Speedskating - Country histories

(Thanks to Preben Gorud Petersen for valuable contributions)

Georgian winters can be cold at times, especially inland from the Black Sea coast, and wintersport is not unknown to the country. They also have high mountains with better conditions for wintersport than the lowland areas. The capital Tblisi has a well equipped stadium, "Dynamo", where we can assume that races have been held in former cold winters.

In the late 1960s, the Russians experimented with a superfast rink at Itkol in the Ebrus mountains just north of the Georgian border. The rink was situated at an altitude of 2018 meters, and was probably intended to compete with Medeo and other highland rinks. It was used for a short while only, but possibly may have aroused some interest south of the border. Itkol still is a winter sport resort, which boasts a skating rink (http://www.elbrustourservice.com/hotels.htm), but it is unknown if the size still is 400 m.

Georgia's main contribution to speedskating history is Inga Gilauri, who represented Dinamo Moscow for most of her career, but certainly is a true Georgian; Gilauri is not an uncommon Georgian name. The lists also indicate that she moves home to Tblisi either before or during the 1986/87-season, although she is mostly credited for Tambov, but this may be Tblisi in disguise; the Russians tended to abbreviate their clubnames rather severely. In Dinamo she learned speedskating, and qualified for the USSR team in the 1986 and 1988 seasons. She participated in both allround championships these two years, and qualified for the final distance in three of them. Gilauri was a typical allrounder without a special favourite distance, often skating good 3000 meters.

She appears first at a 10th place in the junior sprint Soviet championship 1983. Next year, she is 15th in the senior sprints, last of the skaters completing the program. After this, she drops sprinting. In 1985 she finishes 13th in the allround championship, last of the skaters completing the program without a fall. But in 1986, she comes true with a 5th place overall and a silver in the 3000 m. She's selected for the team and competes at the European championship at Geithus where she finishes 9th and at the world championship in den Haag, where she fails to qualify for the last distance after a 17th place in the 3000 m. In 1987 she is 12th allround and finishes 5th at the 1500 m in the single distance championship. But her top year is 1988. First, she wins bronze medals in both long distances at the single distance championships in December, and then finishes 7th in the European championship at Kongsberg with a 6th place in the 3000 m, her best international achievement. In spite of this, she's not selected for the 17 strong Soviet Olympic speedskating team and thus has no Olympic merits to her name. At the world championship in Skien, she finishes 9th, and at the national championship, she wins the overall silver behind Yelena Lapuga, with a 500 m win and second places in the two following distances. This championship was held at Medeo in April, and two of the Georgian records are set here. At the national 1989 championship in December 1988, she is 6th overall. But after this championship, she is not seen again.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, speedskating has come to a standstill in Georgia, and the country is represented in the ISU by a figure skating association. But the winters still can be cold at times...


Georgian records:

Inga Gilauri 42.38 Medeo 1 Apr 1988
Inga Gilauri 1.25.81 Chemnitz 23 Nov 1986
Inga Gilauri 2.05.5 Medeo 26 Mar 1988
Inga Gilauri 4.27.28 Medeo 1 Apr 1988
Inga Gilauri 7.45.08 St. Petersburg 27 Dec 1987
Inga Gilauri 175.199 Medeo 2-3 Dec 1988
42.9 - 2.12.5 - 1.26.2 - 4.30.2
Inga Gilauri 179,101 Medeo 14-15 Dec 1988
42.85 - 4.33.24 - 2.07.94 - 8.00.65