Czech figure skater Martina Sábliková in the 3000 meters race at the World Championships in Heerenveen, March 2, 2023.
Heerenveen (Netherlands) – Speed skater Martina Sáblíková will compete in the 5,000-meter race at the World Championships on Sunday, but in the future, like the men, she could also compete in double the distance. At the moment only men compete on the 10,000 meter track, some of Sáblík's rivals came up with the idea of opening it for women as well last season. The three-time Olympic champion would not be against it, she has held the unofficial world record in the top ten since 2007. Sáblíková is no longer the youngest speed skater to win an individual title at the World Championships. She was robbed of the record by the American Jordan Stolz, who dominated the 500-meter race at the age of 18 at the championship in Heerenveen on Friday.
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“Last year, the girls talked about the fact that it would be nice if the ten were cut somewhere. At the saint's day or somewhere else. The main thing is that they let us go. I'm curious how it will turn out,” said Sáblíková to ČTK and Czech Radio in Heerenveen . “Then the journalists came to see me. And if I would go in? I would,” smiled the thirty-five-year-old speed skater.
Sáblíková is considered the queen of long distances, she had no competition in the top five for many years. She won the Olympics twice and won two more medals, becoming world champion ten times. While a number of competitors lost significantly in the end, she was able to keep the pace.
That is why in 2006 and 2007, at the end of the season in Calgary, she decided to try the 10,000 meter race and always exceeded the then maximum. First, she beat German legend Gunda Niemann's twelve-year-old performance by 13 seconds, a year later she was even 20 seconds faster, and the time of 13:48.33 is still recorded in historical tables as the best female performance.
“It's been a long time since I drove it. I don't even remember what year it was. But I know that I drove the second five faster than the first,” said Sáblíková.
According to her, the top ten is mainly a question of tactics. “It hurts unbelievably, but on the other hand, if you don't overdo it right from the start, then the second half of the race is completely different. It's not like a three. Here you have to start and hope that you can last. The five have to be ridden wisely and the last laps hurt . Ten starts differently. You have to start slowly and then we'll see what happens in the second half,” she explained.
Coach Petar Novák's protégé compared the 10 km race to training. “It's the same as when I have to ride more than 12 laps in training. You can't start it from the beginning either. I can last eight or ten laps in 33 (seconds) every time, but when I ride more than twenty of them, you have to plan your pace differently. It's not from zero to one hundred in two seconds, the body somehow has time to acclimatize to the speed and then I ride better. By the end of the day, I can cycle in maybe 33 or 32 seconds,” said Sáblíková.
An 18-year-old American robbed Sáblíková of the title of the youngest world champion
Sáblíková is no longer the youngest speed skater who ever managed to win an individual title at the world championships. She was robbed of the record by the American Jordan Stolz, who dominated the 500-meter race at the age of 18 at the championship in Heerenveen on Friday. Sáblíková was 19 years old when she won the first of 16 world titles in 2007 in Salt Lake City.
Stolz won by 36 hundredths of a second ahead of the Canadian Laurent Dubreuil, who prevented him from defending his championship. “It felt like a perfect race,” the young American told Dutch television station NOS. “The fast time surprised me. I had a speed of 61 km/h at the finish line,” he commented on the performance of 34.10 seconds.
Dubreuil, who is 12 years older, had only words of appreciation for Stolz. “He's unbelievable. It's like trying to beat Michael Jordan or something. I consider it an honor to compete for such a speed skater. He does things that seemed impossible,” said the Beijing Olympic silver medalist in the 1000 meters.
< p>Stolz is only the third speed skater to win gold at the senior and junior World Championships in one season, after famous compatriots Erica and Beth Heiden. He won five gold medals at the junior championship in Inzell in February. A native of Wisconsin, who trained on the pond behind the family home, in November in Stavanger won the World Cup race as the youngest speed skater.
At the age of 19, just like Sáblíková, Dutchwoman Femke Koková also won gold at the senior World Championships. in 2020 it was successful in the team sprint.