2014 Speed Skating Worlds: Medal recap
The 2014 Results Review
1st: Colombia, still on top!
21 titles, 43 medals... Let's not expand too much of Colombia, they overcome the other competing nations with a crushing lead. However you can feel that the giant is less dominant as soon as it ventures on long distance races and on road races. Above all, the Colombians are the kings of sprint and track. Stars are not missing: Pedro Causil, Andres Munos, Alex Cujavante, Hellen Montoya, Yersi Puello... The list is long!
2nd: France, who would have thought?
We were so used to see France in the mid-rankings that this year was one hell of a surprise. The seniors opened the way and held on to it. With 7 titles and 21 medals, France did a historical year, the best of all times. In calculating the productivity per athlete (16 vs 32) France is at the same level as Colombia (21 medals vs 43)!
France leans on experienced skaters such as Alexis Contin, Ewen Fernandez and Nicolas Pelloquin but also on young skaters such as Elton de Souza, Quentin Giraudeau and Déborah Marchand. Let's also congratulate the Junior Women who got the bronze at the relay!
3rd: Chinese Taipei
Faithful to itself, Chinese Taipei fulfilled its yearly contract. They made great feats both on road and on track. Let's remember the names of Chen Yan-Cheng (Senior Men), Yang Ho-Chen (Senior Women) and Lui Yi-Huuan (Junior Women).
With the absence of Bart Swings, one might have thought that Belgium was going to ended up at the bottom of the table... But it was not the case, thanks to Sandrine Taz who got 3 world titles! Not bad for a "small" country.
With only 2 titles for 11 medals, Italy is in a transition phase. Except for a few skaters like Francesca Lollobrigida, Erika Zanetti and Lorenzo Cassioli, the older generation of skaters, like Fabio Francolini, are not in the running anymore. There is no doubt that in a couple of years, Italy will be back at its best level with the rising generation of Mareschi, Niero and Lollobrigida...
Special mention to Argentina
You usually say that athletes surpass themselves when they compete at home... What were the results of Argentina? Well, Argentina did their best championships in 5 years, with 7 medals! Unfortunately, sticking to silver, they didn't get any title in front of their public.
Evolution over the last 5 years
1st: Colombia, obviously
Except for Colombia, which outrageously dominates the world ranking with 240 medals and 128 titles in 5 years, let's focus on the nations that fight for the runner-up places. It's a bit harsh, but Colombia kills suspense!
2nd: South Korea... with a slight lead
With 75 medals, Korea remains the most medalled nation after Colombia over the last 5 years. The number of Korean medals dropped, however, with only 6 in 2013 and 11 in 2014. South Korea is also 2nd at the title ranking, with a total of 19 titles. Yet, they haven't had any new title in 3 years. The Korean golden age is gone.
3rd: Italy... A European nation at last!
Italy remains in 3rd position at the general ranking with 73 medals, only 2 medals behind Korea. However, Italy knows a soft shot after two exceptional years in 2012 at home (San Benedetto del Tronto) and in 2013 in Belgium (Oostende).
4th: Chinese Taipei
Except for 2011 where Chinese Taipei only got 4 medals in Guarne (Colombia), they are quite consistent with a dozen medals per year. In total: 57 medals over 5 years, that is to say 4.5 times less than Colombia. Chinese Taipei finishes 3rd at the title ranking on 5 years.
For many years, France oscillated around the 5th place of the ranking of titles/medals. They were saved by an exceptional 2014 year where they got 21 medals, against less than 10 usually. France is 6th at the title ranking over the last 5 years. France put an end to 4 years of affliction, where they would only get one title per year.
With 33 medals in 5 years, Belgium mainly owes its good results to two athletes: Bart Swings from 2010 to 2013 and Sandrine Tas in 2014. Apart from them, Belgium has difficulties to perform. Its best year was obviously 2013 in Oostende... at home!
In focusing only on the title ranking, Belgium is tied with Italy for the 4th place.
7th: the USA
Not far from Belgium are the USA. They owe their ranking to their exceptional harvest in 2011: 20 medals out of 32 in Guame! Most of these feats belong to Joey Mantia.
8th: Germany, faithful to itself
In 5 years, the number of medals won by Germany hasn't evolved much: 5 to 6 per year, not more!
Venezuela knows irregular results going from 0 medals in Italy to 8 in 2014 - its best year. In total, Venezuela won 22 medals in 5 years.
10th: the Netherlands
The Netherlands seem to have known their peak in 2012, in San Benedetto de Tronto. There were a good number of stars in the team, including the Mulder brothers, Manon Kammina, Elma de Vries, Irene Schouten...
The raw data
Number of medals in 5 years
Number of titles in 5 years
Check out the composition of all the teams here!
Photos: Daniel Busser - mediaskates.com