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The nice thing about betting on skating is that you can lose yourself in it for over a quarter of a year, and then it’s over for a while. In the winter, you can enjoy skating all over the world for about four months. World Championships, European Championships, Olympic Games every four years, all-round, sprint, team pursuit. With more and more new components, betting on skating is also becoming more and more interesting.
In earlier times, skating was still sometimes used to get from A to B, mainly across ditches and rivers. Nowadays it is mainly recreational or competition skating that’s done. Skating outdoors is increasingly difficult with the hot weather, but fortunately there are plenty of indoor places about.
Betting on skating increasingly possible
If you like to bet on ice skating, you’ve had increased options in recent years. Not necessarily because of the number of tournaments, as the international skating federation ISU has curbed that number a bit. There are more and more different parts that are also becoming Olympic, and there is more diversity in the contenders.
Betting on skating is, of course, mostly about predicting the winner. Most distances and tournaments are actually quite simple: who will cross the finish line first? New events such as the mass start, team sprint, and team pursuit also involve tactics. These parts also make the various tournaments very interesting, especially as countries all over the globe have mastered them well.
How does betting on skating work?
Basically, betting on skating follows the same principle as betting on other sports. You can determine in advance the winner of a particular distance, the tournament or, for example, mutual results. If you follow skating well, you can bet better if, for example, you know who is in better shape or is going to peak at a tournament.
Of course, it is also possible to spread your odds when betting on skating. This way, you can not only predict the winner, but you can also bet on a podium finish for a skater, for example. Alternatively, you can grab several contenders at a tournament or distance, for example, to spread your odds. Betting on sports is always about how much risk you take. The higher the risk, the higher the possible payout.
What are the betting options when betting on ice skating?
As mentioned, betting on skating is more than just picking the winner. For example, sometimes bookmakers allow you to bet on the nationality of the winner. Will it be a Dutchman like Thomas Krol, or will there again be a strong Swede like Nils van der Poel. Maybe even an outsider from South Korea? Who can compete against Bart Swings on the mass start?
What about individual performance of skaters? You can bet on a skater finishing on the podium or not. If two skaters are about equally strong, bet on the one you think will skate with the best result.
Betting on skating – tournaments
Basically, the various skating tournaments today can be divided into three types. There are the all-round tournaments, where skaters ride four different distances and have to be the fastest on average. A derivative of this are the sprint tournaments, where skaters ride four sprint distances. Finally there are the distance tournaments, where prizes are distributed at each individual distance. This is why we are fans of betting on skating. There is a lot to bet on and you almost immediately understand what you are betting on.
World Championship Allround/European Championship Allround
Let’s look at all-round skating first. The men currently compete in the 500 metres, 5000 metres, 1500 metres and 10,000 metres. The women run 500, 3,000, 1,500 and 5,000 metres. All distances are counted back to the 500 metres.
Sven Kramer, Oscar Mathisen, and Clas Thunberg
Ever since the 1890s, the ISU has organised the World Allround Championships with, among the winners included, Norwegians Oscar Mathisen (five times), Ivar Ballangrud (four times), and Johan Olav Koss (three times). Of the other Scandinavians there is the Finn Clas Thunberg (five times). The all-time best are of course the Dutch, with champions Sven Kramer with nine titles, followed by Rintje Ritsma (four), Ard Schenk and Patrick Roest (three times).
The European Allround Speed Skating Championships also date back to the 1890s and have mostly the same winners among men as the World Allround Championships. Indeed, all-round skating is truly a ‘European party’.
Gunda Niemann, Ireen Wüst and Martina Sablikova
Among women, the World Allround Championship has been held since 1936, the European Allround Championship only since 1970. The Soviet Union was supreme at the Women’s World Allround Championships in the 1950s and 1960s and are the record holder there with 24 titles. The Netherlands follows with 16 titles, including seven for Ireen Wüst and four for Atje Keulen-Deelstra. Germany (12) and East Germany (10) together are actually above the Netherlands. Mainly due to record holder Gunda Niemann (8) and the (slightly too?) strong East German women from the 1980s. Martina Sablikova, by the way, is third behind Niemann and Wüst with five titles. The same ladies, also including Anni Friesinger, show up as the strongest at the European Allround Championships.
World Sprint Championship / European Sprint Championship
The first World Sprint Championship was held in 1970. The ‘intermediate’ EK sprint has only been around since 2017, every two years. Tip for anyone betting on skating, especially when it comes to sprints: the form of the day is often decisive.
Eric Heiden, Igor Zhelezovsky, and Jeremy Wotherspoon
The first multiple winner was Eric Heiden from 1977-1980. The American who, of course, won all five gold medals at the Olympics in 1980, hitherto unprecedented. Between 1985 and 1993, Russian Igor Zhelezovsky took the title six times and in 1998, Jan Bos was the first Dutch world sprint champion.
This was followed by the era of four-time winner Jeremy Wotherspoon. Erben Wennemars broke his hegemony in 2004 and 2005. After four titles for Kyou-hyuk Lee, the best sprinters included Stefan Groothuis, Michel Mulder, Pavel Kulizhnikov and, in 2021, Thomas Krol.
American and (East) German women
Among women in the 1980s, East German Karin Enke won many European Championships and World Championships in sprinting and allround. We now know that there is more to this, as it has since been revealed that the skater used additional substances to enhance her performance. Monique Garbrecht and Bonnie Blair’s titles are more to be trusted.
Frequently Asked Questions about Betting on Speed Skating
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With the men, Sven Kramer can actually be designated as the best of all time. He won the most World Cup all-round and European Championship all-round titles, and has four Olympic gold medals (nine total). Clas Thunberg and Eric Heiden do have one more gold medal. Five-time world all-round champion Oscar Mathisen was unlucky that in his time skating was not yet Olympic. In the women’s event, we are of course looking at six-time Olympic champion Ireen Wüst. Gunda Niemann was supreme in allround, but like compatriot Rintje Ritsma, did not win that much at the Olympics
Each distance counts equally on average. The time ridden in seconds per distance is kept. And each distance is converted back to the 500 metres. A points total is then produced from that. The person with the fewest points becomes the champion.
Strikingly, the clap skate had first been developed as early as the late 19th century. A skate with a hinge in the middle to provide an extra blow when landing on the ice. In 1980, the clap skate was ‘officially’ invented by motion scientist Gerrit Jan van Ingen Schenau. It was not until the mid-1990s that this skate was used by the world’s top skaters. First were the Dutch, who were suddenly a lot stronger than the rest of the world as a result for one or two years.
It sounds like something medieval, but actually it is a ranking of skaters based on their personal records. The fastest times on the all-round distances are taken together for a point total. Due to clap skates and better suits, among other things, the skaters of yesteryear are not at the top. Kees Verkerk and Ard Schenk did dominate the list for a long time. Currently, Patrick Roest is the leader in the men ahead of Shani Davis, Sven Kramer and Chad Hedrick. In the women, Cindy Klassen has been the leader since 2001 ahead of Miho Takagi and Irene Schouten. Ireen Wüst is only sixth, mainly due to her 5000 metres. Gunda Niemann did lead for a long time, but not as long as Klassen.
The major speed skating tournaments include the Winter Olympics, the World Single Distance Championships, the World Allround Championships, and the World Sprint Championships.