Flying Dutchman Nuis breaks 100 kph barrier on natural ice

Three-time Winter Olympic champion speed skater Kjeld Nuis has become the first person to break the 100 kph barrier, shattering his own record set four years ago.

Kjeld Nuis

FILE PHOTO: Three-time Winter Olympic champion speed skater Kjeld Nuis.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Three-time Winter Olympic champion speed skater Kjeld Nuis has become the first person to break the 100 kph barrier, shattering his own record set four years ago.

Nuis, who won gold medals at the Pyeongchang and Beijing Games in the 1,000m and 1,500m races, clocked 103 kph in Tynset, Norway -- 10 kph faster than his previous record set four years ago in Sweden.

On a 3km-long natural ice rink on Savalen Lake, Nuis skated behind a shield called a 'wind catcher' dragged by a Dakar Rally car to reduce wind resistance and allow him to break the record.

"That 100kph limit kept gnawing at me... I'm in great shape and so I had to skate that 100 kph," Nuis said.

 

"I was literally flying over the ice. Every little bump felt like a threshold... Skating that fast is technically challenging and requires precision. Moreover, I skated more than two kilometres on each attempt, which I never do in competition.

"So today's tactic was to skate as far as possible into the wind catcher, so that I had enough energy left to make the acceleration from 92 kph to over 100 kph. It was very hard on my body. This is really the maximum that is possible on skates."

The driver behind the wheel of the car was American Seth Quintero, who won 12 stages in the Light Prototype category at this year's Dakar Rally.

"The biggest challenge for me was to accelerate in the right way. I've also never felt so much tension at such a low speed," he said.

"On the other hand, while riding on the ice, I couldn't imagine anyone achieving that kind of speed with their own legs."

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