Netherlands wins two gold medals at 2024 World Speed Skating Championships

Irene Schouten

It was a successful Thursday for Netherlands on the opening day of the 2024 World Speed Skating Championships in Calgary, Alberta. In the two events that have Olympic status, the Netherlands came out on top.

In the Women’s 3000 metres, three-time Olympic gold medalist Irene Schouten won the gold medal. She posted a winning time of 3:57.10. Canada had their first medal of the World Speed Skating Championships as Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa won the silver medal with a time of 3:58.01. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won the bronze medal with a time of 3:58.33. Schouten, who won the gold medal in the women’s 3000 metres, 5000 metres and mass start at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, has now won six gold medals at the World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships.

After the race, I was part of a scrum with Weidemann, a gold medalist in the women’s team pursuit for Canada at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. The silver medal for Weidemann was special after taking a mental restart during the World Cup season. She skipped the World Cup races in Norway and Poland after placing sixth and ninth in the two races to begin the year in Asia. The focus was on the World Speed Skating Championships, and the decision paid off, as she reached the podium.

“I was racing really poorly in the fall,” she stated. “I didn’t feel like I was racing to my full potential. Training was not going great so my coach and I sat down and we made this last minute decision to go home after the first two World Cups and take a bit of a pause and reset. We did that. We (changed) our training program to see if we could jump start the season again, and I am really happy we did that. I am just so much happier skating and I think we found the power that I was missing in the fall a little bit.”

Weidemann explains what those changes were.

“We changed around the sequencing what I was doing,” states Weidemann. “I got off the bike a little bit more than I have in the past, just to let my legs refresh themselves. As skaters we tend do a lot. A lot of volume, a lot of training, all the time. I have done that for over 10 years actually. I didn’t really take a break out of the Olympics. It adds up. I think I was feeling that for the first time in my career. I was deeply exhausted, and it didn’t take very long to get feeling better. I’m really proud we made that decision.”

On the men’s side, Patrick Roest won his fourth World Championship gold medal in placing first in the men’s 5000m. He had a winning time of 6:07.28. Davide Ghiotto of Italy won the silver medal with a time of 6:08.61. Sander Eitrem of Norway won the bronze medal with a time of 6:09.00. Roest defended his gold medal from the 2023 World Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen.



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