This year Polish long-track speed skaters have regularly finished world cup events with spots on the podium, and have already beaten a number of national records. All this has led experts to call this season Poland’s best ever, with pundits hoping the success will translate into medals at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympic Games in February.
Polish long-track speed skaters are having their best season ever
When the Polish women’s long-track team took the bronze in the 2010 Olympics, it was a surprise. This time, if the same team comes back without any hardware it will be a disappointment. The team has been seeded second for the games.
Right now, only the long-track teams have clinched qualifying spots for the games (the men’s team will also race in Sochi, but won’t be seeded).
For individual long-track skaters, however, the list of competitors has not yet been decided. Currently eight Polish skaters are placed high enough in the International Skating Union rankings to be able to book their tickets to Sochi, and there’s still a good chance that other Polish skaters could join them.
The string of great results this season are a surprise to many. Poland has only four ice rinks suitable for speed skaters, and all of them are outdoors, while the Olympic events are being held indoors.
Even worse, these facilities operate just three months a year, as the people managing the rinks usually wait for temperatures to drop below zero so they can save on power bills, forcing the skaters to train abroad for most of the season.
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