Australia’s speed skating team have reflected on their time at the 2023 World Speed Skating Championships in Italy.
The team of 11 skaters, accompanied by their team manager Pauline Robertson, competed in multiple events and disciplines over the eight-day period from August 26 to September 3, 2023.
Australian Junior Ladies athlete Leah Crisp said the atmosphere at this year’s competition was a supportive environment.
“The atmosphere at this year’s World Championships was something else, it was not what I was expecting,” she said.
“There were so many people on the sideline cheering for you, many of them who didn’t even know us.
“Many members of the crowd were coming up to the team asking for a photo with the Australians because they love Aussies or because they used to live in Australia.
“The other competitors
were so nice and friendly even though you may have raced against them. Being able to go up to anyone and become friends was really nice.”
Teammate Daniel Bithell, one of four Australian Senior Men skaters said the skill of competitors at this year’s event was impressive.
“The level of competition in Italy this year was the peak of our sport. Record times were achieved by some of the competitors effortlessly like it was just another day in the office,” he said.
“To warm up and race against the skaters that many of us on the team all look up to was something very special.”
Junior Men’s athlete Harry Geary had one of the most impressive performances of the Australian team achieving 15th place in both the Junior Men’s 10km and 15km Elimination event.
“I am pretty happy about the results I got this year improving on some of my results from last
year,” he said.
“I would have loved to have done a bit better but I think I held my own while competing against the best skaters in the world.
“Preparing for the competition was tough, I trained 2 times sometimes 3 times a day. I
think having my father as my coach encouraging me and reminding me to train even when I didn't want to was a huge help.
“Next year I will be moving into Senior Men which will be a massive step up. I will be buckling down and stepping up the training before hopefully representing Australia at the 2024 World Championships.”
Team Manager Pauline Robertson said she was proud of the team’s efforts with many young athletes competing on the world stage for the first time.
“This was a very new team with only 5 of the 11 skaters having been to World Championships previously and 3 of them only once before, I think they handled themselves very well,” she said.
“With the sport being small in Australia I think skating in large packs was a real eye-opener for some of the athletes.
“The competition was run very well by the local organising committee, we really enjoyed our time as a team.”
Final results from the 2023 World Speed Skating Championships can be found here.