Gov't shoots down pleas for skating marathon on natural ice
The government decided not to allow a skating marathon on natural ice this year, despite this being the first time in eight years that enough ice formed for it to be an option. The Cabinet concluded that it would not be wise to go through with the event while the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, NOS reports.
“A terrible disappointment”, Remy de Wit, technical director at skating union KNSB, said to the broadcaster. “We worked with around 60 to 70 people around the clock. We were completely ready for it, therefore, the disappointment is great.”
The technical director said they had not officially chosen a location yet but already cast an eye to a number of potential candidates. “People were literally standing there measuring the ice with drills. We had aimed for Monday, that was the goal.”
Organizers of the event had sent an open letter to the government arguing that they would make sure everything happened in a “marathon bubble.” The 150 athletes would be isolated in the period running up to the marathon and tested for the coronavirus shortly beforehand as well. “The creation of a bubble was a mandatory prerequisite which is why we already had everything set in place”, said a spokesperson for the KNSB.
The last time an ice skating marathon was held on natural ice was in 2013 when temperatures dropped down to minus 22 degrees Celsius in parts of the country.