Category Archives: Speed skating

Have any Olympic champions been succeeded by their twins?

We received a question about the Mulder twins in speed skating. Back in Sochi, Michel Mulder won the 500 m by the microscopic margin of 0.012 seconds. His twin brother, Ronald, finished third on that occasion. While Michel failed to qualify for PyeongChang, Ronald will be racing there, and is one of the contenders for a medal, and possibly even the gold medal. If he does, would he be the first Olympian to succeed his twin brother or sister?

The answer depends a bit on which cases you consider. There’s been several cases of twins winning gold medals together, and some of these have done this back-to-back. For example, Slovakians Peter and Pavol Hochschorner have won the canoeing slalom event C2 in both 2000, 2004 and 2008, so you could say they succeeded their twin, twice even. There have been several of these cases over time:


Twins, Country, Years, Event, Sport

Jörg & Berndt Landvoigt, East Germany, 1976-1980, Men’s Coxless Pairs, Rowing

Peter & Pavol Hochschorner, Slovakia, 2000-2008, Men’s C2 Slalom, Canoeing

Caroline & Georgina Evers-Swindell, New Zealand, 2004-2008, Women’s Double Sculls, Rowing

Kristine & Katrine Lunde, Norway, 2008-2012, Women, Handball


Embed from Getty Images

The Slovakian Hochschorner twins, winning the second of their three consecutive golds.

There have been two cases where twins won consecutive gold medals, but without both being on both gold medal teams, like above. This happened twice:


Twins, Country, Years, Event, Sport

Yevgeny & Boris Mayorov, USSR, 1964-1968, Men, Ice Hockey

Manja & Kerstin Kowalski, Germany, 2000-2004, Women’s Quadruple Sculls, Rowing


However, twins succeeding each other as Olympic champions in an individual event would be a first. For completeness, this has happened a few time with non-twin siblings:


Twins, Country, Years, Event, Sport

Hayes & David Jenkins, USA, 1956-1960, Men’s Singles, Figure Skating

Robert & Christoph Harting, Germany, 2012-2016, Men’s Discus Throw, Athletics

Christine & Marielle Goitschel, France, 1964-1968, Women’s Slalom, Alpine Skiing


Embed from Getty Images

French sisters Goitschel share a laugh with French prime minister, Georges Pompidou.

Judy Morstein Martz

Cowgirl, speedskater, politician,governor, beauty queen

[table] Category,Data

Full Name,Judith Helen “Judy” Morstein (-Martz)

Used Name,Judy Morstein

Born,28 July 1943; Big Timber; Montana (USA)

Measurements,176 cm / 68 kg

Affiliations,Montana Skating Club


[table] Year-Season,Sport,Event,Finish

1964 Winter,Speed Skating,1500 metres,15


Judy Morstein graduated from Butte High School in Montana and later from Eastern Montana College. She competed for the US at the 1963 World Speedskating Championships, as well as the 1964 Winter Olympics. After marrying Harry Martz, she helped him run a commercial solid-waste business in Butte. Her small business experience led her to become involved in local politics. This led to statewide ambitions, and in 1997 she was elected Lieutenant-Governor of Montana. She then served as Montana’s first female governor from 2001-05, as a Republican. Morstein was also once voted Miss Rodeo Montana. After her career in politics, Morstein-Martz sat on the board of several large corporations, including Maternal Life International, University of Montana Western, Big Sky State Games, and TASER International. Personal Bests: 500 – 48.1 (1972); 1000 – 1:38.0 (1972); 1500 – 2:33.3 (1964); 3000 – 5:32.4 (1972).

USA Event Factsheets for 12 February – Wednesday

Speed Skating – Women’s 3K – Event Factsheets

Can Claudia Pechstein (GER) win a medal to equal Stefania Belmondo (ITA) and Raisa Smetanina (URS) as the greatest female Winter Olympians ever, in terms of medals won? The record is 10 by Belmondo and Smetanina – Pechstein has 9. She has previously won a full set of medals in the 3,000 – gold (2002), silver (1998), and bronze (1994).

USA Sports Factsheets

We’ll now deviate a bit for a few days. To date, all of our posts have been somewhat “general,” giving information about athletes or interesting facts from all nations. The Factsheets by sports that were posted were also general, with data for all nations and all athletes.

