World Allround Speed Skating Championship

Do you want to become as successful as the top skaters, but with bets on World Allround Speed Skating? The perfect preparation starts here.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

The World Allround Speed Skating Championship is actually the title for the ultimate skater. That immediately makes betting on the World Allround Speed Skating Championships extra interesting. Sven Kramer and Ireen Wüst were certainly successful, but who else?

The Netherlands has historically been one of the best countries at the World Allround Speed Skating Championships. There is much more to discover about this 130-plus-year-old tournament. We take a closer look at the format, history and statistics of this tournament. Of course we look at all the possibilities for betting on World Allround Speed Skating.

Format – World Allround Speed Skating Championships

Like other all-round tournaments, the set-up of the World Allround has by no means always been as we know it today. In fact, due to a certain rule, there have been no World Allround champion as many as seven times while the tournament has been run.

In fact, from the first edition in 1889 through 1907, skaters had to win three distances to claim the title of world all-round champion. The first championship in 1889 at the Museumplein in Amsterdam was run over three distances, English distances. The half-mile (805 meters), 1 mile (1609 meters) and 2 miles (3219 meters). The best four in qualifying for each distance qualified for the final at the same distance. Starting in 1890, the 5 mile (8.05 kilometers) was added as a distance.

Win three distances, otherwise least points

From 1908, fortunately, a world all-around champion could be designated every year (with the exception of WWI and WWII), because winning three distances still automatically made you world champion. BOtherwise the person with the fewest distance points (first – 1 point, second – 2 points) was considered. In 1926 and 1927 the distances ridden were compared with the world records of the time.

After that, it was three distance wins or else the fewest total points, i.e., the point total as we know it today). In other words, counting the time at each distance back to the 500 meters. From 1987 you no longer automatically became champion if you won three distances, that rule was jettisoned in that year.

History – World All-round Speed Skating Championships

In 1889, three years before the founding of skating federation ISU, the first World All-round Speed Skating Championship was already organized. The location was at the Museumplein in Amsterdam. Russian Aleksandr Panshin won all the qualifications and the finals in the half-mile and full mile. Only he had to beat American Joe Donoghue in the two-mile final. As a result, Panshin was not allowed to call himself world all-around champion.

In subsequent years, Museumplein was the setting for the tournament each time. And in 1891, at the third edition, a world champion finally arrived. An old acquaintance, as Joe Donoghue then won all distances. In 1893 Jaap Eden won in Amsterdam, even though he had not even finished the 10 kilometers. He had already won the 500, 5000 and 1500 meters, but crashed in the first lap of the 10 kilometer run. He didn’t even have to finish that one because of his three previous distance victories, so he didn’t either. In 1895 and 1896 Jaap Eden won the tournament again, then organized in other countries.

Norway, Finland and Russia

In the late 19th century there were also the first Norwegian world champions. In 1905, Coen de Koning was the second Dutchman amid four undecided championships. Between 1908 and 1939, the World All-Around Speed Skating Championships were dominated by three countries: Norway, Finland, and Russia. The legendary Oscar Mathisen (Norway) and Clas Thunberg (Finland) won five times each.

Until World War II, you coul hardly see other nationality on the podium. In 25 editions, Norway won gold 17 times, Finland six times, and the Soviet Union twice. Only eight times was someone from another country on the podium.

Soviet Union

After World War II, there was the brief hegemony of Hjalmar Andersen. From 1950-1952 he became three times in a row world champion and European all-around champion. In the 1950s, the Soviet Union had probably discovered a panacea. Because then they did occupy the podium very often, culminating in three world titles for Oleg Gonksjarenko.

Eric Heiden, Hilbert van der Duim, Hein Vergeer

The Netherlands alternated world titles with other countries every few years. Eric Heiden, the man of five golds at the 1980 Olympics, had been world all-around champion the previous three years. Hilbert van der Duim then took the world title twice in the early 1980s, succeeded each time by a Norwegian. In 1985 and 1986 Hein Vergeer managed to hold off the 1984 champion – Russian Oleg Bozhev – twice.

Koss, Ritsma, Postma – and the rest

After Leo Visser’s world title in 1989, a wonderful time began in all-round speed skating. The battle was between Johan Olav Koss from Norway and a lot of Dutchmen. Koss became world champion in 1990 and 1991, years in which he competed against Bart Veldkamp and also Roberto Sighel, the good-humored forester from Italy. Sighel surprisingly became champion in 1992, ahead of Falko Zandstra and Koss. In 1993 Zandstra took the title ahead of Koss and the then young Rintje Ritsma. In his last year of skating, 1994, Koss won the world title once more.

