Episode 29: Elena Rigas has a cornering advantage

The Olympics are coming!
They sure are and I can't wait! I've been watching lots of qualifiers and have lined up some interviews for after the games. Stay tuned.

Lucky me! In this episode I talk to Elena Rigas from Denmark, who is off to PyeongChang very soon to compete in the mass start speed skating event. This interview is thanks to listener Melanie’s request, which she made through the new(ish) guest nomination form right here on the website.

The mass start is SO fun to watch – there’s lots of jockeying for position, tight corners, speed, endurance, sprinting. It’s quite a bit like the criterium in cycling or some of the track cycling events. Only 24 women qualified for the event, so thank you Elena for taking the time to chat in the last months of preparation.

She offers tips on how to watch her event and what to expect. 

Elena started skating because her grandparents took up inline skating late in life and got the whole family into it. With success on wheels, Elena switched to ice with eyes on the Olympics. Like many past guests, she credits a coach for giving her the idea she could be an Olympian.

In the episode we talk about the training she's doing now and during the off season. One of the dryland exercises she describes uses a giant rubberband. Here's a picture of what it looks like. 

Dryland training with Mary Wong of  Speedskate Training .

Dryland training with Mary Wong of Speedskate Training.

A few skating tidbits:
- The wheel size Elena's inline skates are 125mm in diameter, which is just under 5”.  
- On ice, she’s going around 30 mph. 
- Short track is raced on a 111-meter track. (Roughly the size of a hockey field.)
- Long track is on a 400-meter oval (This is a standard track and field track and would go around the rugby pitch below.)


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