|Posted on October 30, 2011 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
After a long summer completly away from speed skating, the new season is about to arrive! I have been busy with my job and my studies, aswell as my overall health and fitness. During summerice, some times came to me via Facebook or Twitter but it didn't say much to me yet.
But now things have changed. The past few weeks, the numerous trainingcamps across the globe have been rounded up with some races and the new season best times are waking me abruptly from my summer sleep. The new season is here!
The first competition of the season for me, has been the IJsselcup 2011 in the newly roofed icerink in Deventer, the Netherlands. As I had never been to that icerink, I decided on a sunny saturday to head out east and see what it was about. I had to get back into the race again and was a bit rusty. But it was nice to hear the clap clap of the skates again and soon I was in my element as usual.
the logo of the IJsselcup 2011
It was a short afternoon with only a 500m for ladies & men, a 1.000m for ladies and the 1.500m for men. It was also my first time for the teamsprint. I think this is an exciting race but at the Deventer Icerink, it was very difficult to follow as it was hard to see the whole track and see the difference between the time. However, I do think this is an element in speedskating with high potential. I can't wait to see team Japan battling against team Korea in the Team Sprint!
The pictures of the IJsselcup can be found here: IJsselcup2011
With the page for the pictures of the IJsselcup, I also had to do some work on the website and mark the past events as last year's events and make some preparations for the new season. And this was quite difficult. Not the updates on the website, but the decisions to be made regarding the new season. Where to go? How much will it costs? How will I get there and what will it bring me? All the answers to these questions, had made me take a very hard decision. I will not go to Heerenveen as usual. Instead,. I have decided to go to as much regional competions as possible, together with the biggest events of the calendar. I have plans to go to European Allround in Budapest, World Sprints in Calgary, World Allrounds in Moskou and World Cup Finals in Berlin. Of course I'd also love to go to the World Single Distance Championships in Heerenveen, but haven't decided on that one yet.
A new kind of sport?
This means, I will not be going to the Dutch Distance Championships, the KPN NK Afstanden, in Heerenveen next week, neither will I be going for three whole days to the World Cup in Heerenveen. And this feels weird. Knowing that next week the Thialf in Heerenveen will be the place to be for people who love speed skating in the Netherlands and I won't be there. To ease this pain a little and make things easier for myself and get my mind of off things, I had decided yesterday to go to my first Marathon ever. I once or twice saw it on tv and of course I check the results online when I have the change, but I had never actually been to a competition to see it live. I wanted to though, but the thing that held me back all the time, was that I did not know the game and most of the people. So for me it's almost like a new kind of sport!
Marathon Cup 3 in Utrecht, the Netherlands
But thanks to a tweet on friday night, I realized the next marathon would be not that far away and as I did not have anything else to do, I decided to just go. There's a first time for everything, isn't there. And I'm very glad I went to Utrecht for the Marathon Cup 3, because it was very entertaining to watch! First there were the men of the first division and I was a little bit overwhelmed by all the colourfull outfits and to figure out who skated with whom and who was actually in the lead. I think I even had question marks on my face, when there were still 10 laps to go, but almost everybody stopped racing.... I felt like such a noob that I didn't know why. (later it turned out the people who stopped where dubbled and the ones with a lap ahead, were able to skate to the finish amongst them)
Icerink "de Vechtsebanen" in Utrecht by night
Topdivisie Men & Woman
After this first competition, I felt I was getting the hang of it and started to enjoy it a little bit more. The Ladies of the Topdivision came on the ice, and I actually knew quite a few of them. Either by name or by face or by team. It was fun to see the girls race and I think my respect for them grew with every lap. Especially the difference in pace and staying afloat in such a large pack, can't be easy! Powerhouses! Mireille Reitsma won the race.
Mireille Reitsma wins the Marathon Cup 3 in Utrecht
After the ladies, the men took the ice again and now the names and faces were even more familair to me. I actually said to myself: see that's not all that different! I think the race was very excited. There was a big crowd by now and the icerink was full. The men put up quite the show and during the race I was able to take some pretty decent pictures. It was still difficult though to choose what moment to capture and not end up with a bunch of people together. Before the race was even finished I said to myself: I should do this again!
Jorrit Bergsma wins, before Crispijn Ariëns & Jan-Maarten Heideman
All the pictures of KPN Marathon Cup 3 in Utrecht can be found here: Marathon Cup3
Season 2011- 2012
Having thought that, I might give you the full scedule for the next season:
Marathon Cup 4
Junior World Cup Erfurt
Marathon Cup 7
Utrecht City Bokaal 2012
European Allround Budapest 2012
WK Sprint Calgary 2012
World Allround Moskou 2012
World Cup Final Berlin
Of course, this schedule is not set in stone and I might skip a few competitions are add a few here or there, depending on what I feel like during the season. We'll see! Just like the rest of you, I'm super excited for the new season to finally begin and for the competitions ahead of us!
|Posted on March 16, 2011 at 5:17 PM||comments (0)|
Wednesday 16th March 2011, the speedskating season 2010-2011 is now over.
About a year ago, I made reservations for a holiday house in Inzell, I purchased tickets and was wondering what the post-olympic season would bring me. Now, a year later, my eyes are wondering of to the calendar for next season, but I'm still recovering from this season.
I managed to visit 15 differant events, and in total visited 31 days of competitions, 6 national competions, 9 international of which 4 abroad. I have travelled to Berlin, Poland, Finland and South-Germany.
I posted over 3.500 photos online on this site, and probably shot more than ten times the amount of images, bringing the total to 333 giga bytes on my harddrive.
And now...? All that is left is to tell you something about the last & final competition of this season and then it's really done.. over... the end. I'm always a little melancholic about this moment. When you live and breath nothing else but speed skating for 5 intens month, there is a huge big black hole waiting for you when spring arrived. And spring has arrived, in all it's glory.
After the minus 24 degrees in Finland, it was already strange to see the daffodills peaking their head out of fresh green grass in front of my house, but in Inzell there was still some snow left. The hills were green but the top of the mountains was still covered in snow. After an 8 hour drive to the south of germany, we immediatly visited the new icerink and I was very excited to see the new oval. So bright and so much glass. I did worry a little bit about the strange reflections of light on the ice, but it was great to be there.
