News and background stories

Patrick Beckert looking forward to ‘final rehearsal’ in Sochi


German speed skater Patrick Beckert had quite a successful 2011/2012 season. Coming in 11th in the final rankings for both the 5000m/10k and the mass start, he just failed the top ten, and together with his teammates he finished third in the men’s Team Pursuit ranking.


By Lisa Solbach


Even though Patrick Beckert is satisfied with the past season in general, there is still one race he cannot easily forget: “Despite a few things that did not work out fine, the last season went well for me. I’m happy with the 8th place in the 5000m race at the World Single Distances Championships and the 10th place at the World All-round Championships. Also, the third place in the men’s Team Pursuit final rankings shows that the German men’s speed skating team is moving forward again. The only thing still bothering me is the fact that I could not skate the 10k at the WSDC in Heerenveen. The German coaches did not want me to compete in this race because they wanted me to conserve my energy for the Team Pursuit. I nevertheless wanted to skate since I had already proved in the 5000m race that I was the best German athlete that day.”


In the meantime a lot has happened. Since Beckert completed the basic training of the Bundeswehr sports promotion section, the extent of his training had to be reduced for a period of eight weeks. Also, he could not resume training as early as usual due to a fifth metacarpal fracture. The healing process is going well, however. The first training camp took him and his teammates to Italy but as a result of the fracture of his hand he was only able to ride his bike on rollers indoors. Meanwhile, Beckert is already cycling outdoors again and catching up on the kilometers he could not ride in Italy. He has also been back on the ice in Inzell and will focus on cycling and inline skating for the rest of the summer training.

While the beginning of the new season is slowly approaching, Beckert has already set his goals: “I’d like to improve my personal bests on lowland rinks and thus finish in the top six at the World Championships in Sochi. I’m really looking forward to these championships in Sochi as the coming Olympic Winter Games will be hosted there. It is something special – almost like a ‘final rehearsal’.” In the long run, the German skater strives for an Olympic medal in a single distance competition and that’s why the preparatory phase for Sochi 2014 has already been launched: “You really feel the Olympics approaching and 90% of your workout plan should be certain by now. You basically exercise like you would during the Olympic year. Nobody can allow themselves experiments anymore – you only change details. I know what I want to achieve in Sochi and my training reflects these goals.” But Beckert is also looking forward to racing in front of a home crowd in both Inzell and his hometown Erfurt next year, where friends, family and the local crowd will cater for that extra incitement.

The 22-year-old performs speed skating with great ambition and self-belief, which, he says, is his strength and his weakness at the same time since he sometimes sets himself quite over-ambitious goals. In fact, Beckert and his siblings Stephanie, Jessica and Pedro are working to accomplish their personal mission called ‘Our Vision - 4× Beckert at the 2018 Olympics’ and he knows that this is not going to be an easy task, since there have never been four siblings in a team at Olympic Winter Games before: “First of all, we want to go there [to Pyeongchang] together, which will already be hard enough. As soon as we have made it to the Games, we can talk about further goals. One step at a time.” Until then, Patrick and Stephanie will keep on supporting each other, both on and off the ice. Since he now skates much faster than his sister, who is currently the most successful German skater in the ladies’ 3000m and 5000m races, they do not exercise together that often anymore. Instead, they support each other mentally while they are touring the planet as part of the World Cup series.

Photo credits:
Photos submitted by Patrick Beckert