Speed skating-Million-dollar suits? Who cares?, says Wust

Thu Feb 6, 2014 5:38am EST
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By Patrick Johnston

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - The latest, greatest, high-tech speed skating suit capable of propelling athletes to record times, reigning 1500 meter Olympic champion Irene Wust has heard it all before.

If manufacturers are to be believed, American athletes in Sochi are donning the fastest speed skating suit ever made. Canada and Russia have made similar claims.

But for the experienced 27-year-old Wust, who won 3000m gold at the Turin Games in 2006, the mere question about the proposed advantage drew a wry smile which suggested 'here we go again'.

"Since Turin the suits haven't changed that much," the Dutchwoman told reporters after training at the Adler Arena on Thursday.

"Between Nagano (1998) and Salt Lake City (2002) the suits changed a lot. But the changes they make these days are marginal.

"My current suit pushes me into a speed skating position and that is good."

While she may not have the supposed boost of the reported multi-million dollar American suit, triple defending world all round champion Wust has been buoyed by a change in the ice.

"The ice is good, the type of ice I like," she said.   Continued...

Irene Wust of the Netherlands skates during speedskating practice at the Adler Arena ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Marko Djurica