For the next few days, I will include USA-oriented Factsheets by sports, for our US Media. After we finish this (hopefully by Wednesday, 22 January), we will return to more general information.

Entries close for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games tomorrow, the 19th January. Thus the next set of information to be sent out will be Factsheets by nations. We will be publishing information for every NOC competing in Sochi, as well as those who have previously competed at the Olympic Winter Games, but will not be attending.

Today, the USA Factsheets will be for the “Big Medal Sports” – Alpine Skiing, Figure Skating, and Speed Skating – the sports in which US Winter Olympic teams have won the most medals, by far.

Speed Skaters in Multiple Events

In 1980 Eric Heiden stunned the Olympic and speedskating world by winning five gold medals in the five speedskating events then on the Olympic Program – 500, 1000, 1500, 5 and 10K. With skaters becoming more and more specialized as sprinters or distance skaters, this will never occur again. In fact, it has been fairly rare for any skater to skate in all the five individual events on the program – man or woman. It has not happened since 1988 for men and 1994 for women. More recently, it is uncommon for the specialist skaters to enter 4 of the 5 individual events. Following are the skaters to have entered the 5 individual events since 1980, or 4 individual events since 1998.

Year      Name                                                    #IndEvents


1980      Eric Heiden (USA)                                                        5

1980      Pertti Niittylä (FIN)                                                     5

1980      Hilbert van der Duim (NED)                                  5

1984      Michael Hadschieff (AUT)                                       5

1984      Lee Yeong-Ha (KOR)                                                   5

1984      Hans van Helden (FRA)                                             5

1988      Michael Hadschieff (AUT)                                       5

1988      Hans van Helden (FRA)                                             5

1998      KC Boutiette (USA)                                                      4

2006      Chad Hedrick (USA)                                                     4

2010      Shani Davis (USA)                                                          4

2010      Håvard Bøkko (NOR)                                                   4



1988      Han Chun-Ok (PRK)                                                      5

1988      Seiko Hashimoto (JPN)                                                5

1988      Ariane Loignon (CAN)                                                  5

1988      Andrea Ehrig-Schöne-Mitscherlich (GDR)      5

1988      Erwina Ryś-Ferens (POL)                                           5

1992      Mihaela Dascălu (ROU)                                               5

1992      Seiko Hashimoto (JPN)                                                5

1992      Cerasela Hordobeţiu (ROU)                                      5

1994      Emese Dörfler-Antal (AUT)                                       5

1994      Cerasela Hordobeţiu (ROU)                                      5

1998      Emese Nemeth-Hunyady (AUT)                             4

1998      Jennifer Rodriguez (USA)                                           4

2002      Cindy Klassen (CAN)                                                     4

2002      Maki Tabata (JPN)                                                           4

2002      Varvara Barysheva (RUS)                                            4

2002      Anni Friesinger-Postma (GER)                                  4

2006      Cindy Klassen (CAN)                                                      4

2006      Kristina Groves (CAN)                                                   4

2006      Katarzyna Wójcicka-Bachleda-Curuś (POL)    4

2006      Maki Tabata (JPN)                                                            4

2010      Kristina Groves (CAN)                                                   4

In the above note that Seiko Hashimoto has done this twice (as have 4 other women and 2 men). Hashimoto is interesting as she has competed in more Olympics than any other Winter Olympian, with 7, even though the record for appearances at the Winter Olympics is 6. Hashimoto competed in speed skating in 1984/88/1992/1994 and in cycling at the Summer Olympics in 1988/1992/1994.

In all these are how many skaters have competed in all available individual events at the Winter Olympics:

Men    IndEvents     Women    IndEvents

1924           11                  4                  —                  —

1928           —    (no full startlist for 10K available)

1932             8                   4                  —                  —

1936           17                  4                  —                  —

1948           12                  4                  —                  —

1952             7                   4                  —                  —

1956           10                  4                  —                  —

1960           11                  4                  13                    4

1964             6                  4                  13                    4

1968             8                  4                  11                    4

1972             7                  4                     5                    4

1976             2                  5                     8                    4

1980             3                  5                  11                    4

1984             3                  5                     8                    4

1988             2                  5                     5                    5

1992             0                  5                     3                    5

1994             0                  5                     2                    5

1998             0                  5                     0                    5

2002             0                  5                     0                    5

2006             0                  5                     0                    5

2010             0                  5                     0                    5

So you can see how rare this has become. Nobody will compete in all 5 individual events at Sochi. The speed skaters have become too specialized, with most of them either sprinters, such as Korean female Lee Sang-Hwa, or distance specialists, such as Dutchman Sven Kramer, or in the case of Shani Davis, a mid-distance specialist.

