PHOTO: BILL CHRIST
CALGARY, AB – He’s done it! Dutch Speed Skater Douwe de Vries set a new World Record for the longest distance skated in one hour today at the Olympic Oval. After a grueling 60 minutes de Vries set the new mark at an astounding 42.252 KM or exactly 42252.22 metres (about 106 laps) eclipsing the previous record of 41969.10 metres. The previous record was held by Casper Helling of the Netherlands who set it over eight years ago at the Utah Oval.
“We’re really pleased to be able to provide the ice, time and the conditions for athletes like Douwe to accomplish something as great as a World Record.” said Olympic Oval High Performance Competitions Coordinator Gregg Planert “But in the end it’s all about the athlete, we set the stage but what he accomplished here today is an amazing feat and we’re all very proud to congratulate him on becoming a part of the history of the Oval.”
With the warmer temperatures and the higher barometric pressure there was some question as to whether The Fastest Ice in the World would be able to live up to its billing. But the Olympic Oval Ice technicians led by Operations Manager Mark Messer and Facility Coordinator Andy Yardy were able to make adjustments for this one of a kind event.
“The ice here was really good today” said de Vries “I really want to thank everybody at the Oval, they absolutely delivered on everything I could have asked for”
De Vries was a late qualifier for last weekend’s ISU World Allround Championships at the Olympic Oval, further adding to an already busy schedule of world class competitions and training for the 32 year old from the Netherlands. Just over a month ago, de Vries competed in the 2015 World Single Distance Championships in his hometown of Heerenveen where he won a bronze medal in the 5000m event and helped Holland to a Gold in the Team Pursuit.
“It’s been tough to focus” said de Vries “The World Championships last weekend and throughout the season, you’re always preparing for different competitions. It doesn’t let you prepare for something like this. [While you are skating], in your mind it’s really hard. Around 30 laps I was a little bit out of my comfort zone but I just thought – this is my time and I just had to do it”
The World Record kicked off what has already been an exciting weekend at the Olympic Oval. Friday marked Day 2 of the Canadian Short Track Senior Open Selections #2 on the North rink, while the Oval Winter Classic Grand Prix kicked off at 6PM this evening with a 500m event. Dutch record holder Ron Mulder posted an impressive 500m time of 34.59 in the 500m – the 4th fastest time in the world this season. Admission is complimentary all weekend, be sure to drop by and experience the Fastest Ice in the World for yourself!