The things you see when you’re a world class athlete.
Chilliwack’s Alec Janssens flew into Oslo, Norway, last Saturday night and took a shuttle 100 kilometres north to the small town of Hamar.
The next morning he got his first good look at the Hamar Olympic Hall.
It goes by another name, which made perfect sense to Janssens once he saw it.
The Viking Ship.
“It was built for the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, and I have never seen anything like it,” Janssens chuckled. “The roof is shaped like the hull of an upside down viking boat, with little windows around the bottom. It is impressive inside and out.”
Janssens is in Norway until Monday, competing in the World All-Round Speedskating Championships.
“It is the oldest championship in the world for speedskating, even older than the Olympics,” Janssens said.
It dates to 1893 and it’s difficult for anyone to get an invite. Janssens is one of four Canadians (two men, two women) in a field of elite athletes.
A strong showing at the Continental Championships got him in. That event was held in Salt Lake City, UT, in early January.
Canada sent Janssens to Norway because they believe he’s got a very good chance at success. He will compete in a minimum three races, skating in the 500, 1500 and 5000 metres.
His total time in the 500m will be combined with a third of his time in the 1500m and a 10th of his time in the 5000m to form a total Samalog time.
The top eight after those three races will compete in the 10,000m, and a champion will be crowned.
“This is my first competition at the senior level, so I’m not sure what to expect as far as results go,” the 21-year-old Sardis secondary school grad said. “But I’m really excited because it was one of my goals to qualify for this event.”
Janssens had also hoped to make his mark on the World Cup speedskating circuit this year, but a pair of bad results early have skuttled that.
“The World Cup trials were disappointing, but I managed to reset and refocus for Salt Lake City, and it turned out well,” he said. “I feel pretty good about this event, because I’m strong in the three shorter distances.”
Janssens hopes to do well enough to qualify for the World Single Distance Speedskating Championships`, taking place Mar. 21-24 in Sochi, Russia.
Good results could take the ex-Sardis Flier one step closer to his ultimate goal of competing in the Winter Olympics.
“Lots of people go their entire career without competing in an event like this, so I feel very fortunate,” Janssens said. “The plan is to focus on how I execute during the races. If I execute well, then we’ll see what happens.”
Gets results online at www.isuresults.eu/