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"Who knows, some rookie might even be able to outrun one or two experienced skaters..."

Posted by speedskating-online on October 12, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Written by Lisa Solbach, german speed skating fan

Time flies… it really feels like yesterday that I cheered on the athletes at the WSDC in Inzell. But that happened seven months ago. Now it’s October and the new speed skating season finally is about to begin. However, I will sure miss watching Kristina Groves compete against the others on the ice. When I heard of her retirement I couldn’t believe it at first. But she achieved so much in professional sports and I’m sure she will enthusiastically apply herself to her new task – whatever that might be.

But there are many more questions to be asked at the beginning of this coming season. For example, will Christine Nesbitt defy the myth of the seven-year itch? The 2011/2012 season will be her 7th year on Canada’s national team and she has already achieved a lot! To name but a few of her successes, she is an Olympic gold medalist and 2010/2011 world champion in the 1500m. I believe that she will be able to prove the myth wrong and return to the rink as successful as always.

And what about Lucas Makowsky? In Inzell, he won his first individual medal at the WSDC in the 1500m race. It would be incredibly great to finally see him win a gold medal at the World All-round Championships in Moscow or the World Single Distances Championships in Heerenveen. I know he can do it and it’s about time he reaped the fruits of his labour, isn’t it?

There might also be some well-known duels again this winter. The world champion 2011/2012 in the 3000m and 5000m will probably either be Martina Sablikova or Stephanie Beckert again, since they were already pretty close during the last season. And then there is Shani Davis vs. Håvard Bøkko – Davis won the 1500m World Cup series but Bøkko defeated him at the WSDC and became world champion. It will be interesting and exciting to see whether those duels will take place again or if there will be new challengers.

I’m also wondering whether the most successful athletes of the past season will be as successful as last year and whether those who weren’t really on top of their performance level last season, will be able to do better this time. No matter what, I can’t wait to see all skaters give their best on the ice again. Seeing some new faces on the rinks is also something I’m looking forward to. Who knows, some rookie might even be able to outrun one or two experienced skaters…

It’s not like I don’t like summer but every year I look forward to the first snow and the skating rinks opening again, and without speed skating something is just missing. Watching the competitions on TV is great but there is nothing like being part of the entourage. Cheering on the athletes in a rink full of speed skating fans from all over the world is simply amazing and it never gets boring. That’s why I can’t wait to drive up to the Thialf in Heerenveen in December in order to experience a day full of fun, close races, tight skinsuits, and fingers crossed.

Good luck to all athletes and see you in Heerenveen for some speed skating action!

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