Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
For 130 years, the European All-round Speed Skating Championships have been held. The Netherlands and Norway dominated, but who is the best and how can you bet on European Allround skating?
The European Allround Speed Skating Championship is one of the oldest sports tournaments in the world. As early as 1891, the first tournament was held for the men. Only 80 years later it was the womens’ turn. We take a closer look at the format, history and statistics of this tournament. Of course we look at all the options for betting on European Allround Speed Skating.
Format – European Allround Speed Skating Championship
For many years we have known the simple set-up of all-round speed skating: the person with the average fastest time over four distances wins the tournament. However, it has not always been this way, at both the World Allround Skating Championships and the European Allround Skating Championships.
In fact, from the first tournament in 1891 through 1907, you could only become champion if you won at least three distances. From 1891 through 1895, there were also only three distances:1/3 mile, 1 mile, and 3 miles – roughly the 500 meters, 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters converted. In 1896, the 10,000 meters was added. Because of this rule, there were four tournaments without a winner because no one won three distances.
Three distance wins or fewest points
Starting in 1908, a winner was designated anyway. If someone won three of the four distances, they were the European all-around champion anyway. If not, the person with the fewest distance points would be champion. If you came first at a distance you got 1 point, the number 2 got 2 points, and so on.
In 1926 and 1927 the second condition for the championship (winning after three distances) became the number of points against the prevailing world records. From 1928 there was the rule that if no one won three distances, the total points were considered as we do today. Only in 1987 was the rule of “winning three distances = champion” abolished.
History – European Allround Speed Skating Championships
The very first European All-round Speed Skating Championship for men was held in 1891 in Hamburg, in what was then the German Empire. An only 17-year-old at the time Jaap Eden (later a three-time World Allround champion) competed on behalf of the Netherlands as did his compatriot Klaas Pander, against mainly a lot of Germans. There was no champion because no skater won all three distances. The same was true in 1892 in Vienna, despite only four skaters competing. The Swede Rudolf Ericsson was therefore the first European all-around champion in 1893.
Until World War I, Norway in particular often took the title. Peder Østlund won in 1899 and 1900, Rudolf Gundersen won three times between 1901-1906. And the legendary Oscar Mathisen won the tournament three times between 1909-1914. Mathisen’s misfortune was that World War I caused his career to end early.
Thunberg, Ballangrud, Andersen and first Dutchman
Even after World War I it was mainly the Finns, Norwegians, and sometimes a stray Austrian who won the championship. The Finn Clas Thunberg collected four golds and four silver in ten years. The Norwegian Ivar Ballangrud was one of his biggest rivals and also became European champion four times.
After another World War, Norwegian Hjalmar Andersen dominated in the early 1950s with three wins in a row. In 1953, after 60 years, there was the first Dutch winner of the European All-round speed skating championship. Kees Broekman became champion, after finishing second a year earlier. Wim van der Voort finished second, which he had also been in 1951.
Soviet Union and more Norwegians
Notable was a dominance of the Soviet Union after Broekman’s title. Between 1954 and 1965, the European champion was from the Soviet Union eight times. Ard Schenk became the second Dutch winner in 1966, a year later he was joined by his buddy Kees Verkerk. Schenk later won two more times, but for Verkerk it remained just the one title.
After the era of Ard and Kees, it was time again for the Norwegians with sometimes an occasional Swede or Russian in between. Kay Arne Stenshjemmet stood on the podium five times between 1976 and 1981: twice gold, twice silver, and once bronze. Jan Egil Storholt and Sten Stensen provided even more Norwegian medals during that time.
Return of the Netherlands
In 1979, Hilbert van der Duim had become Dutch all-around champion for the first time. He even became Dutch champion six times in a row. Starting in 1981, he also mixed in the European field. After silver and bronze, he took the European title in 1983 and 1984. Hein Vergeer ensured four Dutch final victories in a row by winning in 1985 and 1986. Leo Visser and Bart Veldkamp took their only titles in 1989 and 1990, respectively.
In 1991, the then very strong Johan Olav Koss (from Norway, of course) won the European Allround Championships, at the time he also won the World Allround Championships (1990 and 1991). However, Koss would become European champion only once. Three years in a row he finished second – twice behind Falko Zandstra and in 1994 behind Rintje Ritsma. After the successful 1994 Lillehammer Olympics with three golds, Koss put a stop to his career at the age of 26.