Walking/climbing around Inzell (Germany)
The next day, we went for a nice walk in the sun with the dogs, only we took a wrong turn and managed to climb over icy roads on to a steep hill. When we were climbing for 2 hours straight, we decided to head back as we realized we were not on the easy even path and it would take another two hours to get back. I wanted to visit the training in the afternoon, but unfortunatly, the rink was closed for spectators. Workmen were still carrying around metal constructions and dirt was flying around everywhere. We found an open door and managed to take a few sneak peaks of the oval.
From the commentators booth
We went back to the village were we enjoyed some coffee with the traditional 'kuche' thats german for cake or pie or whatever delicious name you want to give it. As we still had some time to spear, as we couldn't watch the icetraining, we decided to head to Bad Reichenhall, another village, not far from Inzell where we ended up in some Carnaval festivities. When the sun started to set, we headed back to our holiday home because the next morning we would have a long day, as we decided to go to Salzburg, which is only 30 kilometers away from Inzell.
View on the Dom of Salzburg from the hill
Salzburg, in Austria, was a pleasant surprise. I was in control of the doggies, two cocker spaniels, and had all the time in the world, to just look around and soak up the athmosphere in the city. At the central square in front of the Dome, I had a nice chat with two students psychology at the University and enjoyed the warm and sunny weather. The dogs were not allowed into the castle at the top of the city, so we decided to stay together and walk in the park at the hill. From here we had some lovely views over the city and I think this was even nicer than the museum and the castle.
View on Salzburg and the castle from the hills
Me and the dogs, left: Taffie, right: Billie (both English cocker spaniels)
I really had a good time in Salzburg and I can definatly see it's attraction to, for example, Anni Friesinger who was brought up in Inzell but now also lives in Salzburg. It's a bigger city but feels really down to earth and is not over touristic but still has some nice features which makes it worth visiting. Off course, it was not the tourist season but there were enough Americans and Irish to buy souveniers!
That night, I was a little anxious. Okey, all the walking in the sun and the kaffee mit kuche, is really nice and the Salzburg trip was wonderfull, but now it was really time for some speedskating! I mean, that was the reason we were there, wasn't it?! We first went to visit the Kia Speed Skating academy which was now officially opened. I'm really curious who will train and live there the next couple of month and I think it's such a simple but groundbreaking concept. For more info, visit the site: www.speedskatingacademy.com
Me with World Record Holder in the 500 meter: Canadian Jeremy Wotherspoon
Where waiting outside, Jeremy Wotherspoon, sprint coach at the academy walked by, and as he is one of my biggest heroes in Speed Skating, I had to have a little photo together. As a photographer, at the icerink, I continously run into all the athletes, but every now and then, the little 'fan' inside me, comes out and results in these pictures. I really hope to run into Jer a couple more times as he will continue to be active in the speed skating world.
After this, is was finally time to go to the icerink where the opening ceremony had already begun. It turned out, we didn't miss much, as it was a whole bunch of speeches and gratitudes from German officials and ISU representatives. The traditional dances by Bayern locals was fun though.
The World Single Distance Championships 2011 in Inzell at the new Max Aicher Arena started with the 3.000meter for Ladies, which I explained to my mother, would probably be won by Martina Sablikova, and although Ireen Wust, raced a good race, this wouldn't be her day as this wasn't her best distance. Boy, was I wrong! And boy, I was happy to be wrong. Dutch girl Ireen Wust won the race and the whole dutch crowd (7.500 people) went nuts.
Ireen Wust, racing a phenomenal 3k
After this race, the 1.500m event for Men was set. One of my favorite distances and I was very happy with the good race of Canadian Lucas Makowsky. A little bit disappointed that Denny Morrison didn't do so well, but this fact was made up by the great bronze medal for Lucas. When the last race between Shani Davis and Norwegian Havard Bokko was down to the last lap, the whole arena almost exploded. The whole south corner was filled with 3.500 Norwegian fans, the rest of the seats and stands were filled with Dutch skating enthousiastics. When Havard Bokko crossed the finish line first, I think everybody was releaved: finally! He has his grand prize. So happy for Havard.
Havard Bokko on his victory lap after just winning the world title in the 1.500m event
Day 2 of the World Single Distance Championships didn't go so well for me. Stomach ache and naucious waves made me run outside more than photograph the event. Especially when the nice lady next to me, decided it was time to drink a nice cup of warm milk, I was sick to my stomach. The smell! Urgh. However, a deserved gold medal for Shani Davis, another gold for Ireen Wust and the great exciting race of Bob de Jong in the 5.000 meter, made it worth while to stick around.
Bob de Jong listens to the Dutch National Anthem, while Russian Ivan Skobrev is shocked by the fact they put up the French flag for him.
Day 3 would be a long day. The 1.000 meter event for ladies was something to look forward to, but the 10k for men and the 5k for ladies was something to dread. Both longest distances in one day... we were doing some serious time calcullations and my parents went back to the village to walk with the dogs and come back in time for the last races, while I stayed at the icerink and actually saw some nice races. I had good compagny at the icerink and before we knew it, the final pairs of the 10k were already there and Bob de Jong put up a great show and an exciting race. Faster and faster, resulting in the fastest 10k skated in Europe, beating Sven Kramer's old Thialf time.
Christine Nesbitt (CAN) earns her well deserved gold medal in the 1.000m ladies event
Bob de Jong (NED) estatic with his race and another gold in the 10k
After all these races, the day wasn't over yet and the ladies put up quite a show, which made me watch even the 5.000 meter for ladies. Normally the event I like the least, but when you see Martina Sablikova from Czech, skate the way she does, it's worth to stick around. After the silver in the 3k, which was surprisingly won by Ireen Wust, she now claimed the gold, followed by Germans Stefanie Beckert and even Claudia Pechstein got back on the podium again.
Martina Sablikova carries around the Czech flag after winning the 5k
A little bit dazzeled by such a long day and so much skating and great moments, we returned to our little appartment. The next day, I woke up with a knob in my stomach. The last and final day of the World Single Distance Championships and also the last and final day of a great season. More than a year, I had been looking forward to the "WK Afstanden in Inzell" and now it was already almost over.