After that it became a battle of the Dutch with the occasional Sighel or the Japanese Keiji Shirahata ‘allowed’ to stand on the podium. Ritsma eventually took four world titles, Ids Postma two (and in addition four times silver). Gianni Romme and Jochem Uytdehaage became world champions twice and once, respectively. They did so at a time when they also both won the 5 and 10 kilometers at the Olympics. Romme in 1998, Uytdehaage in 2002.

From the U.S. to Kramer to Van der Poel

The early 2000s saw another such “alternation” between the Netherlands and another country. After nine Dutch world titles in a row, it was ‘USA time’ from 2004-2006. Chad Hedrick won in 2004 before Shani Davis, in 2005 it was the other way around and in 2006 Davis won again. With Davis’ world titles, a young Sven Kramer had already finished third twice. And starting in 2007, it was his time.

From 2007 through 2017, he won every World Allround Championship (and European Allround Championship) he participated in. In 2011 and 2014 he did not ride any allround tournaments and as a precaution for injuries. Ivan Skobrev and Koen Verweij became the world champions in those years, respectively. In 2018, Patrick Roest took over with three titles in a row, but in 2022 he had to acknowledge his superiority to Swede Nils van der Poel. The Norwegians, in the form of Håvard Bøkko and Sverre Lunde Pedersen, had to mostly clap from another podium spot in the last 15 years: both finished second four times and third once.

Women’s World All-round speed skating history

The first Women’s World All-round Speed Skating Championships were held in 1933, although there were mostly Norwegian participants. In 1936, the ISU took over the organization and it became official. Laila Schou Nilsen was the first multiple winner with three titles in the 1930s. There must have been “something in the water” in the post-World War II Soviet Union. From 1948 through 1966, there was only one non-Russian winner. Even the Numbers 2 and 3 were almost all from the Soviet Union.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Netherlands came around the corner. Stien Kaiser won two titles and came in second four times, Atje Keulen-Deelstra became world champion four times. After a few more Russian ladies, in the 1980s it was time for the East Germans. From 1982 through 1990, the world champion each time came from East Germany.

Niemann, Friesinger and Wüst-Sablikova

Starting in 1991, it was Germany’s Gunda Niemann who imposed her will on the skating world. Until 1999, she became champion every year except 1994. After that, it was her compatriot Anni Friesinger who became three-time world champion. Eternal runner-up Claudia Pechstein (eight times!) grabbed the title in between in 2000.

From 2007, there was the battle between Martina Sablikova and Ireen Wüst at every skating tournament. Until 2020, they divided 12 titles between them: seven for Wüst and five for Sablikova. In addition, only Paulien van Deutekom and Miho Takagi were allowed to take the title once. In 2022 it was Irene Schouten, queen of the Beijing Olympics, who won the world title.

Statistics – World All-round Speed Skating Championships

We asked at the beginning whether Sven Kramer and Ireen Wüst were the best of all time. Kramer certainly was among the men, with nine titles. Clas Thunberg and Oscar Mathisen follow at five, Ivar Ballangrud and Rintje Ritsma at four. Among women, Ireen Wüst, with her seven world titles, is one short of Gunda Niemann. Sablikova and East German Karin Enke are on five.

Sven Kramer also won the most distances: 20 gold, 29 medals in all. Mathisen, Ballangrud and Thunberg are below Kramer, as is Jaap Eden with 11 distance wins. Among women, Ireen Wüst has by far the most medals at distances (47), but won “only” 15. Gunda Niemann has 32 medals, but 24 golds. Martina Sablikova is in between with 20 gold and 27 total.

Betting Markets – World Allround Speed Skating Championships

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 World speed skating all-round – distances

Four distances, men and women. So eight distances in total. Eight different possibilities for picking winners.

Betting on World Speed Skating Allround – winner

In addition to the various distances, you can of course also predict the world champion for the men and women. Do you have any idea who is in the best shape?

Betting on World Speed Skating All-Round – mutual battle

In sports betting, you can often bet on a battle between two athletes. Whether they win or not, who do you think will perform best of the two?

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  • What is World Allround Skating?

    World Allround Skating is a classic speed skating event that combines races of various distances to determine the most well-rounded skater.

  • How are the distances structured in World Allround Skating?

    Skaters compete in four distances: 500m, 1500m, 5000m (men)/3000m (women), and 10,000m (men)/5000m (women).

  • When did World Allround Skating gain popularity?

    World Allround Skating dates back to the late 19th century and has evolved into a prestigious competition.

  • Who are some prominent World Allround Skating champions?

    Legendary skaters like Sven Kramer from the Netherlands and Martina Sáblíková from the Czech Republic have dominated the scene.

  • Are there any specific countries known for their dominance in this discipline?

    Netherlands, Norway, and Russia have consistently produced top-tier World Allround skaters.

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