What’s in a name? Swede Nils van der Poel is a speed skater who is the current world and Olympic record holder and reigning world and Olympic champion in the 5,000 m event. He’s also the current world record holder and reigning world champion in the 10,000 m event.
Of course, if you said van der Poel to a cyclist, the first person you’d think of would be Mathieu. (Or his father, Adrie. Or his brother, David.)
The Swedish van der Poel is one of the best speed skaters in the world, and if you are watching the Olympics you may notice that they all warm up on indoor bike trainers before the events. Interestingly, it’s very common for speed skaters to train with their bike as much as possible, even during the season. “We travelled with bikes all the time because you can only skate so much,” the Olympic cyclist and speed skater Clara Hughes said. “It’s such a punishing position to be in for your body and your back and the moment you fatigue, your technique goes. And when your technique goes and you keep pushing too much you can fatigue your central nervous system and get injured.”
Turns out that NvdP also likes cycling outdoors. Last summer he tried to break a cycling record of riding across Sweden.
On Sunday in the 5000 m final, it appeared as if Patrick Roest from the Netherlands would take the race, however the Dutch skater had to settle for silver after a super-fast last lap from van der Poel.
Given the fact that there have been plenty of speed skaters who have bike raced…could we see him in the 2024 Summer Olympics, on a bike?
This was a crazy finish to the 5000m. Nils van der Poel was a full 2 seconds behind the leader’s time. He closed the gap in the final laps and got an Olympic Record. pic.twitter.com/JHD4eSwuol
— jeremy (@mightyrobot) February 7, 2022