No athlete from the Netherlands had won a gold medal in short track speed skating until 2018, when a 20-year-old Susana Schulting broke into the world consciousness with victory in the 1000m. Four years later, she followed it up with an impressive Beijing 2022 campaign, in which he retained his 1000m title and added a third career gold in the 3000m relay.
Schulting was in top form in the People’s Republic of China, breaking the world and Olympic records in the 1000m quarterfinals and the Olympic record in the 500m heats, finishing with silver. She also rounded out the medal package, taking home a bronze medal in the 1500m to establish herself as one of, if not the best, short track speed skater in the world.
Of course, Schulting’s success hasn’t been limited to the Olympics. She is a two time overall world champion (2019, 2021) and has three overall European Champion titles in your name (2019, 2020, 2021).
And behind such great achievements lies a fervent ambition to continue improving. In 2021, the now 25-year-old opened up about how her first Olympic gold saw her eager to move on.
“After I became an Olympic champion, I thought, ‘Okay, now I have to show myself and the world that I can win more too,'” she told Olympics.com. “I was really motivated to show everyone that I was also able to become a European champion and a world champion and get those World Cup titles. When you try a little bit, or feel what it’s like to win gold, you want more and more and you you get addicted.”
But as the new World Cup season is set to start in Montréal from October 28 to 30the Olympic champion faces new challenges that have the potential to test her like never before.
New coach, new training regimen, new challenges
The 2022 season didn’t go strictly as planned for Schulting, who missed the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in April after testing positive for COVID-19.
“Mentally, I’m broken,” she revealed at the time Instagram“It is and was a long season. I recharged and felt so ready to defend my 5 titles.
“I did everything in my power to stay negative, but unfortunately it didn’t work.”
But another challenge has been even more significant in her progression as an athlete in recent months, with a change in the training structure of the Netherlands national team forcing her to review the training regimen that has given her so much success in recent years. years. .
Otter Jeroenwho coached the Dutch national team for 12 years, took a sabbatical from the sport and was replaced three times Niels Kerstholt at the helm
It was a development that at first made Schulting miss the variety of training she was used to, as Kerstholt chose to focus on reps and patterns in her sessions.
“There was no surprise in that, it got too monotonous, too boring, I was bored,” she said of her new setup. “That was mentally difficult for me. Sometimes I would start crying on the ice out of nowhere.”
However, heading into the new season, Schulting has expressed that the new training methods are starting to pay off as he looks to continue adding more trophies to his cabinet in the coming months.
More testing ahead when the season begins in earnest in Montreal
Schulting has endured a frustrating start to the new season. She was in line to compete at the Dutch Open in early October, but a sinus infection ruled her out of the meet. Therefore, the Montreal World Cup will be her first real test after Beijing, and she will compete in both the 1,000 and 1,500 meters in Montreal, two distances in which she has excelled in recent years.
Montreal will be followed by matches in Salt Lake City (November 4-6) and Almaty (December 9-10) before the year concludes with a second straight match in Almaty (December 16-18).
By the time the 2023 season closes in Dresden (Feb 3-5) and Dordrecht (Feb 10-12), short track fans should have a good idea of how the new training setup is working for Schulting, as she aspires to be consecutive World Champion. Titles
Perhaps more telling will be their levels of performance at the European and World Championships taking place in 2023 in Poland and the Republic of Korea.
But for an Olympic champion with ambitions to go even further, taking on new challenges will be essential in her quest to earn even more Olympic honors in paris 2024.