Susan Schulting made it a normally unpredictable sport again last weekend. The 23-year-old Dutchman won her first thirteen races at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland, and became a street-tall European champion before the competition.
Jeroen Otter has a buzz with winged pronouncements, but this is perhaps the most frequently used: “Nothing is certain in our sport, it’s hard to predict.”
The short track, as the Dutch national coach intended, is not a long track for speed skating, swimming or athletics; Sports in which the athletes are in their own lanes, and times of the past provide a good guarantee for the future. Short track speed skating is a contact sport where tactics, racing instinct and some luck play a major role.
However, Otter also has to admit that his leader Schulting is currently so strong that he removes nearly every uncertainty from the short path. Just like last year, she won the 500, 1000 and 1500 meters in the European Championships and was often the best in her races.
“Suzanne has at least a top speed as high as her opponents and nobody approaches her with conditions. This combination is fatal,” the national coach said. “And yes, it will be much more predictable.”
Schultung often cheered in Gdansk.
The exceptional cases often win
Simin Elistratov, who became a European champion in Gdansk for the third time in his career, was sitting next to Otter on the bus on Saturday when he suddenly had to lose something.
“This is Susan Schulting,” said the seasoned Russian. “She’s just a superwoman.” “She is very strong. She participates in the long path as if this is normal. And in the short path no one can follow her. In the beginning you already had a superwoman with Jorien ter Mors and now you did one again. Can you also be Superman?”
“It made me laugh,” says Otter, after trying to imitate Elistratov’s English with a strong Russian accent. “But it also indicates how influencing Susan’s performance abroad is and that Susan is exceptional. The exceptional cases often win.”
Schultung, who will now change the sport again and will compete in the world championships long-distance on the long track in two and a half weeks, attributes her dominance mainly to confidence.
The European champion, who has now won three times, said: “I know that I am strong and can lead courses that no one can reach in principle.” “When I saw other riders’ times this weekend, I thought: I am the best right now. Of course I had to show that in the last rounds, but it gives so much confidence that I know I am in every situation. Can solve.”