Speedskaters Femke Kok and Nils van der Poel set splendid track records during the World Cup in Utah Olympic Oval last weekend. Kok set a new Dutch track record on the 500m on Friday and van der Poel has a new world record on the 5000m.
Femke Kok surpasses herself
Kok put up a great performance on the women’s 500 metres on Friday. She then finishes third and knocked Thijsje Oenema out of the Dutch record books after almost nine years by clocking in on 37.01 seconds.
On the second racing day, she had to compete against the Dutch Jutte Leerdam in stage seven. However, it was not really a match due to a remarkable start, in which Leerdam inexplicably stood still at the start signal. The moment the starts signal was fired, Kok immediately took off. Leerdam was left surprised and curse words formed on her lips. Kok continued the race on her own and with 36.96 seconds on the clock, she was able to add her name to the National record books. Kok is the first Dutch speedskating woman ever to break the 37-second barrier!
“To be honest, I would drive another 500 meters right now, because I am sure that I can do it even faster.”
She once again showed that she had a good day and that the odds were in her favor. She surpassed herself with a new personal best time of 1.12,87 seconds. A big improvement on the previous best score of 1.14,07 seconds.
Nils van der Poel sets a world record
Van der Poel skated to a new world record in the men’s 5000 metres on Friday. He has taken over the world record from Ted-Jan van Bloemen with a time of 6.01,56.
The new record time of van der Poel has, naturally, resulted in a gold medal on the 5000 meters. The Dutch Patrick Soest finished second place, almost three seconds behind. Van der Poel saw his opponent Alex Roemjantsjes leave quickly in the first lap, but after two laps Nils accelerated himself. He was faster than Ted-Jan’s former schedule, with all laps low in the 28 seconds. In the final laps, van der Poel gave in to the schedule of the world record, but in the end, he had 0.3 seconds left.
“We didn't know what to expect and just went for it and saw where it would lead to.”
Van der Poel himself called it a race that was not completely balanced. He had a slow start and couldn't get the right speed on his first lap. During his second lap, he tried to compensate for this and eventually had to recover from this. Immediately afterward, van der Poel drove so relaxedly that it seemed as if he had just completed his warm-up.