From Rintje Ritsma to Sven Kramer
The year 1994 was the beginning of the Ritsma era. The Bear from Lemmer won six of the seven European Championships and only once had to let Ids Postma take the win. In the early 2000s there were five winners in six years (four times the Netherlands), with only two titles for Jochem Uytdehaage. From 2007, the Netherlands could enjoy the Sven Kramer show.
Until 2019, he won ten tournaments and in between only Ivan Skobrev and Jan Blokhuijsen were allowed to win once in the absence of King Kramer. Otherwise, Blokhuijsen and especially Håvard Bøkko had to make do with second and third places. The current European champion is Patrick Roest, who won in 2021. As of 2017, by the way, the tournament will be held every two years, due to the busy calendar.
History EK Allround women
With the women, history is a lot shorter. From 1970-1974, the tournament was held for the first time, with two titles for Russian Nina Statkevich and three for Dutch Atje Keulen-Deelstra. After a six-year absence, the women’s tournament returned in 1981. From then on, it was mainly (East) Germany that punched the clock.
Andrea Mitscherlich became European champion five times in six years, with three times Yvonne van Gennip behind her in second place. Starting in 1989, Gunda Niemann would dominate with her unorthodox, yet powerful technique. She won seven of eight tournaments until 1996, after which we saw Dutch success. Tonny de Jong became champion in 1997 and 1999, mainly due to advantage of the Dutch clap skate.
Statistics – European Allround Speed Skating Championship
In individual statistics, it’s the Dutch up top, with ten titles for Sven Kramer and six for Rintje Ritsma. Clas Thunberg and a whole bunch of Norwegians were also multiple champions. In the overall standings, Norway reigns. They provided the European champion 38 times, with the Netherlands close behind at 36 champions. Miles behind them we find the Soviet Union and Sweden at 10 each, and Finland at 7. Sven Kramer is also the best in terms of distance medals with 32, including 23 gold. Clas Thunberg follows close at 29 medals, of which 17 are gold.
Among women, Gunda Niemann is the all-time best with eight wins, as well as 44 distance medals (28 gold). Ireen Wüst, Martina Sablikova, Anni Friesinger and Andrea Mitscherlich became European champions five times each. Claudia Pechstein and Atje Keulen-Deelstra three times. The same names are also found in the medals per distance.
Another interesting statistic is that Thialf was by far the most often the organizing venue of the European Allround Championships. The Eisstadion in Davos was used 11 times for the men, but for the last time in 1972. Interestingly, the European Allround was only five times in Hamar’s Vikingskipet, last in 2014.
Betting Markets – European Allround Speed Skating Championship
When betting on skating, there are often a number of odds (betting markets) to choose from. We explain some of the ones you can choose from.
Betting on European Skating All-Around Championships – overall winner
The most obvious betting market is, of course, the outright winner of the tournament. In the men’s and women’s events, it has become a lot more exciting now that Sven Kramer and Ireen Wüst have quit.
Betting on European All-round Speed Skating Championships – nationality of the winner
Often when betting on sports, you can also bet on another outright market. For example, you may be able to predict the nationality of the winner. That increases your odds, at naturally slightly lower odds. Will it be a Dutchman or perhaps someone from a Scandinavian country after all?
Betting on European All-round Speed Skating Championships – winner per distance
An all-round tournament is naturally held over four distances. The average best skater wins, but its not always the case that the champion wins many distances. Short and long-distance specialists sometimes compete. When betting on the European allround, this is perhaps one of the most fun betting markets.
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European Allround Skating is a long track speed skating championship that determines the best all-round skater in Europe across various distances.
The first European Allround Skating championship took place in 1889 in Amsterdam, making it one of the oldest skating events in the world.
Norwegian speed skater Ivar Ballangrud holds the record for the most European Allround Skating titles, winning seven championships between 1926 and 1936.
- Sven Kramer (Netherlands): Dominated the event with multiple titles and world records.
- Johann Olav Koss (Norway): Renowned for his remarkable performances in the 1990s.
- Atje Keulen-Deelstra (Netherlands): Legendary Dutch skater and five-time champion.
The championship is held annually at different ice rinks across Europe, often during the winter season.