Speed skating is one of the various competitive ice skating sports. Like athletes on a race track, skaters compete against each other on an ice rink or oval, usually at speeds between 30 mph (48.2km/h) and 35 mph (56.3 km/h). Dig into this article to learn more about the top 10 most famous female speed skaters.
Exploring speed skating history reveals the sport started in the Netherlands in the 1200s. After centuries, the sport made its Olympic debut in Chamonix in 1924. Before joining the Olympics, the Elfstedentocht, a 200km skating event, was held during the winter in the Netherlands.
Women's speed skating
Since the 13th century, famous individuals such as Marie Antoinette and Johann Von Goethe skated leisurely. However, women were only officially allowed to participate in the Elfstedentocht in 1985. Although speed skating became an event in the Winter Olympics in 1924, women's events were added in 1960.
Athletes such as Dutch female speed skater Ireen Wüst have risen to the top of leader boards in the sport. Which other women have made history in the sport?
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Top 5 female Olympic speed skaters
Here are the best female speed skaters of all time, according to statistics provided by RookieRoad and the Olympics Hall of Fame.
Gunda Niemann - Stirnemann
1998 Nagano Gold - 3000 metres 1998 Nagano silver - 1500, 5000 metres 1994 Lillehammer silver - 5000 metres 1992 Albertville Gold - 3000, 5000 metres
Anni Friesinger - Postma
2010 Vancouver gold -Team Pursuits 2006 Turin bronze - 1000 metres 2006 Turin gold - Team Pursuits 2002 Salt Lake City gold - 1500 metres 1998 Nagano bronze - 3000 metres
Karin Enke Richter
1988 Calgary silver - 1000, 1500 metres 1984 Sarajevo gold - 1000, 1500 metres 1984 Sarajevo silver - 3000, 500 metres 1980 Lake Placid gold - 500 metres
2006 Turin gold - Team Pursuits 2006 Turin silver - 5000 metres 2002 Olympic Gold - 3000, 5000 metres 1998 Nagano gold - 5000 metres 1998 Nagano silver - 3000 metres 1994 Lillehammer gold - 5000 metres 1992 Albertville bronze - 5000 metres
2022 Beijing gold - 1500 metres 2022 Beijing bronze - Team Pursuit 2018 PyeongChang gold - 1500 metres 2018 PyeongChang silver - Team Pursuit, 3000 metres 2014 Sochi silver - 1000, 1500, 5000 metres 2014 Sochi silver - Team Pursuit, 3000 metres 2010 Vancouver gold - 1500 metres 2006 Turin bronze - 1500 metres 2006 Turin gold - 3000 metres
1994 Lillehammer gold - 1000, 500 metres 1992 Albertville gold - 1000, 500 metres 1988 Calgary bronze - 1000 metres 1988 Calgary gold - 500 metres
Top 10 most famous speed skaters in the world right now
10. Arianna Fontana
Being one of the most prolific Olympic short-track speed skaters, the Italian athlete's popularity has increased following her performance at the world championships. In addition, Arianna Fontana's Olympic performances have earned her eight medals, including one gold medal and the Forbes 30 Under 30 title.
9. Maryna Zuyeva
Zuyeva was one of Belarus' Olympic athletes representing the country in the 2022 Beijing Winter games. Although the Belarusian political controversies shadowed the player's performance, she is still one of the top female speed skaters.
8. Suzanne Schulting
According to Gracenote Olympic, Schutling won all available titles at a single world championship breaking Sylvie Daigle's 1983 record. In addition, Suzanne Schulting's performance in the 2022 Olympics was dedicated to her deceased teammate, Lara Van Ruijven.
7. Ivanie Blondin
The 32-year-old (as of August 2022) Canadian long-track female speed skater is a three-time Olympic champion. Ivanie Blondin's Olympic medal count currently stands at one gold and silver medal, with five gold medals in the 2019 World Single Distances Championships individual events.
6. Catriona Le May Doan
Le May Doan is Canada's three-time Female Athlete of the Year award winner and four-time Olympian who holds two gold medals in the 500 meters events. In addition, Catriona Le May Doan's important role as the Chef de Mission of the Beijing 2022 Olympics made her more popular.
5. Miho Takagi
Takagi holds seven Olympic medals for Japan. The short-track speed skater and her sister, Nana Takagi, are both Olympians.
4. Irene Schouten
Schouten's popularity skyrocketed, earning the Queen of Beijing Ice title after a triple gold medal win. She is also an inline and figure skater and professional cyclist.
3. Brittany Bowe
UDHowever, during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, fans wondered why Brittany Bowe gave up her spot to her teammate, Erin Jackson. Bowe spoke to Olympics.com about the incident, saying,
"We met up for a brief moment and I needed to tell Erin that at the end of the day, if it comes down to it, she can have my spot. Ithought she earned it and she deserved it over her performance from the first four World Cups."
2. Erin Jackson
Currently, Erin is the most famous black female speed skater. She became the first black gold medalist in the sport after her long-time friend Brittany Bowe conceded, giving her a spot at the Olympic games.
1. Jutta Leerdam
Jutta is undoubtedly the most beautiful female speed skater in the world. The world champion has gained a large following on social media, including over 3 million followers on Instagram.
Lara Van Ruijven
Lara is remembered as a World champion skater who became the first Dutch athlete to win a gold medal in the short track races. She also won nine titles, including five gold medals and one bronze medal.
Unfortunately, in 2020, Lara van Ruijven succumbed to an autoimmune illness at a hospital in France where she was training. Her funeral was attended by hundreds of fans and skaters from all around the world.
Although former British female speed skater Elise Christie retired in 2021, citing an unsuccessful career, she is one of the only European athletes who left the 2010 Olympic games with two gold medals. While her absence was felt in GB's 2022 speed skaters' team, she hopes to return to the team as a coach.
Female speed skaters have recently gotten global recognition for their roles. In addition, Erin Jackson's groundbreaking presence and success pave the way for more diversity in the games.
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