these guys will probably feature in many of my stories.

Getting tickets

In the summer, when ?normal? people don?t even think about ice or skating and the skaters are sweating over their summer training, I take a look at the upcoming calendar. Which competitions can I visit? How many times do I want to go? And of course, can I afford to go to the competitions I want to?!

In 2006, the World Sprint Championships were at the Thialf stadium in Heerenveen and I really wanted to go, because I love the sprint distances. But unfortunately I was too late to get tickets, because they were sold out really fast. Last year, Thialf Heerenveen hosted the World All-round Championships and I was just in time to get tickets for two out of three days. It wasn?t easy and that made it all the more special I got to go. That competition was the best I?ve ever seen!! This, of course, had a thing or two to do with the performances of Sven Kramer and Ireen W?st and some new world records.

So, when I found out the World Sprint Championships would be in Heerenveen again this season, I was determined to be there, for sure! I made sure to be online the moment the tickets would go on sale, even though I was in Thailand at the moment. No matter what: I wanted to be there!

And there I am. Bangkok, Thailand. My friend Caat, with whom I?m planning on going, is in Bali at the moment, on an elephant or something, so the weight is on my shoulders to get us two tickets. The time difference is six hours, so at three o?clock I enter an internet caf?. I sit myself down at a computer, and in no time my legs are stuck to the plastic chair. This is very uncomfortable, but what the heck, it?s all for a good cause.

It?s one minute past nine in Holland, and the tickets went on sale at nine o? clock. I want to log in on the website of the Thialf Stadium, but the server is down already. Here we go again! Last year, after one hour of clicking, cursing and sweating, I finally had some tickets, but now, even after 1,5 hours still nothing?

My legs are sweaty, my back is sore and my frustration level is sky-high. This is really unbelievable. The site is now just blank and in the meantime I?m chatting with some people on a speed skating forum about how they are doing. Not so good either, but some people have managed to get tickets, so I get my hopes again. Another friend of mine, at home in Holland, is also trying, but we both can?t get through.

I?m already worried about what I?m going to have to tell Caat when I don?t succeed. This is not happening; I really want to go to the World Sprint Championships! For the one-hundred-and-tenth-time I refresh the page, and I almost fall down on the floor, because this time I can log in! Wow, maybe it will work this time. And yes, my effort pays off, because now I am able to get into the system. Euphoria! My heartbeat is up a nudge or 50 when I fill in the number of tickets and press ?okay?.

I?m not even surprised to see that there are only tickets left for the Saturday, although the event is two days. Better one day than no days at all! I finish the reservation and keep my fingers crossed it will be accepted by the system. And that the power in this internet caf? will keep on working. Finally, after two hours of clicking, sweating and biting my fingernails, I?ve succeeded!! I have two tickets for the World Sprint Championships! I text Caat immediately and with a proud smile I take a look around. Victory! I have beaten the system!

Totally exhausted I leave the internet caf? and to celebrate I buy myself an ice cream. In Bangkok it?s 35 degrees Celsius. TukTuk drivers are looking for customers, lady-boys are trying to find a boyfriend and tourists in bikini are looking for the cheapest souvenirs. Ice-skating and winter couldn?t be further away? but soon it will be everything on my mind. Leaving Thailand and going home again doesn?t sound so bad anymore.

Ice in Copenhagen

Posted by speedskating-online on November 27, 2007 at 8:06 AM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by:

Cathrine Grage, Danish speed skater

 

 

There?s ice on the ice rink in Copenhagen (Genforeningspladsen)! The ice is better than it used to be because of the cold weather, better cooling systems and more knowledge about setting up the ice rink. Take a look at the following (Danish) website:

 

http://kulturfoto.dk/2007/11/24/is-paa-genforeningspladsen/

 

World Cup speed skating on television... Anyway!

Posted by speedskating-online on November 26, 2007 at 7:56 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by:

Cathrine Grage, Danish speed skater

 

 

While Canadian television did not broadcast the World Cup races from Salt Lake City and Calgary (as they usually did), Danish television sent a team to Salt Lake City to make a program about speed skating. Moreover, it was the first time ever speed skating got its own program on Danish television!

The program had 23% of the viewers (318.000 people).

 

The main theme of the program was ?for the first time ever a Danish woman will attempt to qualify for the Olympics in speed skating?. It?s interesting to see how the program makers were able to cook down a whole weekend of recordings into a 20-minutes program.

Check out the following link:

 

http://www.dr.dk/Sporten/Oevrig_sport/2007/11/19/144902.htm


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