We went to the icerink for the 500 meter Ladies and Men and the Team Pursuit. After the long distances yesterday, it was a little bit surprising to see the skaters pass by in such high speeds as they did in the 500 meter events. Especially the men had some troubles with the last corners, maybe the radius is tighter or the ice was not good in the last outher corner, but we saw a few skaters fall unfortunatly. When this happens, everybody is in shock, but when it happens pair after pair, you are starting the dread the last corner and almost expect somebody to fall.
Yuya Oikawa (JPN) completly dissapears under the cushions
Luckily, many skaters did manage to keep skating and we withnessed some great races. Dutch boy Jan Smeekens was in the lead with 1 hundreth of a second after the first 500m and German lady of sprint, Jenny Wolf claimed her gold after two solid races in Inzell. The second 500m for men was phenomenal, with a great race by good old Italian Ermanno Ioriatti, sensational racing by Russian Dmitry Lobkov and a spectaculair race and time of 34,32 by Korean Kyou-Hyuk Lee. Four times World Sprint Champion Lee and now also the king in the 500 meter.
Dmitry Lobkov (RUS)
Kyou-Hyuk Lee from Korea won, followed by Japanese Skater Joji Kato, who was the world champion the last time in 2005 in Inzell and the bronze was claimed by dutch boy Jan Smeekens, which is quite a surprise, but well deserves as I might say, being dutch and all.
Koreans Kyou-Hyuk Lee celebrating his victory and great time
After these exciting races, it was time for the team pursuit. The change between the differant events, took some time and I was a little bit disappointed (to read later) that this time was not used to have an official good bye for Inzell's home girl Anni Friesinger, who retired after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
But soon, the Team Pursuit ladies started with top favorites Canada to start first. Cindy Klassen, Brittany Schussler and Christine Nesbitt showed they could also do it without team-member Kristina Groves and set the fastest time of the day. It's such a nice view to watch those woman skate in sync and completly rely on each other after years and years of training together and team building. One by one, the Germans, the Russians, the Japanese and also the Dutch, couldn't crack the time set by the Canadians, which resulted in the gold medal for team Canada!!
Brittany Schussler, Christine Nesbitt and Cindy Klassen racing as Team Canada
In the men's event, the Dutch team was first out and had to set a time for the other teams to crack. This wasn't succesfull as the American Dream Team with Shani Davis, Trevor Marsicano and Jonathan Kuck showed how it was done best. I had my hopes up for team Canada, and was wishing for a double sweep in both the ladies and the men's team pursuit, but this wish didn't come true, as the Canadian team by Lucas Makowsky, Mathieu Giroux and Denny Morrison failed in the last lap, after being ahead of the Americans time the whole race. I think a small curse escaped from my lips after they crossed the finish, but even I couldn't ignore the great racing by Team USA.
Team USA: Jonathan Kuck, Trevor Marsicano and Shani Davis racing for gold.
After the last two victory ceremonies for the Team Pursuit, we went outside. People were lingering around the oval, finishing their last beer, taking down banners and flags and just not wanting to go home. For me, this was the same. Just chatting with some people, hanging around the main entrance, just not wanting this season to be over. Waiting for one more moment. I was hoping to see my all time hero in speed skating, Jan Bos, one more time to say good bye, as he retired after the World Cup Final in Heerenveen, but I didn't see him unfortunatly.
Luckily for me, the Canadian Team made up for this, as they just came out together. The winnars of the Olympic gold medal in the men's Team Pursuit, Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky and Denny Morrison, raced for the first time together after their golden race in Vancouver 2010. This was the perfect opportunaty for me, for a nice photo with the golden team.
Denny Morrison, me, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux
And that was that... went home, back to the Netherlands and back to normall every day life. No more speedskating to look forward to, for the next 7 months. No more competitions to watch or photograph, no more events to travel to, news items to check, websites to update or anything like that. Season 2010-2011 is a wrap. For me, it's my most succesfull season ever, as I made a few perfect pictures, sold a few good images and overall was more consistant in photo quality and professionality. Now it's time to focus on my study and work again. Bye bye for now, hope to see you again next season.. Can't wait!!
|Posted on March 2, 2011 at 2:48 PM||comments (1)|
When going on a trip or holiday, we always wonder what the weather would be like. It’s always difficult to imagine a place where you have never been before, with weather conditions so different from the place where you live yourself. This summer, fighting 48 degrees Celsius in Morocco was not easy for me and made me vow never to do that again. I never thought at that moment I would find myself on the other end of the Celsius scale.
A week before my departure to Finland, the temperatures in Seinäjoki, were averaging around-25 to -30 degrees Celsius. Images and reports came to me about multiple layers of clothes and heaps and heaps of snow. How was I going to survive such harsh conditions? Standing at the edge of the ice-rink, for hours and hours with temperatures of -30? I couldn’t imagine and I had some doubt whether this was such a good idea after all.
But there I was, on a plane to Finland! I first spent the whole day in the train to Bremen,where I arrived too late to go sightseeing, and just had enough time for a couple of hours of sleep. The first tram to the airport was packed with early birds like me and before most people would even have had their breakfast, I already was in Finland. Blue skies, bright sunlight and everything covered in snow. I flew to Tampere and took the train to Seinäjoki. The train was a little delayed and while standing on the platform waiting for it, I could feel the cold biting through my jeans, making my legs feel numb but tingly.
Tampere trainstation, waiting for the train in -24 degrees
The train was a pleasant surprise, nice seats, electricity and big windows to look out from and see the landscape pass by at an impeccable speed. Pine trees, covered in snow; houses, covered in snow and plain nothingness, covered in snow. 36 hours after I left my home, I finally arrived in Seinäjoki. I left my luggage at the hotel and walked to the hotel where the organization comity would be based. I was able to pick up my media accreditation and was warmly welcomed by the ladies of OC.
View from the train
My media accreditation
The first two days in Seinäjoki I didn’t do too much. Just have some coffee and meet up with a local friend, who drove me around Seinäjoki. I went to the morning practice at the ice-rink on Thursday and by then, temperatures rose to only -16 degrees. It was bright and sunny and you could feel the excitement of the young competitors. It was difficult to see that excitement as most skaters were covered in facemasks, ski glasses and multiple layers of hats, gloves, coats and jackets.