Speedskating Factsheets

Olympic History:          Speed skating emerged on the canals of Holland as early as the 13th century, and organized competition was held in The Netherlands as early as 1676.  The Dutch spread the idea of speed skating to their neighbors, Germany, France, and Austria, in the early 19th century.  The Frieslanders of North Holland crossed the Channel and introduced the sport to England, in an area from Cambridge to the Wash known as the Fens, where competition has been held since 1814.  As a result, speed skating in England was originally known as fens skating.

The first recorded competition in speed skating took place in Norway in 1863.  The first world championships were contested in 1889, although the ISU held its first championships in 1893, one year after their formation.  The first known speed skating competition for women took place in 1905 on a straight course in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.  The sport also spread to North America in the mid-1800s.  The first great American racer was Tim Donoghue, who competed from 1863-1875.  His son, Joseph Donoghue, won the 2nd and 3rd unofficial world championships in 1890 and 1891.

Speed skating was contested at the 1924 Olympic Winter Games and has been on the Olympic Winter program since.  Women first competed at the Olympics in 1932 when it was a demonstration sport.  Women’s speed skating as a full medal sport began in 1960.  The program consists of five individual events for men and women.  The men race over 500 metres, 1,000 metres, 1,500 metres, 5,000 metres, and 10,000 metres, while women race over 500 metres, 1,000 metres, 1,500 metres, 3,000 metres, and 5,000 metres.  At Torino in 2006, a team pursuit was added for both men and women.  Similar to the team pursuit in cycling, three skaters raced together, and could win either by overtaking the other team, or simply by finishing first in the heat.  Men raced over 8 laps (a bit less than 3,200 metres) and women over 6 laps (a bit less than 2,400 metres).

Olympic speed skating has almost always been contested in the European system of skating time trials in two-man pairs.  In 1932 at Lake Placid, the Americans convinced the ISU to hold the events in the North American style of pack racing.  Many Europeans boycotted the events as a result and the Americans won all four gold medals.  This style of the sport, however, was later to develop into short-track speed skating, which was admitted to the Olympic program in 1992.

Speed skating is governed internationally by the International Skating Union (ISU), which was founded in July 1892, making it the oldest winter sport IF.  The ISU governs all skating on the Olympic Program – figure skating, speed skating, and short-track speed skating.  As of November 2013, the ISU lists itself as having 87 affiliated national federations, but this is only technically correct.  There are actually only 68 nations affiliated with the ISU, as follows: Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, DPR Korea (North), Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Grenada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Uzbekistan.

Seventeen nations have two federations – one for figure skating, and one for speed skating.  These seventeen nations are:  Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States.  This would make 85 affiliated federations, but the ISU also recognizes two “Club” members, who were among the earliest members of the ISU.  These “Club” members represent Stockholm, Sweden (Stockholms Allmänna Skridskoklubb) (1892) and Davos, Switzerland (Internationaler Schlittsschuh-Club Davos) (1896).

Speed Skating Records – What Not to Look For at Sochi

Will there be any world records set in speed skating at Sochi, referring to long-track? Probably not. How about Olympic records? Maybe, but not a lot, if any. Why is that? Because much more so than athletics (track & field) and swimming, long-track speed skating records are almost entirely dependent on the oval where one is skating.

Speed skating ovals used to always be outdoor rinks, but on 17 November 1986 the first two indoor ovals opened – the Berlin Hohenschönhausen in East Berlin, and the Dutch rink Thialf at Heerenveen. In 1988 the Calgary Winter Olympics had an indoor oval used for speed skating for the first time at the Olympics. In 1992 the Albertville rink was outdoors, once again, but since 1994, when the speed skating events were contested at the Vikingskipet in Hamar (near Lillehammer), all Olympic speed skating ovals have been indoors on artificial ice. The weather was quite poor at Albertville and after the 1992 Winter Olympics, the ISU mandated that Olympic ovals had to be indoors.

