New Swedish skating history can be written in Calgary: “Very special”

Nils van der Poel aims to become the first skater in six minutes at 5,000 meters.

Commenting is the legend Tomas Gustafson who took Olympic gold and set a world record in the same arena in Calgary.

– I would have liked to be there, it will be very special, says the 61-year-old.

These are some of the greatest Swedish sporting moments when Tomas Gustafson won Olympic gold in the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters and broke the world record in the first-mentioned distance in Calgary in 1988.

Now we again have a Swedish skater who is the best in the world and will compete in the same arena.

At the same time as Tomas Gustafson comments in Viaplay when new Swedish sports history can be written.

“Evokes emotions”

25-year-olds Nils van der Poel won World Cup gold in the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters in Heerenveen earlier this year.

It set a new world record in the 10,000 meters with a time of 12.32.95 and at the World Cup in Salt Lake City last Friday it set a new world record in the 5,000 meters in the time of 6.01.56.

This Friday night, Nils van der Poel aims to break a new world record and get below the dream limit of six minutes.

– It is clear that it evokes emotions and evokes memories that it is in Calgary and the same arena. I can relate to a lot about the competitions. I would have liked to be there, it will be very special. Now there will not be much travel due to the pandemic, so I can comment from Stockholm. When people have asked about the expectations, I have been a bit jokingly cocky and made demands. “Swedes have broken world records there before and … it was me,” says Tomas Gustafson.

“Really tough challenge”

History is linked when we get to experience new Swedish skating successes through Tomas Gustafson.

– Two years ago I commented on the World Cup in Calgary, but then Nils van der Poel was not with. Now the competitions in Calgary get a whole new dimension for me. Then the feelings around what I did come out more, even if it is over 30 years ago. It’s clear that Calgary will be special to me. Just like with Nils Van der Poel, I was determined and trained hard. It is not something you fix in one year, but you set up a long-term plan and work according to it, says Tomas Gustafson.

The conditions are that there will be another great success this Friday night with the confident goal.

– It will be very exciting, it would be a fantastic achievement because it is a really tough challenge. He has succeeded with what he has said before. I talked to him last night and he was determined to give it a try. In the preparations, they have seen that it is possible, so that is what he is driving for now. There are still margins, he broke the world record in Salt Lake City without making an optimal race. Calgary, along with Salt Lake City, is the fastest track and is located at an altitude of 1100 meters, which is an advantage. Now Nils van der Poel also has the first inside, which he can earn at least half a second on, says Tomas Gustafson.

Tomas Gustafson.

Tomas Gustafson after the Olympic gold in Calgary in the 5,000 meters.

Big Olympic jump

Nils van der Poel also started the season by winning 5,000 meters in Poland and 10,000 meters in Stavanger at the World Cup.

– After this year’s first competition, he questioned what the competitors had done this summer. He himself feels that he is superior and he has raised the level enormously. The way he does it at a long distance has no equivalent. Because it is not the case that the others ride badly, it is that he rides so unbelievably well, says Tomas Gustafson.

At the Olympics in Beijing, Nils van der Poel is one of the biggest Swedish gold jumpers in both the long distances.

– It’s fantastic fun to follow him when he does it this way. Because he did not come back and was only in fifth-sixth place, and then fought his way up to the top. When it comes to the talk about the achievement gold, I do not think it’s just about the achievement itself, but it is the whole package Nils van der Poel with how he has taken on what he has achieved. It is so powerful, says Tomas Gustafson.

The broadcast in Viaplay starts at 20.25 on Friday night, Nils van der Poel travels 5,000 meters at 22.35 Swedish time.


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New Swedish skating history can be written in Calgary: “Very special”