Seinäjoki townhall and bell tower
After an hour the rink was already empty and I continued my day, drinking coffee and just relaxing. But on Friday it was finally time for the competition! The opening ceremony was scheduled at noon, so I went to the ice-rink a little bit earlier to meet the people at the media office and shoot some images of the rink and surrounding. I was surprised about the turn-up for the event. Young children were giving time of from school before their ski-holiday to witness the event and it was promising to see such warm support from the local community.
Face mask to protect nose and cheeks
After the introduction and official opening, the event started at 12.30 pm with the first races. By then, temperatures were only -9 degrees, but because of snowfall last night, the rink was covered with snow and the wind blew fresh snow on the track. This caused for some harsh conditions and some bad corners by some of the skaters, as they found their skate stuck in a pile of snow.
Kazakhstan girl Yekaterina Aidova won the 500m event and with the boys, it was Korean Sung-KyuKim who took the gold in a time of 36,81. With 140 competitors from 21 countries, the 500m especially took a while and by the time the ladies 1.500m started, the day was already half way over.
Pien Keulstra racing in the 1.500m, breaking the trackrecord
But Czech girl Karolina Erbanova managed to set a new track record in the 1.500m and found herself at the top of the ranking for the Allround classification after day 1. It was also nice to have Dutch girl Pien Keulstra on the podium who was the first to break the old track record, set by Ireen Wust during the last World Juniors in Seinäjoki, back in 2005.
1.500m Podium Ladies: 1. Karolina Erbanova (CZE), 2. Pien Keulstra (NED), 3. Hege Bokko (NOR)
By the time the first day for the girls was over, the boys still had to race the 3.000m and it was already dark outside. Competition ended around 8 pm and by that time, I was tired and almost relived the day was over. The Norwegians made a sweep in the 3.000m and the whole podium was colored bright red by Sverre Lunde Pedersen, Kristian Fredriksen and Simen Spieler Nilsen. This would not be the last time they were on the podium, as the build a solid base for the overall classification.
I went back to the hotel for some dinner and work on the pictures. A little bit too late I went to bed, but competition didn’t start until 11 am on Saturday so I had enough time to sleep. When I woke up on Saturday, I was a little bit disappointed to see such grey skies over Seinäjoki. The last couple of days, there was sunshine all over the place, but now, the clouds moved in. But this also implicated, that temperatures were rising. It was only -2 degrees Celsius when I went to the ice rink and it turned out, these were perfect conditions for shooting pictures. The ice was now clean and looked fresh and the light turned out to be very even and I’m very happy with the way my pictures turned out that day.
Tommi Pulli (FIN) racing 500m men
We had another 500m for boys, which was also won by Koreans Sung-Kyu Kim and we continued the allround tournament with the 1.000m for girls. Erbanova showed she was the strongest and managed to grab the gold in this distance as well, giving her a solid 13 second head start for the final distance. The boys skated a 1.500m were Sverre Lunde Pedersen from Norway demonstrated his diversity and took another gold medal. With still 1 distance to go for both boys and girls, it was very clear who would become the next Junior World Champion, but there was still an interesting battle for the silver and bronze.
3.000m Ladies, Dutch Lotte van Beek & Pien Keulstra celebrate their good races
The girls had an exciting finale, were Dutch girls Lotte van Beek and Pien Keulstra managed to step up on the allround podium with an aggressive 3.000m. The distance was won by Korean’s Do-Yeong Park, followed by fellow Korean Bo-Reum Kim and Dutch girl Pien Keulstra. It’s encouraging for the future to see that two Korean girls were on the podium at the 3.000m. The men’s final took place in the dark again, not the best conditions to skate or to take pictures. The Norwegians repeated their performance and took the medals home, writing history while doing so, as they are the first Norwegians to make a full sweep in the allround classification.
Final allround classification: 1. Karolina Erbanova (CZE), 2. Pien Keulstra (NED), 3. Lotte van Beek (NED)
With these distances finished, it was time for the allround price giving ceremony, which was nice to shoot pictures of, as the kids involved were overwhelmed with excitement and pride. Although the circumstances for taking pictures were not perfect, I think I managed well enough to capture these special moments for these young skaters. I congratulate Karolina Erbanova and Sverre Lunde Pedersen with their junior world title!
The Norwegian Sweep: 1. Sverre Lunde Pedersen, 2. Simen Spieler Nilsen, 3. Kristian Reistad Fredriksen
After the race day was over, I still had some work to do, as the deadline for newspapers was approaching. I worked hard on getting the pictures ready in time, and I’m very pleased that Norwegian newspaper “Bergens Tidende” has covered the story of the Junior World Championships and used a few of my pictures.
500m Ladies: Alexandra Ianculescu (CAN) at the starting line
The next day, I was very excited as it was getting a little bit sunnier and it was only -1 when I left the hotel. Perfect day to watch some ice speed skating and make some pictures! The 500m ladies was scheduled and I managed to try some new things and shoot some nice images. Golden girl Karolina Erbanova showed she was on a winning streak and grabbed the overall gold, before Yekaterina Aidova from Kazachstan and Hyun-Yung Kim from Korea. The 1.000m for boys was very exciting with good racing by the young skaters. Korean Sung-Kyu Lee showed he is a sprinting force to reckon with for the future and took the gold. Local Seinäjoki boy, Tommi Pulli was fired on by the home crowd and managed to claim the silver. First medal for the Dutch boys was secured by Maurice Vriend, who took the bronze.
Podium 1.000m Men: 1. Sung-Kyu Lee (KOR), 2. Tommi Pulli (FIN), 3. Maurice Vriend (NED)
After these distances, groups of young skaters took the ice and everywhere, small trains of skaters were cruising through tight corners and relaxing on the straight. The Team Pursuit was about to begin with 11 lady teams and 12 men teams for qualification. First and second time ranking would be racing the final, for gold and silver later that day, third and fourth would be racing for bronze.