Prior to 1986 world records were routinely set at only a few ovals, for various reasons. One is that many of the major competitions were contested there, such as at Davos, Switzerland, or Inzell, West Germany. The other is that certain rinks were renowned for having good ice conditions. The absolute speed factory among outdoor rinks was the Medeo oval at Alma-Ata (now Almaty), Kazakhstan, in the former Soviet Union. Not only was Medeo known for good ice, it was at very high altitude (1,691 m), lessening the wind resistance, and in addition, Medeo was in a valley, and seemed to often have following winds that circled completely around the oval at all-times, making all marks seem wind-aided.

But once indoor rinks came into being, almost all world records have been set there. And further, they have been set primarily in two places – Calgary and Salt Lake City. The reason is two-fold. Both are known for excellent ice, but they are also at altitude, with both over 1,000 metres in elevation – Salt Lake City is slightly higher at 1,288 m to Calgary’s 1,045 m. Since the Salt Lake City oval opened in 2001, many all the world records have been set there.

Let’s look at the numbers, by Olympic event:


500      last 10 WR at Calgary/SLC – 13 of the last 16 since 1988, the last four at SLC

1,000    last 20 WR at Calgary/SLC – 21 of the last 23 since 1988, the last six at SLC

1,500    last 12 WR at Calgary/SLC going back to 1998

5K        last 8 WR at Calgary/SLC going back to 1998

10K      a bit different with 4 Calgary and 3 Salt Lake City WRs, out of 13 since 1987


500      last 19 WR at Calgary/SLC – 14 at Calgary and 5 at SLC, going back to 1987

1,000    last 14 WR at Calgary/SLC – 10 at Calgary and 4 at SLC, going back to 1987

1,500    9 of 10 WR at Calgary/SLC – 6 at Calgary and 3 at SLC, going back to 1997

3K        10 of 14 WR at Calgary/SLC – 9 at Calgary and 1 at SLC, going back to 1987

5K        7 of 12 WR at Calgary/SLC – 3 at Calgary and last 4 at SLC, going back to 1988

The anomaly in the above was the women’s 1,500 record with Karin Kania-Enke’s mark of 1:59.30 from 22 March 1986 lasting for 11 years – until 29 November 1997. But it was set at Medeo. You can also see that the effect is more pronounced in the shorter races, where the decreased air resistance of altitude is more effective. In the longer races, the oxygen debt takes over.

So what about Sochi? The Adler Arena opened in 2012 and hosted the 2013 Single-Distance World Championships. But Adler Arena is at the Coastal Cluster by the Black Sea, at an altitude of about 65 metres. Any world record set here will be an impressive performance. Here are the Sochi oval records compared to the current world records (as 1 January 2014):



500        Jan Smeekens (NED)                      34.80

1,000    Denis Kuzin (KAZ)                       1:09.14

1,500    Denis Yuskov (RUS)                    1:46.32

5K          Sven Kramer (NED)                     6:14.41

10K       Jorrit Bergsma (NED)             12:57.69

World Record                                               Site              Year

500        Jeremy Wotherspoon (CAN)     34.03   Salt Lake      2007

1,000    Shani Davis (USA)                        1:06.42   Salt Lake      2009

1,500    Shani Davis (USA)                        1:41.04   Salt Lake      2009

5K          Sven Kramer (NED)                     6:03.32   Calgary         2007

10K       Sven Kramer (NED)                 12:41.69   Salt Lake      2007




500         Lee Sang-Hwa (KOR)                  37.65

1,000    Olga Fatkulina (RUS)               1:15.44

1,500    Ireen Wüst (NED)                     1:55.38

3K          Ireen Wüst (NED)                     4:02.43

5K          Martina Sábliková (CZE)       6:54.31

World Record                                               Site              Year

500        Lee Sang-Hwa (KOR)                 36.36   Salt Lake      2013

1,000    Brittany Bowe (USA)             1:12.58   Salt Lake      2013

1,500    Cindy Klassen (CAN)             1:51.79   Salt Lake      2005

3K          Cindy Klassen (CAN)              3:53.34   Calgary         2006

5K          Martina Sábliková (CZE)       6:42.66   Salt Lake      2011

Two things are immediately apparent from that list. The Sochi marks, set at a World Championship, are not close to the world records, in any event, and every current world record has been set at either Calgary or Salt Lake City.

