Not quite Blades of Glory: Daniel Greig's Blog

30 April 2013

BLOG: Since Speed Skating is a minority sport here in Australia, I suppose I should probably explain first what it is so you know what I am talking about from now on. When I tell people that I am a speed skater, some of the immediate responses include:

  • "Oh like in Blades of Glory!" (the movie with Will Ferrell wearing a Leotard. No, but that movie is pretty funny);
  • "I’ve never heard of that" (a pretty standard one);
  • "So what tricks can you do?" (I can skate backwards I guess??);
  • "Like that sport where everyone fell over and that guy won?” (That last instance most people remember is from Short Track Speed Skating, where in the 1000m final at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics everyone fell over and Steven Bradbury from Australia skated past for the win. Short Track is basically as it’s name describes, speed skating on a shorter track and some other major difference that aren’t important right now).

Racing at the 2013 Salt Lake City World Cup.
What I do is Long Track Speed Skating, which is, for lack of a better analogy, the track athletics of the Winter Olympics. Except we wear blades on the bottom of our shoes and reach speeds of up to 60km/h. I say it’s ‘like track athletics’ because our track is also 400m for one lap, but we only have two lanes instead of eight... and also the track is made of ice. Here is an interactive panorama that I made of the Olympic Stadium in Sochi
The interwebs can tell you all the little details about Speed Skating, so I will leave that part for now because I would rather tell you interesting things. Like how some of the top ice sprinters in the world can do the first 100m of their 500m race faster than Usain Bolt’s  world record (9.58). Not me yet (9.62). Or how the top 16 of the 500m event field at the World Championships, if started at the same time, would all cross the finish line in less time than it would take to drop a coin from waist height, that’s pretty competitive.
Since I have used the words ‘me’ and ‘I’ numerous times already, I should probably introduce myself now. I am Daniel Greig and I represent Australia in Speed Skating at the World Cup and World Championship events and almost certainly also in Sochi 2014. I am 22 years old as of just over a month ago, which in terms of this sport makes me pretty young. I am 173cm and 70kg which would make me one of the smaller athletes in the field. My peak power to weight ratio (for those who know/care) has been measured at just shy of 33watts per kilogram body mass.
At the 2013 Salt Lake City World Cup.
I compete in the sprint distances of 500m and 1000m, because what is the point if you are not going as fast as possible? I have actually only been doing this sport for 4 years now. I am also an Inline Speed Skater (with wheels), but I taught myself how to ice skate so I could go to the Olympics. I think it is going pretty well so far, judge for yourself, here is a video of me racing the current World Sprint Champion Michel Mulder of the Netherlands over 500m:
And here is a video of it going not-so well (because everyone likes watching crashes):
My goal for the Winter Olympics in Sochi is to achieve a top 5. Since it will be my first Olympics I suppose you would say that is rather ambitious, but I would rather aim high and not quite make it than aim low and achieve it too easily. With the help of the Australian Speed Skating Coach, Desly Hill, and the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (and others) supporting me I am hoping to make a good impression in February. There is still a lot of work to be done before then and you all are welcome to follow and support me.

Twitter: @greigdaniel
Instagram: @sprintergreig
And the best video for last, a sweet slow-mo of my opening 100m sprint:

Daniel Greig