Team Korea racing the qualification team pursuit
Some teams were struggling to keep it together and benefit from each other, other teams looked like they have been doing this for years and looked like a solid machine, making things run smooth as clockwork. At the end of qualification, there were 4 teams left with the ladies. Korea and Japan would fight for silver and gold, while Canada and USA would decide who would get the bronze. The Dutch team (third time) was disqualified for crossing the line to the warm-up lane and was deleted from the results.
Team Canada wins bronze with Kali Christ, Kate Hanly and Brianne Tutt
Frank Hermans, Thomas Krol and Maurice Vriend racing the final
The boys from Russia would race against Japan, to see who would get the bronze, while the Norwegians would take on the Dutch team for silver and gold. The Norwegians were clearly the favorites as the team members finished 1, 2 and 3 in the allround classification and showed their strength in the qualification which they won convincingly. However, in the final it would demonstrate that this is not enough and you have to keep it together until the finish line. Halfway during the final race between Norway and Netherlands, the Norwegian team had a 1.5 second lead and was skating closely together when the Dutch team started to fall back and was struggling to keep up the pace. Right at this moment, one of the Norwegians fell and their hopes for gold were gone. The Dutch team was able to easily cruise to the gold and the disappointment in the Norwegian camp was enormous. The contrast between these emotions couldn’t have been bigger. On one side, there was the orange brigade, smiling and relieved they managed to claim a world title after all, on the other side was the disappointment and disbelief of the red squat. It’s no wonder, there are not only happy faces on the podium…
Deception after the race
Gold for the dutch boys, Maurice Vriend, Thomas Krol and Frank Hermans
After the price giving ceremony, the rink soon turned empty, as everybody was heading back to the hotel and get ready for the return journey home. I travelled back on Monday and was glad to be back home, where I fell asleep with a huge grin on my face, because I have had a wonderful trip. I have met so many nice and interesting people. The people of Seinäjoki and the organization comity have been more than nice to me, making me feel very welcome and at home. The competition was very exciting and showed passion for skating at a young age. I would like to invite you to go through the different pages with pictures, as well as the slideshow with all the pictures from the event..
In case any of the skaters, teammembers or family would like to receive any of the pictures, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
|Posted on December 10, 2010 at 4:32 PM||comments (0)|
After spending time in Germany and Poland, it was nice to be back home again. Nothing better than your own bed and your own stuff around you. However, although the ISU caravan carried onwards to Changchun in China, this didn't mean there was no speedskating going on for me. Owh no! I think this was one of the busiest weekends ever! On friday and saturday evening the Eindhoven Trofee in Eindhoven, on sunday morning the Junior Country match in Breda and sunday night travelling to Haarlem for the Kraantje Lek Tournament.
This all must sound very easy, for people who are used to major distances within their country, but let me tell you this, snow, ice and minus 8 degrees and then travelling for a few kilomters is not easy!
On friday I faced fridayevening traffic for a job interview and the Eindhoven Trofee. I had never been to the icerink in Eindhoven, but I was plesantly surprised by the icerink. It was very cold but there was hardly any wind. Quickly I changed from my highheels into my snowjacket and I was ready for the new event.
The Icerink in Eindhoven
The Eindhoven Trofee used the be a regional competition, organized by the southern skating unions of the Netherlands, but these days, it had become more and more a selection for the dutch allround championship right after christmas. So besides the Eindhoven Trophy, there was something at stake! After day one, it was very clear that TVM skater Jan Blokhuijsen would go home with this Trophy, as he won both the 500 meter event and the 5.000 meter event.
Ralph de Haan skating the 500 meter
Tossa Heesen from the Overijssel district skating in the 1.500 meter event
Koen Verweij from Team Hofmeijer won the 1.500 meter
Jan Blokhuijsen from TVM skating the last meters in the 5.000 meter
I had fun at the event and went home to work on the pictures and wait for the livestream on internet for the World Cup in Changchun, however, as this would only start at 5 am and I had already finished with all the photos of day 1, I didn't stay up and went to bed. And here I made a small mistake. After 3 hours of sleep, I had to wake up again, because of another appointment to photograph at the Windmills of Kinderdijk in the snow. We got their right in time and managed to get some nice shots, before a new snowblizzard hit the country. By the time I got home, I could barely keep my eyes open.
Windmills in the snow at Kinderdijk- the Netherlands
After a very short nap, it was time again to go to Eindhoven for the second day of the Eindhoven Trofee. Weather conditions didn't improve much at all and I was already dreading the travel back home, but first the 1.500 meter and the 3.000 meter. I think Koen Verweij didn't want Jan Blokhuijsen to go home with the Trophy and 4 wins, so he did his outmost best to win the 1.500m, which he managed. This was pretty exciting, but the 3k was also won by Jan Blokhuijsen, making the podium pictures a little bit boring as the same people on the steps almost every time.
Jan Blokhuijsen with his Eindhoven Trophy
Driving home in the snowblizzard was not much fun, but we managed to get home safe and sound. I promised myself not to stay up too long and managed to have the pictures of the 1.500 meter up before midnight. The last pictures just had to wait. I slept a couple of hours, before it was time again to travel to Breda for the Junior Country match between Netherlands and Norway. Germany was supposed to come aswell, but they were not able to make it, because of the bad weather conditions. The regional selection stepped in so the event had enough competitors. I must honoustly admit, I did not know a lot of the skaters participating in the event, maybe a few by name, but this didn't make it less fun to be there.
Henrik Fagerli Rukke from Norway, 1.000m Boys Junior C
Anne Gulbrandsen, Norway, skating 1.000m Girls Junior B
Kai Verbij from the Netherlands, 3.000 meter Boys Junior B
The young C and B juniors of Netherlands and Norway really did their outmost best and although the dutch team was stronger than the norwegians, they never gave up and kept fighting for a good race. The flower ceremony was also fun to watch, as all the kids seemed very shy to get on the podium, but I guess some of them better get used to it!
The whole Dutch Team
I had the afternoon of, before I wanted to travel to Haarlem and had some much needed time to recharge the batteries. Both of the camera as my own! I was by now already so tired, but I managed to stay awake, finish the pictures from Eindhoven and be ready in time to travel to Haarlem. By now, the roads were clear again and driving up north went smootly. Arriving in Haarlem gave me the shock of my life. What a messy terrible orange light! And so little of it. I managed to take some pretty good photographs in Eindhoven and Breda, but this would be utterly terrible! All pictures turned out bright orange and most of them unsharp. Quit the drama if you come to photograph.
