|Posted by speedskating-online on February 15, 2008 at 12:57 PM|
Written by Naomi
Dutch speed skating fan
Well dear readers, it?s a good thing I don?t work for radio or television and can manage with the written word, because I have lost my voice. And my mother always used to say ?If you lost something, try to remember where you put it?, but in this case I know exactly where I left it. In Berlin, Germany, at the ice rink. I have been cheering so loudly I completely lost my voice.
But it was worth it. Although it was insane for me to hop to Berlin and back, I am very happy that I did it. On Monday I got back from Baselga and on Friday I took the night bus to Berlin. At the very last minute I found an advertisement for one single ticket for the World All-rounds. And because I enjoyed it so much last year and because this season I?m completely hooked on speed skating, I just had to go. And so I did.
And again, it was so different. I had to sit down during the event! Amazing! We, me and 63 other people, left the hotel just one hour before the competition started and we just walked through the gate, sat down and the races began. It felt so weird. I was all nervous because I thought we wouldn?t make it on time, but of course we did, but unfortunately we missed out on the warm-up. But hey, can?t have it all.
And this time, we were also practically with our noses on the ice. With a bench, where the skaters prepare for their race, right in front of us. So we could see and hear almost everything again. And what new things about life on the ice have I discovered?
And last week I talked about the stuff some coaches utter on the ice while coaching their skaters. A funny thing happened, which I guess everybody missed back home. Canadian Steven Elm was racing and his coach Marcel Lacroix was shouting, while he entered the corner: ?Hips, Hips, Hips!? I can?t remember which distance it was, but this happened a few laps in a row, when all of a sudden the people on the stands started to repeat it. Yelling with 100 people: ?Hips, Hips, Hips!? Lacroix seemed to appreciate it, because he fired up the crowd a bit and the next lap he just didn?t have to do anything, because we all coached Steven Elm through his corner.
And although it was an exhausting weekend, it was also very much worth being there. My favourite speed skater, Denny Morrison, didn?t compete in Baselga, but was there in Berlin and actually did very well. He finished first in the 500m, which was new for me because this was the first time I was present when he won. But I also had some nerve wrecking moments, when he skated the 5k and the 10k. Which on one hand is nice, because then you can enjoy the skating a little bit longer than in the 500m, but on the other hand it?s also killing for your voice, because it means you have to shout for 25 laps in a row. And that?s how I lost my voice.
It was no surprise Sven Kramer won the All-round title, so he was the man of the weekend. A new friend at the ice rink wanted to see if we could spot him at the back, so I agreed to go with her. I knew it would be a mission impossible, but I went with her anyways, because I always have the problem of not being able to leave after the competition is over. I lingered around, just not wanting to face the fact it really was over.
But in this case, it was worth it. Not that we could take a picture of Sven Kramer, but we saw a whole bunch of other skaters. Actually, while waiting for H?vard B?kko to come outside, I saw a Canadian guy getting in a van. I wasn?t sure, but I decided to take a better look, just to be sure. And much to my own surprise it was Denny Morrison, packing his stuff, ready to go. Earlier that day, he finished second in the 1500m and he still had the flowers from that ceremony, which he gave to me. We took a nice picture and after that we even caught Shani Davis outside, who was more than willing to get in the picture with us. Unfortunately, we didn?t see Sven Kramer, but after all this, I was ready to leave and go home.
And there I was, in the bus, holding a bouquet of flowers. I must say, after a bus journey of more than 13 hours, even the flowers looked better than me and I was so relieved to be back home again. That is to say? my body is back home, because I left my voice in Berlin. And it seems I left my thoughts on the ice too, because since I?ve been back, I haven?t really done much else than thinking about this weekend, the previous weekends and the upcoming weekends. Maybe it?s a good thing the speed skating season is almost over, because then I can focus on my other hobbies again!