Getty Images

Heather Bergsma takes break from speed skating

1 Comment

Heather Bergsma, the top U.S. speed skater over the last two Olympic cycles, is taking at least a two-year break from the sport.

“I do hope to start a family here soon with my husband, so we’ll see what happens,” Bergsma said Tuesday in her native North Carolina on a CBS affiliate, adding later, “I’ll see if I have that drive again.”

Bergsma, 29, was part of the U.S. women’s team pursuit squad that took bronze in PyeongChang, the first medals in U.S. women’s speed skating since the 2002 Olympics.

This trio of Bergsma, Brittany Bowe and Mia Manganello reportedly practiced together for the first time just four or five days earlier. Bergsma had not raced a team pursuit in four years. The U.S. women didn’t outright qualify a team pursuit spot for the Games but got in when Russia was excluded as part of its doping punishments.

“When we crossed the finish line and saw that we got third, it was like a sigh of relief,” Bergsma said Tuesday. “Sometimes it’s a really good reminder that it takes a team to get where you’re going.”

It was a bit of redemption for Bergsma, a world champion and world-record holder who finished eighth, eighth and 11th in her first three individual events in PyeongChang.

Similarly, the converted inline skater went into Sochi projected to earn multiple medals by The Associated Press and Sports Illustrated and ended up with a best finish of sixth. The entire U.S. speed skating team underperformed, earning zero medals for the first time since 1984.

Bergsma’s main memory from Sochi came after that sixth-place finish in the 1000m, when she went through the media mixed zone in a daze and then broke down, alone, in an empty hallway at the Adler Arena.

Bergsma rebounded with world titles in 2015 and 2017. She broke the 1000m and 1500m world records on consecutive Saturdays in November 2015 (still holds the 1500m record).

She also married the Sochi Olympic 10,000m champion, Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands, in May 2015 and moved overseas.

“I definitely want to learn fluent Dutch,” Bergsma said Tuesday, according to the High Point Enterprise. “That’ll be the first thing when I get back. Then, I want to see career opportunities. Maybe I want to go into coaching – but definitely just younger kids. Nothing too serious. And then we’ll see where it goes.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

VIDEO: Speed skater becomes fastest man on ice in unusual record attempt

Olympic champ becomes fastest man on ice in unusual record attempt

Kjeld Nuis
Red Bull Content Pool
Leave a comment

Dutch speed skater Kjeld Nuis followed his Olympic 1000m and 1500m titles by becoming the fastest man ever on ice, according to sponsor Red Bull, in an unusual record attempt.

Nuis reached 93 kilometers per hour, or nearly 58 miles per hour, skating behind a Seat Ateca towing a wind shield for 2000m in Lulea, a city on the Northern coast of Sweden near the Arctic Circle, according to Red Bull.

Red Bull said it was not aware of any previous speed record.

Video is here.

Nuis said afterward that he started shaking at about the 90 kph mark and felt he couldn’t control his skates at that speed.

The world record for the shortest Olympic event — the 500m — on an oval is 33.98 seconds, or an average of about 33 mph.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

VIDEO: Olympic gold medalist pole vaults in Michelin Man costume

Olympic speed skating champion to retire, eyes new sport

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mo Tae-Bum, the 2010 Olympic 500m champion and 1000m silver medalist, will retire from speed skating and said he is thinking about taking up competitive cycling, according to Yonhap News Agency.

“It’s not going to be an easy challenge,” Mo said, according to the report. “But I’ve entered a few races before.”

Mo, 29, was a surprise medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Games, taking South Korea’s first Olympic title in a sport other than short track speed skating.

He came into those Olympics without a World Cup 500m podium, then beat countrymen and favorites Lee Kang-Seok and Lee Kyou-Hyuk at the Games. He also finished .18 behind Shani Davis in the 1000m.

Mo competed in two more Olympics in Sochi and PyeongChang with a best finish of fourth in the 2014 Olympic 500m. He also won world 500m titles in 2012 and 2013.

Speed skaters often train and compete in cycling. Eric Heiden, who won five speed skating golds at the 1980 Lake Placid Games, took part in the 1986 Tour de France (but didn’t finish). Canadian Clara Hughes earned two Olympic road cycling bronze medals in 1996, then four Olympic speed skating medals between 2002 and 2010.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Best speed skating moments from PyeongChang Olympics