Bo van der Werff skating the 3.000 meter
I went home before the flower ceremony as I could barely keep my eyes open and was glad to be back home. I hit my bed and on monday morning it turned out why I was so tired: the flu has hit me ! Archh... the last few days have been very uncomfortable with sneezing, coughing and mostly sleeping. I did manage to have all the pictures up from all three events by monday night, but didn't feel like writting a blog. Now that I'm feeling slightly better again, I thought to make one after all.
I sure hope this feeling ill will vanish before tomorrow evening, as I was planning on going to the Utrecht City Bokaal. Also an event which I'm looking forward to, but I'm still not sure if I will manage to go there. Sneezing at the start is not a good thing... We'll see!
|Posted on November 15, 2010 at 12:44 PM||comments (0)|
What a weekend it has been! Wow! First on friday I had to go for a second jobinterview and once this was finished, I changed from heels and jacket into sweater and jeans and went on my way to the north of Holland. There was a storm going on and it was very scary to drive 200 kilometers in my small and tiny little car. The wind was sweeping me across the asphalt and I was very relieved when I arrived in Heerenveen. I arrived with some sweety hands, but I arrived, and on time for the B-group to start.
The Thialf stadion was locked down because of the wind or understaffing in security, so we had to go in via the main entrance. And by we, I mean the 10 other people who arrived to watch the B-group. Thialf was empty besides loads of officials, some skaters and 10 spectators. The visitors gained in numbers, but not as much as is normal in Thialf. It was a very quiet day, but watching the speedskating is always fun!
On saturday it was a little bit more busy, but the high prices of tickets, the problems of getting to the rink via public transportation and maybe the Sinterklaas festivities, left people at home. The 1.500 meter men was thrilling, but Shani Davis raced impecable and won the event. I would almost say: of course or as usuall.
Sunday however, was busy as usuall. Lots of people came to watch the world cup and this always gives this extra feeling of skating in the Netherlands. Especially during the 5k, which Bob de Jong won, the crowd went mad and it reminded me, why skating in Thialf is so special.
I think I made some pretty decent pictures. With my camera, it's always compromising and trying my best with the material I have. The best shots of this weekend are below:
Kaitlyn McGregor from Switzerland
Yekaterina Lobysheva from Russia
Natasja Bruintjes, the Netherlands
Jan Bos, also from the Netherlands
Jorg Dallmann from Germany
Ireen Wust, the Netherlands
Kristina Groves from Canada
Maren Haugli from Norway
Ayaka Kikuchi from Japan
Marian Christian Ion from Romania
Roger Schneider from Switzerland
And winnar of the 5k B-group, Byung-Wook Ko from Korea
Yuliya Skokova from Russia
Ireen Wust after her 1.500 meter
Shani Davis from USA
As you can see, most of the better pictures are from the longer distances. I have tried some new things and I am still developing as a photograper. It's still challeging and fun to do.
Furthermore, I'm very happy nobody got disqualified for crossing the line, I think the new interpretation of the rule is better, but I'm still not sure where it will bring us in the future.
I do know, that the future will bring Berlin! Next thursday I'm leaving for Germanies capital and will be going to the second ISU World Cup speedskating in Berlin which will also give us the teampursuit, which slowly seems to change into my favorite part of the programme. So I would like to say: Auf Wiedersehen in Berlin!
|Posted on November 8, 2010 at 11:58 AM||comments (0)|
The new speedskating season has arrived! Although all the skaters have been busy with training, time trials and selection competitions, I have not seen any ice or skating since march. It has been a nice a quiet summer and I was very busy with my other career and a new study. This also means, I will take it a little bit easier this next skating season, but of course I went to the Dutch Nationals, last weekend in Thialf Heerenveen.
This was the first event with the new dutch sponsor, KPN and it was a little bit weird to see all the green in Thialf. For a moment, I thought they would have changed the whole of Thialf, like a green warm up lane and green cushions, but luckily they stayed blue.
I haven't touched my camera for a while either, so it was a little bit warming up to the speed skating again. Below you can find some pictures which I think are really nice. You can find more on the pages Day 1 Day 2 and Day 3 and all the pictures together in the slideshow.
Koen Verweij racing the 5.000 meter
Allard Neijmeijer racing the a new personal best in the 1.000 meter
Lisette van der Geest racing in the 3.000 meter event
Marrit Leenstra got a very succesfull weekend, with bronze in the 500m,
gold in the 1.000m and silver in the 3.000m & 1.500m
Ireen Wust, racing to gold in the 3.000 meter
Carlijn Achtereekte, Hollands hope for the future in the long distances
Marije Joling, from the Region Drenthe skated to two world cup tickets.
Jorien Voorhuis skating in the 1.500 meter
Frank Hermans, last year a junior, now skating for Region West,
skated to a new personal best in the 1.500 meter
Pim Cazemier skating for Hofmeijer Team
Simon Kuipers, racing for TVM, racing the 1.500 meters in 1.44,89 and gold
After the 1.500m on sunday, I went home as I wasn't feeling too well. I'm also looking very much forward to next weekend, when the whole international skating community will race in Heerenveen for the first world cup of the new season 2010-2011. Unfortunatly, there is a lot of commotion regarding the new ISU rule, where you are no longer allowed to cross the line on the finish straight with your whole skate. There have been numerous DQ's because of this rule and it's unevitably that there will be more. The rules has been dubbed "Dr. Bibber-rule" by Dutch Olympic Champion Mark Tuitert and all skaters and fans have been asked to protest against this new rule. You can find more information online on:
Here you can sign an online petition that will be sent to the ISU aswell as the mailadress for sending a letter to the ISU yourself. Furthermore, there are more actions expected, so visit this site!! Thank you all, and till next weekend.
|Posted on December 31, 2009 at 5:58 PM||comments (0)|
On Sunday, 27 December 2009, the Christmas days were over and I headed up north for the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Thialf Heerenveen. This was it. The Netherlands have so many great skaters, each and every one of them, belongs to the top of Speed Skating world, but only having 3 or 4 spots per distance and 10 spots for the whole team, it would be a massacre.
