Travel diary - A Quebecer at the World Allround Championships in Amsterdam ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


20 mars 2018

Travel diary - A Quebecer at the World Allround Championships in Amsterdam

Camille F. and Nicolas Beaulieu are presently travelling the world. After Europe, they will be heading south to Africa. Both retired speed skaters, having the opportunity to attend a World championship in the Netherlands was a dream come true. Camille shared her experience with Passion/Speed/Skating a few days ago.

Text, photos and video

by Camille F. (translated from french by Carl Savard)

Sunday, March 11 was the last day of the World allround championships in Amsterdam. Speed skating has been part of my life for many years. I started coaching at the age of 12 and skated for ten years. For me, it has always been a passion, a positive way to burn energy and to push myself physically and mentally. I deeply believe that kids need role models, people to look up to, to inspire them. For a speed skater or a fan of the sport, witnessing a speed skating world championship in the Netherlands is THE ultimate dream, since speed skating is the national sport in that country. Knowing that, our expectations were really high when we chose to buy tickets for the last day of competition during our trip through Europe and it exceeded our expectations.  The passion of the crowd, as we were making our way to the stadium, was impressive. Thousands of people wearing colourful hats, toque, scarfs and even one-piece suits in the colours of their favourite countries were wandering through the streets of Amsterdam, getting out of buses and trams. Everyone, big and small was getting ready for an action-packed and colourful day and pumped to cheer for their favourite athletes.

The 1500m and 10 000m events of the men’s competition were at the program on the day that we attended the Championship. The stadium was filled with a joyful atmosphere. I was amazed by this first experience. People in the crowd were screaming, singing in Dutch, clapping tirelessly. Music would stop only during the starting procedures of the races and the positive energy and festive vibe would pick up where it left off as soon as the skaters were back in action.

My biggest surprise came from the fact that the speed skating fans assembled in the stadium were not just cheering for their own. They were also encouraging other skaters notwithstanding of their origin or their performances. Canadians, Norwegians, Japanese  per example were receiving as much love and warmth from the crowd as the local athletes.

The race that will be forever engraved in my memory was when the Dutch legend Sven Kramer and Sverre Lunde Pedersen from Norway were facing each other in the 10 000m. When Pedersen fell during the race, Kramer was able to get in the front and take quite a lead. However, Pedersen got back up and with a few laps to go was able to catch up with  Kramer and the place went nuts! The atmosphere reached its pinnacle at that moment. Pedersen went on to pass Kramer, win the race and finish second in the overall ranking with Kramer finishing fourth.

There were other memorable moments like 22 years old Patrick Roest, being crowned  “Master of the world” in his own country and Kjeld Nuis doing victory laps to celebrate his Olympic successes during a break at the Allround championship.

It was an amazing experience to be there and I’m sure this beautiful day inspired people young and old to pass along their passion for speed skating.

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