US Masters in Europe compete at World Masters Events

By Andrew Love | Jan. 14, 2020, 1:40 p.m. (ET)

As the Youth Winter Olympic Games is happening in Lausanne, Switzerland, USA Masters Speedskating Athletes are traveling to top-level speed skating competitions in Europe.

An unprecedented 18 US masters are in Europe to compete in several events, the centerpiece being the 2020 Winter World Masters Games (Jan. 10-19), an event that invites 3,000 athletes in 12 sports, including short and long track, to compete for two weeks in Innsbruck, Austria. The scale and quality of the US athletes attending this event is a testament to the growth and pure fun of the Masters Speedskating circuit.

The first event was the 22nd Masters Sprint Classics in Inzell, Germany, January 11-12.  For many years, this was the pinnacle competition for Masters Sprinters, and always has strong participation from Europe.

Boris Leikin, Uel Archuletta and Greg Oly represented the USA, competing with skaters from Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Kazakhstan and Australia. Boris took a strong second place in a stacked Men’s 65 field, with Greg finishing sixth.

Complete results here

Soon after the Sprint Classics, the 2020 Winter World Masters Games Short Track event got under way. Based in Innsbruck, there has never been a larger or more international short track gathering in the history of Masters Speedskating.

Although long track masters skating has had annual gatherings for many years, and a well-attended All-around games, short track has been slower to develop, and has only really taken off internationally in the past 8 years.

This gathering was the best so far with skaters from Belgium, Norway, Germany, Austria, Italy, Mongolia, Poland, Austria, Kazakhstan, Japan, Serbia, Canada, Switzerland, Luxembourg and France racing their hearts out.

Representing the USA were April Chernoby, Melissa Koenig, Marty Haire, Tim Moore, Russell Riehl, Juice Ortiz, and Paul Stead.

In the Ladies 50-54 age group, Melissa Koenig skated to a second-place finish in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m. Ortiz also earned a podium finish in the Men’s 35-39 1500m and Haire took third in the Men’s 55-59 500m.

Complete results here

Many U.S. short trackers will stay in Innsbruck to compete in the 2020 Winter World Masters Games Long Track events that begin Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Olympiaworld 400m track. Joining them will be the three athletes who competed in Inzell. This single distance completion will run the whole gamut: 500/1000/1500/3k/5k/10k from January 16-18.

The following US Speedskating athletes will compete in the 2020 Winter World Masters Games Long Track: Marty Haire, Vince Morris, Kathy and Nathan Feinberg, Dan Carney, Greg Oly, Boris Leikin, Andrew Love, Uel Archuletta, Mark Nolan, Barbara Johnson and Necole Zayatz.

In coordination with the WWMG, the International Masters Speedskating Committee scheduled its premier competition, the Long Track Allaround games, now in it’s 29th year, the weekend after the WWMG, in Collalbo, Italy. 

These ten U.S. athletes will compete in Italy, matching blades with 250 other European and Asian Skaters: Marty Haire, Vince Morris, Kathy and Nate Feinberg, Joanna Walters, Greg Oly, Boris Leikin, Andrew Love, Barbara Johnson and Mark Nolan.