And it was. Entering the Thialf stadium 1 hour before the competition, the stands were empty. I secured a spot at the start of the 500meters and within the hour, the whole stadium was filled with people wearing blue Aegon hats. The tension was in the air. The first 500m pair lined up at the startline and made a false start. A sigh humbed around the stadium. You could feel the anxiety in the air. Luckily the second start was okey and off the skaters went.
I withnessed some great 500 meter races. The ladies 1.500 meter was also fun to watch. The 5.000m would be the icing on the cake. With 7 or 8 people, besides Sven Kramer who already pre-qualified, it promissed to be top notch racing. There were only two spots remaining and with the withdrawel due to illness of two skaters, todays number 2, would have to re-skate the 5k again, end January. Bob de Jong did what he had to do and with an amazing race against Carl Verheijen, they finished 1 and 2. Arjen van der Kieft finished 3rd, leaving him with nothing.
Once home, I had to watch all the video's and read all the discussions on internet. I did this at home for the remaining 3 days of the Olympic Qualification Tournament. I saw hero Erben Wennemars come 0.01 of a second short to secure a spot on the team in the 1.500m and I screamed at my tv because I wanted Arjen van der Kieft to qualify in the 10k. All in all, it was more than an exciting week... let the Olympics come!
Qualified for the Olympics for the Netherlands:
500m: Jan Smeekens, Simon Kuipers, Jan Bos
1.000m: Stefan Groothuis, Simon Kuipers, Mark Tuitert, Jan Bos
1.500m: Stefan Groothuis, Simon Kuipers, Mark Tuitert, Sven Kramer
5.000m: Sven Kramer, Bob de Jong, nr 3 to be decided ( Carl Verheijen, Koen Verweij, Bob de Vries, Wouter Olde Heuvel or Jan Blokhuijsen)
10.000m: Sven kramer, Bob de Jong, Arjen van der Kieft
500m: Margot Boer, Annette Gerritsen, Laurine van Riessen, nr4: either Thijsje Oenema or Marianne Timmer
1.000m: Margot Boer, Annette Gerritsen, Laurine van Riessen, nr4: either, Natasja Bruintjes, Ireen Wust or Marianne Timmer
1.500m: Margot Boer, Annette Gerritsen, Laurine van Riessen, Ireen Wust
3.000m: Ireen Wust, Diane Valkenburg, possibly Renate Groenewold
5.000m: Elma de Vries,
|Posted on November 30, 2009 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
The Utrecht City Bokaal is an event for dutch skaters who did not made it to the world cup cirquit and need some qualifying. Not only did the winnar get the Dom Bokaal, but the skaters could also earn a place at the Dutch Sprint Championship and the fastest 2 times would earn a place at the Aegeon Qualification Tournament for the Olympics.
It was the first time I went to the Vechtebanen in Utecht and off course I arrived late. I forgot my tomtom so I had some problems finding the place, so halfway in the 500 meter for ladies I entered the icerink. The icerink of Utrecht is partically covered and is know as not so fast.I stettled into the corner and tried to take some pictures of the ladies. The light was off course poorly and chatting with some other speed skating people was not so good for my concentration.
Before we knew it, the day had already finished. Times were not so spectacular and I had trouble keeping track of who's who. To my own humble opinion I think I know quite a lot of skaters, but some names were even for me completly new. New suits, new skates and new glasses, it takes effort to get to know the skaters.
Lotte van Beek, junior took the lead with the ladies Event and Michel Mulder settle in first position with the men's event when day 1 came to an end. I was not sure if I would go for day 2, but as I had a good time at the icerink, I decided to go to Utrecht again on sunday. I was not feeling so well and it was a lot colder than the day before, so I was freezing a little. Maybe I'm spoiled with all my indoor events, but it can be cold standing close to the ice and not moving around a lot.
Day 2 was a lot nicer, because by now, I recognized more skaters and this makes it a little bit easier for me. We were with quite a big group as we had a small meeting of the dutch skating forum at the UCB. Most people I already met numerous times before but there were some new faces.
Eventhough Sophie Nijman won the 500 meter, Lotte van Beek still won the Utrecht City Bokaal Title, bringen a huge smile on her face, which was nice to see.
With the Men's event, Michel Mulder succeeded his brother Ronald Mulder by winning this years event. All in all, a nice event and I think I will go again next year if I have the possibility!
|Posted on November 18, 2009 at 2:58 PM||comments (0)|
The second meet of the season was again in Thialf Heerenveen. The speedskating mekka of the world. I can't even count the times I've been to Thialf, so I was not as excited as last weekend. But nevertheless, I looked forward to a new speedskating event.
Rain was gushing down on the Netherlands, causing massive traffic jams, making me arrive 2 hours late to Thialf. The people of the security gave me a hard time, by instecting my bag, having me unfold my flag to check for sicsors and inspecting my camera. Apperently, there is a new rule in Thialf, that no 'proffesional' camera's can be brought inside. As if I can compete with the real photographers...
Nevertheless, I finally managed to get inside and installed myself at the 1.500m startline. The men's B-division 1.500m was about to start. The light was terrible in Thialf and I was a little bit annoyed with everything that already happend that morning, so my pictures from day 1 are crap. Also the fall from Marianne Timmer and the Chinese Jing Yu left everybody in shock. Day 1 was a very weird skating day. I have never seen it so quiet in Thialf.
Luckily, day 2 brought me some more sunshine and I decided to hit to the southside of Thialf, at the end of the crossover. The stands at the Southside were packed, but on the other side, at the North corner, there were empty places everywhere. The athmosphere was differant from normal. Not so busy, not so much enthousiasm. I don't know what it was. But we did see some amazing races. Ireen Wust finally managed to win again in the 1.500 meters and Bob de Jong set a fast time, giving Havard Bokko and Sven Kramer a though job to beat it. We finally saw an amazing exciting race between the two of them.
After the A-division I sayed for the 5.000meter B division, which was a weird experience in an almost emply Thialf. At 8 o'clock I left again.
