February 18, 2018

So why are the Dutch good at speed skating?

Filed under: History,Sports by Orangemaster @ 8:45 pm

After the ridiculous comments made by American commentator Katie Couric about the Dutch dominance in speed skating being the result of skating everywhere in the winter as a mode of transport and after apologising, but only after she received, as the Dutch would say, ‘buckets of shit poured over her’, it’s probably a good idea to find out how this dominance began.

Another rookie mistake made by Couric was equating Amsterdam with the Netherlands, something that grates more than a cheese grater at a Dutch breakfast table. Most Dutch skaters, if not all of them, come from villages nowhere near Amsterdam, often in the province of Friesland where people speak Frisian as well as Dutch.

Trigger warning: people used to skate on frozen canals back in the day, but due to milder winters, canals freeze less often, so people skate indoors. And yes, this woman is trying her best to pronounce Dutch names, but ‘Koen’ is ‘Koon’, not ‘Ko-en’ and I don’t understand how we got ‘Irene Worst’ out of ‘Ireen Wüst’ (more like ‘E-rain Woost’) or Netherlands (‘lands’ should be ‘lunds’).

(Photo by Remko van Dokkum, some rights reserved)

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January 26, 2016

Alternative Elfstedentocht streams live from Austria

Filed under: Sports by Orangemaster @ 1:46 pm

On 26 January as of 7:30 CET you can follow a whole bunch of Dutch and other skaters live with commentary, interviews and Dutch music (they’re live now) who have successfully cut work and shimmied down to Austria to skate the Alternative Elfstedentocht on the picturesque Weissensee in Austria.

The speed skating crown jewel tour Elfstedentocht is a brand that’s stronger than the Olympics Games in The Netherlands where speed skaters like Sven Kramer and Ireen Wüst are more popular than football players. Truth be told, the Dutch kick major ass at speed skating.

You don’t mess with the Elfstedentocht, even an alternative one, as skate fever knows no geographic boundaries: just move the show to the snow.

And if you’re not convinced or don’t quite get it, read the amazing story of Tinus Udding who kept a piece of his big toe he lost in 1963 while skating during a very harsh edition of the Elfstedentocht.

It giet oan. (Frisian for ‘it’s on’).

(Photo by Paul van Eijden, some rights reserved)

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October 12, 2015

How not to interview a Dutch sports champion

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 10:26 am

Here’s something from the old box, as we say in Dutch: an American reporter of the NBC tries to interview Olympic gold speed skating champion Sven Kramer after his win in the 5000 metre event in Vancouver in 2010. Prefaced by a Dutch journalist saying ‘the interview started in a weird way’, Kramer tells the NBC reporter exactly what he thinks of her first question – watch the video to find out.

Part of me thinks, ‘wow, his answer was rude! And then he continues normally as if he hadn’t been rude’. The other part of me thinks, ‘wow, what an ignorant journalist asking a gold medal winner to identify themselves because if it were an American she would never have done that’.

This video fragment is like those pictures where depending how you look at them, you can see two different things, but never both at once.

(Photo of Sven Kramer by Mingo Hagen, some rights reserved)

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June 6, 2012

Speed skaters more popular than football players in the Netherlands

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 6:19 pm

Arjan Robben and Dirk Kuyt may be household names the world over, but this year they have to leave the strongest brand title to long track speed skater Sven Kramer.

A poll held by Hendrik Beerda Brand Consultancy confirms this. The first woman in the list of strongest brands is Ireen Wüst, also a speed skater, taking the number three spot between the two strikers.

A similar poll two years ago had football goalie Edwin van der Sar in the lead, but he has retired since then.

The Elfstedentocht and the Olympic Games switched positions as the most popular events, the latter taking over the number one spot, followed by the World Cup football and the Tour de France. The European Football Championship only came in fifth among events.

Outside the Netherlands Sven Kramer is perhaps best known for the gold medal he failed to win at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics due to a technicality. He has been ruling supreme in long distance and all-round championships since 2007, although he had to skip the 2010-2011 season due to an injury.

(Link: Algemeen Dagblad. Photo of Sven Kramer by Mingo Hagen, some rights reserved)

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April 18, 2012

Donald Duck a big hit in the Frisian language

Filed under: Comics,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 1:50 pm

Created in 1952, the Donald Duck weekly magazine has just been translated into Frisian, the language today’s kids would associate with speed skater Sven Kramer and supermodel Doutzen Kroes. After just three days, Donald Duck is almost sold out, with only 10,000 copies left of the original 40,000, enough to supply one tenth of the Frisian-speaking population. Donald is still speaking Dutch here, but he is doing something typically Frisian: fierljeppen (far-leaping). Frisian, as well as English, German and Dutch, are part of the same language group of West Germanic languages.

As of 27 April, they’ll print more magazines to meet the rising demand, which I would imagine also makes it a collector’s item. Just this year, we had the First ever national advert entirely in Frisian and if cutie pies like Sven and Doutzen speak Frisian, it’s bound to be increasingly trendy.

(Link: www.dehuisaanhuis.nl)

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February 11, 2010

Elfstedentocht stronger brand than Olympic Games

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 11:48 am

A recent study by HBB Consultancy revealed that the Elfstedentocht, a rare and gruelling outdoor skating race, is a better known and higher valued sports brand in the Netherlands than the Olympic Games, Algemeen Dagblad reported yesterday.

Both events are about as old, but the Elfstedentocht is held on average every seven years, when conditions in Friesland are harsh enough to freeze over 200 kilometres’ worth of canals. On the list of strong sports brands, the Olympics only get a peek in at three, after the Elfstedentocht and football goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

As for the athletes, Van der Sar is better liked among men, whereas women prefer speed skater Sven ‘Svencouver’ Kramer.

Although Ajax is rated the top brand among football teams, arch rivals Feyenoord take off with the best appreciated stadium (De Kuip).

(Photo by Remko van Dokkum, some rights reserved)

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March 17, 2009

Dissing Essent at the World Cup in Vancouver

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 9:38 am

I caught a glimpse of Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer on telly who the orange-clad audience in the stands were basically waiting for to win as expected at the World Speed Skating Championships in Vancouver, Canada last weekend. I was happy to hear that they spoke French at the event (it’s not the plague anymore), so I kept watching.

There were adverts from Dutch utility Essent that read ‘Svencouver’. If you read it in Dutch, the ‘Sven’ rhymes with ‘Van’ and it’s very cute. Essent wants to get customers to sign up with Essent under the name ‘Svencouver’ so they can get a discount depending on how many gold medals Kramer wins, which apparently is just a question of time. Problem is, they’re not an official Olympic sponsor.

In true Dutch uncle style, the Dutch Olympic committee asked Essent to lose their excellent slogan because it sounds too much like Vancouver. And that’s apparently not good because Vancouver is supposed to be synonymous with the Olympics, the five coloured rings and all, but not Essent or our man Sven.

Luckily for Essent, they also had a back up — ‘Svenergy’. In fact, Essent has no legal obligation to stop using ‘Svencouver’, but are literally being sports about it.

What bugs me is the Dutch Olympic Committee publically reprimanding a good sponsor in times of crisis.

(Link: sportwereld.nl)

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