Even comparing the Sochi records to Olympic records, Sochi comes out behind usually.



500        Jan Smeekens (NED)                      34.80

1,000    Denis Kuzin (KAZ)                       1:09.14

1,500    Denis Yuskov (RUS)                    1:46.32

5K          Sven Kramer (NED)                     6:14.41

10K       Jorrit Bergsma (NED)             12:57.69

Olympic Record                                            Site              Year

500        Casey FitzRandolph (USA)       34.42   Salt Lake      2002

1,000    Gerard van Velde (NED)        1:07.18   Salt Lake      2002

1,500    Derek Parra (USA)                    1:43.95   Salt Lake       2002

5K          Sven Kramer (NED)                  6:14.60   Vancouver    2010

10K       Lee Seung-Hun (KOR)          12:58.55   Vancouver    2010




500        Lee Sang-Hwa (KOR)                 37.65

1,000    Olga Fatkulina (RUS)            1:15.44

1,500    Ireen Wüst (NED)                  1:55.38

3K          Ireen Wüst (NED)                   4:02.43

5K         Martina Sábliková (CZE)      6:54.31

Olympic Record                                            Site              Year

500        Catriona Le May Doan (CAN)   37.30   Salt Lake      2002

1,000    Chris Witty (USA)                       1:13.83   Salt Lake      2002

1,500    Anni Friesinger (GER)              1:54.02   Salt Lake      2002

3K          Claudia Pechstein (GER)         3:57.70   Salt Lake      2002

5K          Claudia Pechstein (GER)         6:46.91   Salt Lake      2002

So don’t look for too many speed skating records at Sochi. Which ones are vulnerable for Olympic marks? The men’s 10K is at high risk – Sven Kramer skated 12:46.96 earlier in 2013 at Heerenveen (sea level), the second fastest time ever, and then bettered that at the Dutch trials at Heerenveen, with 12:45.08 on 28 December 2013. Lee Sang-Hwa could also better Le May Doan’s 500 mark, and Casey FitzRandolph’s men’s 500 is at risk.

Short-track / long-track speed skating doubles

Earlier today, Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors qualified for the Olympic 1,500 m in speed skating. Earlier, she had already made the team for all four short track events (500 m, 1,000 m, 1,500 m and relay). With this performance, Ter Mors joins a small group of 10 skaters that has competed in both sports at the Olympics. (Four of them only competed in the 1988 short-track tournament, which was then still a a demonstration sport. It gained full medal status in 1992.)

The most successful member of that group in both sports is Eric Flaim. The world allround long track champion in 1988, he won a silver at the Calgary Olympics in long track, adding another silver with the US short-track relay team in Lillehammer. Two other skaters have also medalled, but only in short-track. Maurizio Carnino has two relay medals in his collection (including the 1994 gold), just like Sylvie Daigle (who won gold in 1992).

Also remarkable is the performance of Latvian Haralds Silovs. At the Vancouver 2010 Games, he competed in both sports on the same day. After completing the 5,000 m in 20th place on the 400 m oval, he raced in the heats and semi-finals of the 1,500 m short-track on the 111 m piste.

The other skaters who competed in both sports are:

  • Dave Besteman (short: 1988 (demonstration), long: 1992-1994)
  • Robert Dubreuil (short: 1988 (demonstration), long: 1992)
  • Tara Laszlo (short: 1988 (demonstration), long: 1992)
  • Emmanuel Michon (short: 1988 (demonstration), long: 1976-1980)
  • Andrew Nicholson (short: 1992-1994, long: 1998)
  • Claude Nicouleau (long: 1988, short: 1992)

There are also other good skaters who have excelled in both sports, but not at the Olympics. Five-time Olympic champion Bonnie Blair was also the 1986 allround world champion in short-track, and two-fold gold medallist Gaétan Boucher of Canada was individual world champion in short-track in 1977 and 1980, and relay champion in 1979 and 1980. More recently, the 2010 Olympic champion 10,000 m, Lee Seung-Hun has won two world titles in short-track.