On sunday, I installed myself again on the Northside for the 3rd and final day of skating for this year. Today, there were even less people and the athmosphere was dull. I really don't know how this can happen but the races were intens. Shani Davis beat everybody in the 1.000 meter, again and the Team Pursuit was exciting as always!
The Canadian Ladies, Schussler, Groves and Nesbitt set a new trackrecord which was amazing to see! Who can beat this team during the Olympics?? The Men's Pursuit was also very exciting, with a tye for team USA and team Netherlands.
With mixed feelings I left the Thialf. These two weeks have been very intense with the two competitions so close together. When will all the international atheletes be back? I guess some will come to the world cup finals in march or the World Allrounds, in March 2010 aswell.We'll see what the rest of the season will bring...
|Posted on November 10, 2009 at 6:10 AM||comments (1)|
After the Dutch Nationals, I was very much looking forward to the next event. The first international meet of the new season, the Olympic season.
On Thursday we left by car to Berlin. It was early morning and rain was pooring down. Off course, on Holland's busy roads, we got stuck in traffic immediatly. We also had to stop near the border at a photoshop for my new lens. I now have a 55-300 mm lens, F 4,0- 5,8
By 6 pm we entered East Berlin and drove along the dark and empty streets of Berlin. We checked into our hotel and went to the nearest subway to enter the city center. We went to the Alexanderplatz and went up the Tower.
We had a great view across the city and could see all the city lights and even the U2 Concert at the Brandenburger Tor. We spent a good hour in the nice comfortable enviroment of the tower. After that, we continued by U-bahn to the Potzdammerplatz to look at some West-Berlin architecture. We spent our time waiting for the Ritz- to check the celebreties, look around the Sony Center where the European Premiere of '2012' would take place and walked around the Christmas market.
At 10 o'clock we found our way back to East Berlin, where we found all shops and foodplaces had closed. We ended up in a great Argentinian restaurant (Rio Negro) where we had some delicious steaks for an absurd low price. We soon decided this would be our restaurant for the upcoming days.
On friday we woke up early for the breakfast and some sightseeing in Berlin. We went again to the Potsdammerplatz to walk from there to the Brandenburger Tor. But this was not as easy as it seemed. Eventough it was only 700 meters, we managed to take 1.5 hours to get to the Brandenburger Gate. We walked at the sidewalk at the West-Berlin side, along the crowd control barrier, for the 20 year Wall festivities. They were busy placing giant Domino's at the place where the Wall used to be, replicating the Wall. As we were walking on the west side, the road was blocked and we thought to take a de-tour and walk around. Unfortunatly, the road ended and also the shortcut throught the park was blocked. At the backside of the Brandenburger Tor, people were building up or breacking down stages, lightmasts and electronic equipement.
Finally we decided to walk back to the Potsdammerplatz, as the people at the other side of the barrier, in East Berlin, were walking freely and managed to get to the Gate. Off course, 20 years ago, it was probably the other way around, people in East- Berlin wanted to go to West-Berlin, seeing them walk freely and doing what they want. But for us, this was such a frustrating and confrontating experience. At this place, 20 years ago, this was the reality and now we experienced the same. For the same reasons, the Wall, we could't go to the other side the way we wanted to.
Off course, we managed and walked freely past the Holocaust memorial and onwards to the Brandenburger Gate. There we spent some time in a coffee place with "Kaffee und Kuchen". We also went to the Reichtag to view the building and enjoy the city view. At this point we went underground and onwards with the S-bahn to the Kurfürstendamm where we also enjoyed the city, the sights and the shops.
In the evening we returned to East- Berlin, because off course, we wanted to see something from the speedskating. It was not very busy at the icerink and we enjoyed a nice evening of skating. It was great to see all the skaters again and try out my new lens! Wow, what a differance with the one I used to have before. And then they say size doesn't matter....
It was great to see Sablikova win again. What a race and what a great athlete. On the stands behind us, the Czech Martina Sablikova fangroup was cheering for her and she and her coach, Petr Novak, thanked them extensively. I always enjoy this kind of open and real joy very much. In the 1.000 meter, Shani Davis won seemingly easy and before I knew it, the first day of the new season had already finished.
We paid a visit to our Argentinian restaurant, where I had Italian wine with Australian Kangaroe steak and went to bed. I was knackered. On Saturday morning, the sun was welcoming us to go outside and at 9 am I was at the icerink. I went to the accreditation office to get my press pass and after some burocratic nonsens, I walked outside again with an official press card which gave the opportunity to go everywhere around the icerink and enter the press tribune.
For me, this was a huge thing. Being a speed skating fan, I can never get close enough and after all those times, paying for the entrane tickets, waiting outside the ice rink to get in and standing in the crowd, it was really nice to be able to walk around freely. And don't get me wrong, I know who I am and I guess this was a once in a life time opportunity and next week, in Heerenveen, I will just be part of the common people again, but for now, this was just extraordinary!
The ladies 500 meter was not won by Jenny Wolf, but Sven Kramer won the 5.000m. It didn't look as easy as other times, but still, he got the job done and won the distance. Surprise of the day was probable te 3rd place for Marianne Timmer in the 1.000 meter. Once the flower ceremony was over, we stayed a little longer to watch the training, which is always fun as there is so much going on at the same time. After a visit at the Argentinian, we went to bed early.
Sunday, the Berlin weather showed herself. Grey, misty and cloudy, bringing a sad tone to our mood. We each went our seperate ways. My dad, into the city center for some more (window) shopping and looking around the trainstation and expensive car dealers and I went to the icerink for the B division. We met up again at 2 pm for the A group, me walking around the icerink, my dad in a seat, in front of the television at the corner. It was fun to watch the races. The emotions of Jenny Wolf once she crossed the finish in her 500 meter race, breaking her own track record and winning again.
Highlight of the weekend and day, was diffenatly the 1.500 meter race of Shani Davis. Sensational and amazing to witness. The power and accelaration is just astonishing!! And what a great winnar he is. Really wonderfull to withness such a great sports moment. After the races, we jumped in the car and stepped on the gas to make it home. At 1 am sunday night we arrived home, tiered but absolutly satisfied with the first weekend of the new skating season. This weekend will be one to remember.