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Nils van der Poel


SportSpeed Skating
Born25 Apr 1996 in  Trollhättan
ResidenceVästerås, SWE
LanguagesEnglish, Swedish
Personal Bests
Personal Bests
  Event RecordDateLocation 
    500m 37.87 07 Jan 2017 Heerenveen  
    1000m 1:13.92 15 Nov 2014 Hamar  
    1500m 1:47.18 04 Dec 2021 Salt Lake City, UT  
    5000m 6:01.56 03 Dec 2021 Salt Lake City, UT  
    10000m 12:32.95 14 Feb 2021 Heerenveen  
Main Achievements
Main Achievements
World Junior Championships
World Junior Championships
    5000m 2      
World Single Distances Championships
World Single Distances Championships
    5000m 1      
    10000m 1      
Social Media
Social Media  
Sport Specific Information
Sport Specific Information
Name of coachJoel Eriksson [national], SWE; Johan Rojler [personal], SWE  
When and where did you begin this sport?He took up ice hockey at age six and first tried speed skating at age eight in Trollhattan, Sweden. He began focusing solely on the track at age 10.  
Club / TeamSK Trollhattan: Sweden  
Reason for choosing this sportHe took up skating because his sister had a pair of boots that she did not want to use anymore. He began speed skating as his father convinced him it would help him become a better ice hockey player. "Skating is about 80 per cent of bandy [an ice hockey variant], so I started speed skating to improve when I was eight years old. As a kid I was very motivated in sports."  
General Interest
General Interest
AmbitionsTo win a gold medal at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. (, 12 Nov 2021)  
HobbiesSkydiving, trail running. (, 29 Dec 2020;, 15 Dec 2020)  
Sporting philosophy / motto"The feeling that it's hard, the lactic [acid] in your legs, becomes a sign of how well you're doing in the race. You learn to think, 'Okay, I've got 13 laps to go. This is how it's supposed to feel, do I feel better or worse? I can adjust'. The true challenge of the 10,000m is to stay mentally strong and keep pushing those lap times." (, 21 Jan 2021)  
Memorable sporting achievementWinning gold and setting a world record in the 10,000m at the 2021 World Single Distances Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands. (, 14 Feb 2021)  
MilestonesHe became the first Swedish speed skater to win a gold medal at the world single distances championships, when he was victorious in the 5000m at the 2021 edition in Heerenveen, Netherlands. He also went on to win gold in the 10,000m at the tournament. (SportsDeskOnline, 16 Feb 2021;, 11 Feb 2021)  
Awards and honoursIn 2021 he was presented with the Oscar Mathisen Memorial Award, an international award presented to the speed skater with the most outstanding performance of the previous season. (, 20 Nov 2021)  
Hero / IdolSwedish ultra distance runner Rune Larsson. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2017)  
Other informationBREAK AND RETURN
Shortly after the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, he took a break from the sport. He spent one year serving in the Swedish military in Arvidsjaur, Sweden, and one year focusing on ultra running. He returned to competitive speed skating in December 2020 at an international competition in Inzell, Germany, where he won the 10,000m in a world season-best time. Two months later at the 2021 World Single Distances Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands, he won gold in the 5000m, and also claimed the 10,000m title in a world-record time of 12:32.95. "For me, it was sacrificing skating for two years to do something else, so that in the long run I can get where I want to go. Most people did not consider it a good thing for my speed skating career, but I believed in it, I gave it my heart and I'm glad I did it." (, 21 Jan 2021;, 14 Feb 2021;, 17 Jan 2021, 29 Dec 2020;, 16 Jan 2021;, 13 Dec 2020;, 27 Dec 2020)

He says that speed skating can be too serious and wants to help make the sport more interesting. "We need some more rock stars and more intrigue in skating. It's nice to try to make the sport more than just the conversations about rubber suits and equipment. I feel like the atmosphere in our sport is sometimes a bit too serious. Skating is so sterile, there's so much competition, so much measuring, it's so much about lap times. We have to remember that we also have to have fun and enjoy it. I would be proud if I could shake up our sport. You sometimes see guys on the ice rink who don't say hello to others and just stay with their own group. If I can change that, I'd love to." (, 14 Nov 2021;, 09 Oct 2021)

He has a Dutch grandfather and a Hungarian grandmother. (, 21 Jan 2021)
Most influential person in careerDutch speed skater Patrick Roest. (, 11 Feb 2021)  
Championships results
Year Competition Event Rank  
Championships results
    2017/2018 World Allround Championships 10000m1  
    2020/2021 World Single Distances Championships 10000m1  
    2020/2021 World Single Distances Championships 5000m1  
    2020/2021 European Allround Championships Allround4  
    2017/2018 World Allround Championships Allround6  
    2016/2017 World Single Distances Championships 10000m8  
    2016/2017 European Allround Championships Allround12  
    2018 Olympic Games 5000m14  
    2013/2014 World Allround Championships Allround19  
    2013/2014 European Championships Allround24  
World Cups
Year Competition Event Rank  
World Cups
    2021/2022 World Cup Calgary, AB 5000m1  
    2021/2022 World Cup Stavanger 10000m1  
    2021/2022 World Cup Salt Lake City, UT 5000m1  
    2021/2022 World Cup Tomaszów Mazowiecki 5000m1  
    2020/2021 World Cup Heerenveen 5000m2  
    2020/2021 World Cup 5000m5  
    2016/2017 World Cup 5000/10000m19  
    2017/2018 World Cup 5000/10000m22  
    2014/2015 World Cup 5000/10000m22