ISU Congress

16-20 June 2008 The ISU Ordinary Congress (52nd edition) took place in Monaco. Over 200 delegates from over 70 Members from all five continents had been welcomed to Monaco by HSH Prince Albert of Monaco. ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta officially opened the first session on Monday 16 June and spoke enthusiastically on the future of skating. He said on Friday that the participation of so many Members from such a wide geographical area positively highlights the extent of interest in the ISU sport disciplines and reflects favorably on the future of ice

Cindy Klassen not racing this fall

Cindy Klassen will not travel to Europe for the fall World Cups. She won’t be racing as she had double knee surgery about 2 months ago.  It is uncertain how long it will take to recover. She says: “I guess it’s better now than next year!  I’m ok though, and it is giving me more time to go to school and spend more time with God.”

Rintje Ritsma ends career

Rintje Ritsma, four times world champion allround, has announced today that he will stop with competitive speed skating. Six Olympic medals are his, but none of them gold. Otherwise, his merits are top.

Four times World Allround Champion, last time in 2001, Budapest, six times European Champion, first time in 1994, Hamar.  Besides, he was twice world distance champion. Remarkable is, that these distance titles were both outdoors, and also in Budapest, we witnessed how the outdoor hero, who did not qualify other than as a reserve on the Dutch indoor qualifying competition, could profit from his chance to take a spot after all. His message was: “Never count me out!”

He was also the first one who managed to have a professional skating team, instead of training in the national team. He is the great initiator of the Teams system as we know it now, and featured in the tv commercial of his sponsor Sanex: naked in a (bubble) bath.

He skated his last lap on ‘Flevonice’ on inlines. In nature, with his little dog running with him.  “My body gets older and last season for the first time I could achieve my goals. Not just competing, but also in training. A back that gets worse is partly to blame.” Well, he lasted until age 38, an achievement in itself.

He won’t be bored. Not just his hobbies (including sailing) will keep him busy. He will be a member of the Dutch committee of Ard Schenk, that tries to rejuvenate the Dutch Skating Federation KNSB and create better chances for top athletes. Besides, he is asked to help in the board of the Dutch bob sledge Federation.


European Champion: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000.

World Champion allround: 1995, 1996 (outdoor, Inzell), 1999, 2001 (outdoor, Budapest)

World Champion 1500m and 5000m in 1997. (outdoor, Warsaw)

Olympic silver on 1500m (1994 behind Koss) and 5000m (1998 behind Romme); bronze on 1500m (1998), 5000m (1994) and 10,000m (1998). Bronze with the Dutch team in the Team Pursuit (2006).

Jan Ykema coach of APPM

Jan Ykema is back into skating. A bit more grey than when he won his Olympic silver in 1988, a bit wiser. A man who knows what it is to fall and get back on your feet again. But that was something he already did when he was a 17-year-old.

After his career he started enjoying the good life. Had a business as an estate agent, had a good woman… but fell into what they call the ‘black hole’ after a sporting career. Cocaine became a problem, caused problems. Eventually, he lived in his car on a parking spot in Harlingen.

Since a few years, he is clean, got himself together and held talks in schools to warn young people against addictions. Now he has started as assistent coach with APPM, under supervision of Johan de Wit, the main coach. A lot changed, but Jan is determined to learn and get his coaches’ licence. Much to his joy, Henk Gemser contacted him to help him get that going as fast as possible. And much to his joy, as he put it: “The people who cared for me in the old days, are the people who still care for me.”

He will work in Team APPM, based in Heerenveen, with Jacques de Koning, Lars Elgersma, Boris Kusmirak, Yuri Solinger, Rhian Ket.

Almost over

It’s almost over for me. This website will continue to exist, probably, for the time being, for  a bit. But I won’t be the regular updater, because it won’t bring me any money any more. Just today and tomorrow, until the last day of September, your visit will pay me a cent per hit.

I started as a journalist about when Rintje started in the national team. I started working for a skating magazine, when he started to beat Falko Zandstra (the 1993/94 season). I started my own skating magazine in 1995. I had to quit after ten years of publishing the magazine, because my heart couldn’t handle it any more and demanded all attention.

I’ve tried to get back with this website. I was lucky to find Aegon as a sponsor (you may click on their banner on the fronte page to reward them, too), and they enabled me financially to continue with the good deal. But my heart is still urging me to take it more easy, and the medicine I take doesn’t help my memory and my alertness, which were two great helps in my career as speedskating journalist.

It will be good for me not to have to follow the news so closely and not to spend much time at the computer. I’m working on being the best piano teacher I can be. But I’ve enjoyed my good years in skating and hope I will still keep some friends from those days…

NOR – Olaf Poulsen died

Olaf Poulsen died a couple of days ago, aged 88. Poulsen was president of the Norwegian Skating Federation from 1969 to ’73, and president
of the ISU from 1980 to ’94, after which as honorary member he still used to regularly attend skating competitions with his wife. He was also a member of the IOC for some years.